James William "Ike" Altgens (//; April 28, 1919 – December 12, 1995) was an American photojournalist, photo editor, and field reporter for the Associated Press (AP) based in Dallas, Texas, who became known for his photographic work during the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy (JFK). Altgens was 19 when he began his AP career, which was interrupted by military service during World War II. When his service time ended, Altgens returned to Dallas and got married. He soon went back to work for the local AP bureau and eventually earned a position as a senior editor.
Ike Altgens, c. 1970
James William Altgens
April 28, 1919
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Died||December 12, 1995 (aged 76)|
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Known for||photographer/reporter/witness, assassination of John F. Kennedy|
Clara B. Halliburton
(m. 1944; their deaths 1995)
Altgens was on assignment for the AP when he captured two historic images on November 22, 1963. The second, showing First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy toward the rear of the presidential limousine and Secret Service agent Clint Hill on its bumper, was reproduced on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Within days, Altgens' preceding photograph became controversial after people began to question whether accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was visible in the main doorway of the Texas School Book Depository as the gunshots were fired at JFK.
Altgens appeared briefly as a film actor and model during his 40-year career with the AP, which ended in 1979. He spent his later years working in display advertising, and answering letters and other requests made by assassination researchers. Altgens and his wife Clara died in 1995 at about the same time in their Dallas home. Both had suffered from long illnesses, and police said poisoning by a malfunctioning furnace also may have contributed to their deaths.
Early life and careerEdit
Ike Altgens was born James William Altgens on April 28, 1919, in Dallas, Texas, to Willie May (née Pitchford), a housewife, and J. H. Altgens, a machinist. He had a younger sister, Mary. Altgens was orphaned as a child and raised by a widowed aunt. He was hired by the Associated Press in 1938 when he was 19, shortly after his graduation from North Dallas High School. Altgens began his career handling various assignments and writing some sports articles. He showed a talent for photography and was assigned in 1940 to work in the wirephoto office.
Altgens' career was interrupted by service in the United States Coast Guard during World War II; he moonlighted as a radio broadcaster during this time. Following his return to Dallas from military service, he married Clara Halliburton in July 1944. Altgens went back to work for the AP in 1945 and was assigned to its news bureau. He also attended night classes at Southern Methodist University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech with a minor in journalism.
Starting in 1959, Altgens made occasional appearances as an actor and model in motion pictures, television and print advertising. Credited as James Altgens, he played Secretary Lloyd Patterson in the low-budget science fiction thriller Beyond the Time Barrier (1960); his role included the film's final line of dialogue. Altgens' acting career also included a role as a witness in Free, White and 21 (1963), and as a witness (not as himself) in The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald (1964).
Altgens photographed President Kennedy for the AP in 1961 at Perrin Air Force Base. Kennedy and his predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower were traveling to Bonham, Texas, in November to attend the funeral of Sam Rayburn, three-time Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Earlier that day, Altgens was the only photojournalist to climb to the 29th floor of the Mercantile National Bank Building in Dallas to cover the rescue of a young girl from an elevator fire.
Assassination of President KennedyEdit
In Dealey PlazaEdit
On November 22, 1963, Altgens was scheduled to work in the AP offices in Dallas as the wirephoto editor. He asked instead to go to the "triple overpass" (the railroad bridge under which Elm, Main and Commerce Streets converge at the west end of Dealey Plaza) to photograph the motorcade that was to take President Kennedy from Love Field to his scheduled appearance at the Dallas Trade Mart. Altgens was not assigned to work in the field that day, so he took his personal single-lens reflex camera rather than the motor-driven equipment normally used for news events.
Altgens tried to find a good camera angle on the bridge, but uniformed police said it was private property and turned him away, and he moved to a location within the plaza. He began photographing the motorcade on Main Street as the vehicles approached Houston Street, and got a close-up of the presidential limousine as it turned right onto Houston. He then picked up his equipment bag and ran on the grass toward the south curb along Elm Street, stopping across from the Plaza's north colonnade. Altgens heard a loud noise at about the same time as his first photograph from that spot (simultaneous to Zapruder film frame 255), but he did not recall having any reaction since he thought the noise came from a firecracker.
As Altgens set up for a second photograph along Elm Street, he heard a sound that he recognized as gunfire, and saw that the President had been struck in the head. Altgens later wrote that his camera was focused and ready, "but when JFK's head exploded, sending substance in my direction, I virtually became paralyzed. ... Yet, many news people say I should have taken the picture anyway ... I should have made the picture that I was set up to make. And I didn't do it."
