P.O. Box Questions

THE ORDER FORM SENT BY A. HIDELL Destined for Post Office BOX 2915 in Dallas, Texas

THE ORDER FORM SENT BY A. HIDELL Destined for Post Office BOX 2915 in Dallas, Texas

Post Office Box 2915 in Dallas Texas is the subject of contentious debate and its history and various owners have attracted the attention of government informants, employees, and the public for years. Officials contend that evidence implicates its most famous prior owner Lee Harvey Oswald of receiving the alleged murder weapon. Several researchers contend that postal irregularities ranging from a lack of proper stamps, markings, and processing are missing from official exhibits rendering them allegedly unreliable.  If Oswald did verifiably receive the weapons, it supports official contentions. If he did not verifiably receive the alleged rifle and pistol under the alias Alec Hidell, a piece of the case against him falters under the lack of evidence.

A signed application for a post office box located in the "General Post Office, Dallas" by "Lee H. Oswald" for number 2915 dated "October 9, 1962" was later filed in the United States Post Office Terminal Annex in Dallas, Texas.i  A letter from James P. Cannon of the Socialist Workers Party is located among Oswald's possessions and is addressed to "Mr. Lee H. Oswald...Box 2915". One reply to a former letter of inquiry about photographic copy work sent a month later to Oswald from Bob Chester bears the address "Box 2915".  A second reply from the Hall-Davis Defense Committee and money orders sent from "Oswald, Box 2915, Dallas, Texas" supports Oswald's ownership of the P.O. Box the President's Commission stated received the Carcano.ii iii 

Dallas Terminal Annex Building

Dallas Terminal Annex Building

The records of Klein's Sporting Goods and Crescent Firearms Inc were searched an confirmed a weapon sent to one A. Hidell Post Office Box 2915, Dallas Texas on March 20, 1963. Treasury Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation document examiners alleged the handwriting from Oswald's collected documents matched the handwriting on the rifle mail order form.iv v Yet handwriting analysis is subjective and despite officials claims, not definitive. It requires examining "hundreds of traits" and the analyst "make educated guesses as to what they mean."vi Tracing the order officials used the money order, envelope received, and the company's bank deposit of 21.45. Officials state this would cover the 19.95 and 1.50 for postage and handling.vii   

Officials have thus far made a reasonable case for Oswald owning the post office box, frequently receiving mail from it, and using the alias A. Hidell to order the weapons. Yet some verifiable prior official evidence is contending. The President's Commission states, "It is not known whether the application for post office box 2915 listed 'A. Hidell' as a person to receive mail at this box. In accordance with postal regulations, the portion of the application which lists names of persons, other than the applicant, entitled to receive mail was thrown away after the box was closed..."viii Seemingly that was not the case.  

Within the President's Commission Hearings an FBI summary attempting to dispel a public claim and offer the investigations findings states "Investigation: Our investigation has revealed that Oswald did not indicate on his application that others, including an 'A. Hidell', would receive mail through the box in question, which was Post Office Box 2915 in Dallas."ix This is a significant problem because only registered people can receive mail from a post office box. If a name is not included as the FBI prior stated, A. Hidell cannot receive mail for P.O. Pox 2915. 

Officials do not account for this in their allegations, the Commission does state Dallas Postal Inspector Harry Holmes offered, "...that when a package is received in a certain box, a notice is placed in the box regardless of whether the name on the package is listed on the application as a person entitled to receive mail through the box. The person having access to the box then takes the notice to the window and is given the package." Holmes claimed that ordinarily "...identification is not requested because it is assumed that the person with the notice is entitled to the package."x Thus, mistaken official assumptions exist within the realm of possibility.

