JFK ASSASSINATION: 59 YEARS ONWho Was Lee Harvey Oswald?

By Melissa De Witte

Published 23 November 2022

Fifty-nine years ago yesterday, 22 November, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, was himself killed two days later in a Dallas police station by Jack Ruby, a local nightclub owner. A new book by Paul Gregory, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, recounts the author’s experiences knowing Oswald.

Those alive when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news the president had been shot. For Hoover fellow Paul Gregory, then a 21-year-old college student at the University of Oklahoma, the day became particularly memorable – life-changing, even – when he saw television news footage of Kennedy’s killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, being escorted into police headquarters.

“I know that guy,” he said to himself, confused and in disbelief. Gregory had gotten to know Oswald and his Russian wife Marina, whom he had taken Russian lessons with. For much of the summer of 1962, Gregory had been, outside of Lee’s family, the couple’s only friend. Gregory’s new book, The Oswalds: An Untold Account of Marina and Lee (Diversion Books, 2022) details a story he has kept largely private (with the exception of speaking to the authorities at the time).

Melissa De Witte of Stanford News talked to Gregory about what he knew of Oswald and how the assassination has captivated conspiracy theorists for over 60 years. Gregory is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and is a scholar of Soviet and Russian economics.

Melissa De Witte: After the assassination, you and your family were able to remain beneath the radar; in their public records, the Secret Service referred to you as a “known associate” of Lee Harvey Oswald. Why share your story now?
Paul Gregory
: My father and I were immediately known to the Secret Service by the night of the assassination. We did not want our association with a Marine deserter and avowed communist known in our community. Decades after the assassination, I still have no desire to tell my story, even among friends and colleagues. It was only when I became convinced that my account adds to the limited historical record did I sit down and write.