Altgens recovered, and his next photograph showed the First Lady with her hand on the vehicle's trunk lid and Secret Service agent Clint Hill standing on the bumper behind her as the driver had begun to accelerate. This photograph was quickly reproduced on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Mrs. Kennedy testified the following June that she was aware of the image, but had no memory of her actions. Hill later wrote that this picture would forever identify him as the Secret Service agent on the back of the limousine.
After the gunshots ended, Altgens saw several armed men running up the grassy slope between Elm Street and the railroad tracks; he crossed the street toward the activity to see if he could get a picture of anyone being arrested. When they came back without a suspect, Altgens hurried back to the AP wirephoto office in the Dallas Morning News building on Houston Street to file his report and have the film developed. He telephoned the news office, leading to one of the first news bulletins of the shooting:
Dallas, Nov. 22 (AP)–President Kennedy was shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She cried, "Oh, no!" The motorcade sped on.
After the assassinationEdit
Once his pictures had been distributed via the wirephoto network, Altgens was sent to Parkland Memorial Hospital along with a second photographer. Both stayed at Parkland until Kennedy's body was taken to Air Force One, still at Love Field.
Altgens returned to Dealey Plaza to photograph the assassination site for diagramming purposes, then was sent to Dallas City Hall to retrieve the work of another AP photographer who had pictures of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in custody. This was the only time he saw the suspect, and Altgens thought Oswald showed signs of having been thoroughly interrogated.
The man resembling Lee Harvey OswaldEdit
Ten days after Kennedy was assassinated, the Associated Press in Dallas reported that the first photograph Altgens made along Elm Street had captured the attention of people who noticed that one of the men standing in the main doorway to the book depository appeared to resemble the accused killer Lee Harvey Oswald. Those observers raised the question of whether Oswald could have killed Kennedy, saying he would not have been able to get to the doorway from the sixth floor of the building. The report quoted depository superintendent Roy Truly, who said the man in the image was not Oswald but a different employee, Billy Nolan Lovelady. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told the AP they had already investigated the photograph and also identified Lovelady.
On May 24, 1964, six months after the shooting, the New York Herald Tribune reported that Altgens—the man responsible for "probably the most controversial photograph of the decade", and one of the few people standing near the motorcade when Kennedy was shot—had not been questioned either by the FBI or by the Warren Commission. A newspaper column printed in Chicago's American the following day made the same observation. FBI investigators interviewed Altgens eight days later, on June 2, 1964; he testified before the Warren Commission on July 22. By this time, Altgens was aware of the individual who resembled Oswald; Lovelady had been interviewed for the Herald Tribune article, and Altgens testified that he too had been contacted. He said there was nothing to share because he had not taken part in any assignments involving depository employees.
Commission representatives interviewed several depository workers in an effort to determine the identity of the man in Altgens' photograph; hearings included testimony from five people who said Lovelady was there, and from three others (including Lovelady) who directly identified him in the picture.[a] Ultimately, the commission decided Oswald was not in the doorway.[b]
In 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations studied several still and motion images, including an enhanced version of the Altgens photograph, in the scope of its investigation. The committee also concluded that Lovelady was the man pictured in the depository doorway.
The official conclusions were still being debated by academics and conspiracy theorists more than 50 years after the assassination. One such theorist, Texas author Jim Marrs, wrote that most researchers were ready to accept Lovelady as the man in Altgens' photograph. He later wrote that others were resisting any such acceptance.
Witness to historyEdit
Altgens was featured in two AP dispatches issued on November 22, 1963. He initially reported hearing two shots, but thought someone had been setting off fireworks. For a November 25 story, Altgens wrote that he did not know the origin of the gunshots until later, but he believed they came from the other side of Elm Street, opposite the presidential limousine from where he was standing.
In 1964, Altgens testified for the Warren Commission and was asked about the gunfire and whether he knew its source. He said he had not been keeping track of the number of gunshots fired in Dealey Plaza because he believed them to be fireworks, but he was certain of at least two. Altgens believed Kennedy's wounds suggested a final shot that came from the vicinity of the book depository building, but he could not say with any certainty.
When CBS television interviewed him in 1967, Altgens said it was obvious to him that the head shot came from behind Kennedy's limousine "because it caused him to bolt forward, dislodging him from this depression in the seat cushion". He added that the commotion across the street after the shooting struck him as odd, since he believed the assassin would have needed to move very quickly to get there.
Trial of Clay ShawEdit
District Attorney Jim Garrison subpoenaed Altgens to appear in New Orleans, Louisiana for the 1969 trial of businessman Clay Shaw on charges of conspiring to kill Kennedy. A check for US$300 was sent to cover the airfare, but Altgens did not want to go; he thought Garrison was acting in his own self-interest.
