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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Sylvia Meagher and Jim Garrison, Part One

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Sylvia Meagher was one of the most important critics of the Warren Report. In 1967, she wrote "Accessories After the Fact," probably the best critiques published. When I first got into the JFK assassination in 1975, her book was out of print. I went to every used book store I could get to, but no luck. But, in 1976, her book was reissued - and I remember when I went into W.H. Smith Books in Montreal and I was stunned to see it on the shelf.

I bought it immediately and I devoured the book. Over the years, I have realized that the book doesn't quite hold up. Her chapter on the medical evidence was superseded by the analysis of the autopsy X-Rays and photographs. She included a section in her book on mysterious deaths which was embarrassing. And, her imagination was lacking. She could only see evidence of conspiracy - she never could quite come up with non-conspiratorial explanations for issues or problems.

When I started this project in the spring of 2019, I decided my first stop was to visit Hood College and go through the Meagher Archive. I got there in June and I spent a day in the 'Weisberg Room' where both the Meagher and Weisberg Archives are housed. The Raymond Marcus and Hal Verb files are also there.

I was able to photograph a large part of her Archive - I was particularly interested in her files on Jim Garrison. Here is what I found:

- Meagher was initially supportive of Garrison and wrote him a letter offering her help.

- That soon turned sour when she realized that his investigation was using shoddy methods.

- A large file of correspondence between Meagher and Kerry Thornley.

- Two unpublished memos on Jim Garrison and his so-called investigation.

- Many other letters and memos to other researchers about Jim Garrison.

And, of course, Meagher was very supportive of Clay Shaw. Here is her letter to Clay Shaw, followed by his excellent four-page reply.

I never realized that Clay Shaw was that good a writer.

In the next few days, I will be posting excerpts from her two unpublished memos on Jim Garrison, and some excerpts of her correspondence. Stay tuned. I have some really interesting material.

And, of course, the best Sylvia Meagher story about Jim Garrison is in my book, and I have put in my book a letter she wrote him when she thought he had made a major error.


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