A receipt of Oswald presenting the notice and accepting the package with a Carcano is not among the currently offered documents. Officials fail to provide a simple log of the time and date the package and its contents are picked up or the employee responsible for the post office window the day it was received. Nor is there any postal employee declaring they interacted with Oswald that testified he received the package. If instead Oswald had marked special deliveries to be sent to his home, a postal carrier would have delivered it and their route and time of delivery should be available to officials. If any of these were the case, a series of incompetent actions or formerly suppressed evidence should exist. Yet none of it is offered and provides the definitive stance officials have chosen and legal claims require legal evidence, especially if no criminal trial ever occurs.

Another question is did other people besides Oswald have access to the box, despite that he never registered another user? Officials have already verified they usually never checked identifications if the person had the notice. If this is possible, anyone with access to Oswald's various boarding houses or other temporary housing too could attain access using the post office box key. If Oswald entrusted someone careless with a key and current postal documents are consistent with former practices, one of the two keys issued could be lost.xi Yet no matter how many keys existed, at least one other person had access to Oswald's post office box, his wife Marina.

In an officially translated letter, Marina Oswald corresponds with "Comrade Reznichenko" due to her change of address from Fort Worth to Dallas. Marina states "Here is my post office address, in case you need to send me any correspondence..." and she lists her address being "Box 2915, Dallas, Texas."xii This would support that Marina was at least receiving mail and feasibly using the post office box as well. A later statement Oswald gave to an official informant also supports this, "He denied receiving any mail addressed to A. Hidell through any Post Office boxes and denied that anyone else had ever received any mail through these boxes. He admitted to informant that on one or two occasions he may have given his Post Office Box key to Box 2915 to his wife for her to obtain the mail from the box and bring it to him." Thus, perhaps Oswald was unaware his wife used the mailbox for her own mail as well or he may have been attempting to protect her from implication. 

Yet the outstanding questions and the lack of evidence proving the official claims remain. Oswald claims he never received mail as Hidell, officials retort based on the evidence they collected he did. Yet they cannot prove he received the weapon, Hidell is found by the FBI to never have been able to accept mail at P.O. Box 2915. The FBI seemingly shared this with the Commission but they claimed the item was destroyed and beyond their knowledge. Officials rely on Oswald alone having access to the Post Office box, this too is inaccurate. 

Whoever allegedly picked up the rifle seemingly would not have to show identification because of incompetent office management. If Oswald did order the weapons, it only definitely proves he used an alias to order weapons, not that he is guilty alone of the Kennedy assassination. Yet that has not been proven and official assumptions and mistakes are reasonably questioned. There is no definite record of the actual person responsible offered, the employee they dealt with, nor a receipt marking the rifle's acceptance or a log of the item's pick up. Officials or contending researchers may decide this matter in time but only with greater evidence. 
C.A.A. Savastano  
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i. Federal Bureau of Investigation file, Oswald Headquarters File (105-82555), Section 22, Report of Special Agent Alfred C. Ellington, November 27, 1963
ii. FBI, Oswald HQ File (105-82555), Section 5, Memo to Director of the FBI from SAC Dallas, November 26, 1963
iii. FBI, Oswald HQ File (105-82555), Section 47, WFO 105- 37111, p. 4
iv. Report of the President's Commission, Chapter 4, Ownership and Possession of Assassination Weapon, pp. 118-119
v. Central Intelligence Agency, Oswald 201 File, Volume 3, Folder 9A, Part 2, FBI Lab Report, November 25, 1963
vi. Matthew Scanlon, James Mauro, (November 1, 1992), The Lowdown on Handwriting Analysis, Psychology Today, psychologytoday.com
vii. Report of the Pres. Com, Chap. 4, p. 119
viii. Ibid, p. 121
ix. Hearings of the President's Commission, Volume XXV, Commission Exhibit 2585, p.4    
x. Report of the Pres. Com, Chap. 4, p. 121

xi. Postal Service Form 1093, "PO Box Keys", January 2012  
xii. President's Commission Document Number 6, FBI De Brueys Report of 8, Dec 1963 re: Oswald, Section III. Information received Re subject from Russian Embassy, Washington D.C., Russian Translation of Handwritten letter, (n.d.)  

Edited: December 2017

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