Altgens and former Texas Governor John Connally met by chance in Houston a short time later. Connally told Altgens that he also had been called to testify and received airfare, but he decided to cash the check and spend the money. Connally pressed Altgens to spend his as well. Altgens later learned that they were not required to attend.
In 1979, after 40 years with the AP, Altgens retired rather than accept a transfer to a different bureau. He stayed in Dallas and took a job with the Ford Motor Company working on displays and exhibits. Altgens also spent time answering requests by assassination researchers, and his reminiscences were included in several publications and discussions:
Pictures of the Pain and That Day In Dallas
Starting in 1984, Altgens shared personal details and recollections in letters and telephone conversations for the book Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the Assassination of President Kennedy (1994). His story would be expanded and highlighted for the 1998 follow-up That Day In Dallas. In his correspondence, Altgens said he expected that some controversy over the details of the assassination would always exist, but those researchers who tried to sway him from the Warren Commission's conclusion (that Oswald, acting alone, killed Kennedy) had failed to do so.
Reporters Remember 11-22-63
In November 1993, Altgens took part in Reporters Remember 11-22-63, a panel discussion at Southern Methodist University in Dallas including journalists who shared their experiences from 30 years before. Moderator Hugh Aynesworth introduced Altgens and reminded attendees of the controversy over the man in his picture who resembled Oswald.
Altgens described what he saw following the fatal shot to JFK. "There was no blood on the right-hand side of his face; there was no blood on the front of his face. But there was a tremendous amount of blood on the left-hand side and at the back of the head." This suggested to Altgens that the gunshots came from the rear, because he should have seen some evidence otherwise. He also remembered seeing Jackie Kennedy on the trunk of the limousine, and thinking that she was frightened by the events and was trying to get away.
No More Silence
Altgens shared a story about Billy Lovelady for No More Silence: An Oral History of the Assassination of President Kennedy (1998). Lovelady had contacted Altgens and asked him to deliver a copy of the first photograph along Elm Street. Altgens was met instead by Lovelady's wife, who said her husband would never agree to be interviewed. The couple had moved several times, but they were still being harassed by people who wanted the shirt Lovelady was wearing when Kennedy was shot.[c]
Altgens also said he had told FBI agents that he might have had better pictures for investigators if he had been allowed to stay on the overpass. "By being up there, I would have been able to show the sniper."
On December 12, 1995, Ike and Clara Altgens were found dead in separate rooms in their home in Dallas. A Houston Chronicle article quoted a nephew, Dallas attorney Ron Grant, as saying his aunt Clara had been very ill with heart trouble and other health problems, and both of them had long suffered from the flu. Carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty furnace may also have played a role in their deaths. Altgens was survived by three nephews, and his wife by two sisters.
- Those who saw Lovelady at the doorway: Buell Wesley Frazier, James Jarman, Harold Norman, Sarah Stanton, and William Shelley. Those who identified him in Altgens' photograph: Danny Garcia Arce, Lovelady, and Virginia Baker (Rackley). Shelley, Lovelady's supervisor, also signed a statement given to a man who identified himself as FBI Special Agent Alfred D. Neeley.
- Notes from his Dallas police interview placed Oswald on the first floor eating lunch at "about that time (Altgens made the picture)"; he was on the second floor when a uniformed officer confronted him "90 seconds later".
- Skeptics of the official conclusions wanted the shirt to compare it with Altgens' photograph. When Lovelady died in January 1979 at age 41, his attorney told United Press International that Lovelady's resemblance to Oswald led to his client being "hounded out of Dallas" by conspiracy theorists, and that 15 years of strain might have contributed to his death.
- Journalists Remember 1993, 1:52:48.
- Trask 1994, pp. 318–9. There were seven total photographs of the motorcade by Altgens, who later told author Richard B. Trask that he was not sure of the number and did not want to take credit for anything that was not his work. By this time, the negatives had been examined at the AP New York bureau by Richard E. Sprague, who found that Altgens' film "is of the same type (Tri-X), is numbered sequentially, is chronological, and taken from the same vantage points at which Altgens is known to have been located."
- Official investigations concluded he was not; see § The man resembling Lee Harvey Oswald.
- Texas State Board of Health – Bureau of Vital Statistics. Standard Certificate of Birth. No. 15971. Filed May 2, 1919.
- Registration Card. Serial No. 3262. Order No. 4506. September 12, 1918. Child and father were each listed as "Altgen". His World War I draft registration card identified him as John Henry Altgen.
