CAUTION - EXTREMELY GRAPHIC PHOTOS
JFK Assassination Evidence: Autopsy Photos and Xrays
For research purposes only.
President Kennedy's Autopsy was carried out at Bethesda Naval Hospital on November 22-23, 1963. The official autopsy photographs have never been published and are under seal at the National Archives.
On November 23, 1963, James K. Fox, photographer with the Intelligence Division of the US Secret Service, was given the autopsy film holders by JFK's personal physician, Admiral George Burkley, and told to develop them. On three occassions, he supervised their processing. According to Fox, Secret Service Agent Roy Kellerman said to make himself copies as they would be history someday. He made three sets of black and white autopsy photo prints at the Secret Service lab. On November 27, 1963, additional official copies were made at the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC).
In 1981, those pictures were sold to JFK researcher Mark Crouch. During this time copies of the photos were given to several JFK researchers. Fox died in 1987. Writer David Lifton published the Fox set in "Best Evidence" (1988 Carrol & Graf Reprint). Later the photos were published in other books. Crouch retired from research in 1993 and sold his JFK assassination collection, including negatives made from the photos, to researcher Walt Brown who continues to make them available to researchers.
In 1992, the official autopsy photos were specifically exempted from the JFK Records Act and will not be released. ARRB Senior Staffer Doug Horne stated that after viewing digital copies of the original photos, he noted the Fox unofficial photos are cropped differently and are degraded as compared to the originals in the National Archives but are basically the same. Some photos taken at the autopsy missing and are not now a part of the official collection. Horne's further, specific comments on the photos are available here. (1998 JFK Lancer Conference)
The color photos were obtained by JFK researcher and amateur photographer Robert Groden who served as an upaid consultant to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Groden photographed the color autopsy photos without permission. Groden was paid by "The Globe" tabloid at their 1991 printing of those photos and has also published them in his books.
The photos below on our website are the Lifton copies named as he included them in his book, "Best Evidence". The X-rays are exhibits from the HSCA hearings and were obtained by JFK Lancer from the National Archives.