- Texas State Board of Health – Bureau of Vital Statistics. Standard Certificate of Birth. No. 39640. Filed July 25, 1921.
- Texas State Board of Health – Bureau of Vital Statistics. Standard Certificate of Death. No. 16279. Filed April 4, 1932. Altgens' mother, then Willie May Gilbert, died in Dallas at age 30 of pulmonary tuberculosis when her son was 12. Death data for his father could not be located as of October 20, 2016.
- Trask 1994, p. 307.
- Pierce, Arthur C. (1960). Beyond the Time Barrier. American International Pictures.
- Trask 1998, p. 58.
- Pierce 1960, at 0:39.
- Pierce 1960, at 1:13:44. "Gentlemen, we have got a lot to think about."
- The American Film Institute (1976). American Film Institute Catalog: Feature Films 1961–1970. Vol. 1, Part 2 (hardcover ed.). University of California Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-520-20970-2.
- Trask 1998, p. 75.
- Trask 1994, p. 308.
- WCH 1964, James W. Altgens, Vol. VII p. 516.
- Trask 1994, pp. 308–9. Altgens' personal camera was a 35 mm Nikkorex-F single-lens reflex model, serial #371734, that he had purchased via the AP in January 1963 from Medo Photo Supply Corp. On November 22 he used a 105 mm telephoto lens and Eastman Kodak Tri-X pan film. Altgens explained to Trask that using a manual camera required particular care in creating good pictures.
- WCH 1964, James W. Altgens, Vol. VII p. 517.
- WCH 1964, Lyndal L. Shaneyfelt. Vol. V p. 158.
- Trask 1994, pp. 315–6.
- Trask 1994, p. 315. "The sight [of the gunshot aftermath] was unbelievable, and I was surprised I recovered fast enough to make the picture of the Secret Service man aiding Mrs. Kennedy."
- Trask 1994, pp. 316.
- WCH 1964, Vol. II pp. 138–40. Under questioning for the Warren Commission, Hill—who was assigned to Mrs. Kennedy—testified that she "was, it appeared to me, reaching for something coming off the right rear bumper of the car". Asked if there was "anything back there that [you] observed, that [Mrs. Kennedy] might have been reaching for", Hill said that he "thought I saw something come off the back, too, but I cannot say that there was."
- Hill & McCubbin 2013, p. 27. For his book Five Days in November, Hill recalled thinking, "Oh God. She's reaching for some material that's come out of the president's head."
- Trask 1994, p. 318.
- WCH 1964, Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Vol. V p. 180. "You know, then, there were pictures later on of me climbing out the back. But I don't remember that at all."
- Hill & McCubbin 2013, p. xi. "From that point on, I would forever be known as the Secret Service agent who jumped on the back of the car."
- WCH 1964, James W. Altgens, Vol. VII p. 519. "There was utter confusion at the time I crossed the street. The Secret Service men, uniformed policemen with drawn guns that went racing up this little incline ..."
- Trask 1994, p. 317.
- Pett 1963, p. 14.
- Trask 1994, p. 318. "[Trask:] To Altgens, the accused looked exhausted, 'like they had put him through the interrogation ringer.'"
- "If the man in the picture actually had been Oswald it would seem to prove that he was not the Kennedy assassin because he would not have had time to reach the street entrance."
- "At first glance it does look like Oswald," Truly is quoted, "but after looking it over I knew it wasn't. They don't even look alike." The report also says Truly showed the photograph to Lovelady, who identified himself.
- Associated Press (December 3, 1963). "Pictured Man Is Not Killer". Cumberland, Maryland. Retrieved December 28, 2014 – via Cumberland Evening Times, p. 2.
- Associated Press (May 24, 1964). "'Most Controversial Photo of Decade' Is Published". Sarasota, Florida. Retrieved December 28, 2014 – via Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. 2.
- WCH 1964, CE 1408 – Bonafede, Dom. "The Picture With a Life of Its Own". Vol. XXII p. 794.
- WCH 1964, CE 1407 – FBI report dated June 5, 1964, of interview of James W. Attgens, who took photographs showing Billy Nolan ... Vol. XXII p. 790.
- Sneed 1998, p. 52. Altgens told author Larry A. Sneed that he had asked his bureau chief whether he should contact the FBI. He was told, "If they want information, we're available, but we don't go volunteering."
- WCH 1964, James W. Altgens, Vol. VII p. 515–23.
- WCH 1964, Vol. XXII, pp. 793–4 (reprinted as part of Warren Commission Exhibit No. 1408). Lovelady recalled a visit from two FBI agents the night after the assassination. When he identified himself in Altgens' photo, Lovelady said one agent "had a big smile on his face because it wasn't Oswald. They said they had a big discussion down at the FBI and one guy said it just had to be Oswald."
- WCH 1964, James W. Altgens, Vol. VII pp. 522–3.
- WCH 1964, Vol. II p. 233.
- WCH 1964, Vol. III p. 202.
- WCH 1964, Vol. III p. 189.
- WCH 1964, Vol. XXII p. 675.
- WCH 1964, Vol. XXII p. 673.
- WCH 1964, Vol. VI p. 367.
- WCH 1964, Vol. VI p. 338.
- WCH 1964, Vol. VII p. 515.
- WCH 1964, CE 1381 – Signed statements obtained from all persons known to have been in the Texas School Book Depository Building on ... Vol. XXII pp. 84–5.
- The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (Warren Commission) (1964). The Report of The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (PDF). United States Government Printing Office. p. 149.
- WCH 1964, Vol. XXIV p. 265.
- Frontline 1993, 1:27:54–1:28:04.
- HSCA 1978, Appendix Vol. VI: Photographic Evidence; Ch. IV:B:3:g: Comparison of Photographs of Lee Harvey Oswald and Billy Nolan Lovelady With That of a Motorcade Spectator pp. 286–93.
- Knuth, Magen (adjunct instructor, American University). "Was Lee Oswald standing in the Depository doorway?". Kennedy Assassination Home Page. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
"Senior Members of the Oswald Innocence Campaign". Oswald Innocence Campaign. Academics listed as senior members who have argued the doorway issue include David Wrone, Gerald McKnight, Jerry Kroth and David G. Caban. Self-published source. Retrieved November 12, 2016.CS1 maint: others (link)
Hayden, Tyler (November 20, 2013). "Oswald Innocence Campaign Descends on Santa Barbara". Santa Barbara Independent. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
- Tweedie, Neil (October 24, 2012). "The assassination of President John F Kennedy: the finger points to the KGB (book review)". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
- Marrs 2013, e-book (no page numbers).
- Associated Press (November 22, 1963). "Kennedy Dead: Is Shot In Dallas". Ludington Daily News. Ludington, Michigan. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
- Altgens, James (November 25, 1963). "Photographer Near Car Saw It All". Pacific Stars and Stripes. Associated Press. p. 23. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
At first I thought the shots came from the opposite side of the street. ... I did not know until later where the shots came from. I was on the opposite side of the President's car from the gunman. He might have hit me." Altgens said he was told by the AP's Los Angeles photo editor that he might have been shot had the bullet gone "just a bit to the left.
- WCH 1964, James W. Altgens. Vol. VII p. 518. "I could vouch for number one, and I can vouch for the last shot, but I cannot tell you how many shots were in between."
- WCH 1964, James W. Altgens. Vol. VII p. 518. "There was flesh particles that flew out of the side of his head in my direction ... Also, the fact that his head was covered with blood, the hairline included, on the left side—all the way down, with no blood on his forehead or face—suggested to me, too, that the shot came from the opposite side, meaning in the direction of this depository building, but at no time did I know for certain where the shot came from."
- Sneed 1998, p. 55. "The explanation given which looks like a forward impact I think is really unexplainable. I don't know whether it's a body reaction or what it was because, from my vantage point, it was very clear he moved forward and didn't move backward."
- "CBS News Inquiry: The Warren Report". CBS News. August 24, 1967. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2016 – via Congressional Record—House, p. 24057.
And, thinking that they had the assassin cornered up in this knoll area—and it seemed rather strange, as I say, because knowing that the shot came from behind, this fellow had to really move in order to get over into the knoll area.
- Trask 1994, p. 321. Connally had been seated in the limousine in front of Kennedy and was wounded during the gunfire in Dealey Plaza.
- Trask 1994, p. 322.
- Sneed 1998, p. 58.
- Trask 1994, p. 322, fn. 3. As printed on the back cover of the book's jacket, Altgens called Pictures a "powerful display of words and pictures graphically illustrating one of the most tragic moments in the history of the United States. Actual photographs, eyewitness reports, and the author's standard of thoroughness qualify this book as a 'must read' chronicle of the real event taking place that fateful day."
- Trask 1994, p. 307–22. In his correspondence in 1984, Altgens wrote, "there will always be some controversy about details surrounding the site and shooting of the President." In 1991 he added, "Until those people come up with solid evidence to support their claims, I see no value in wasting my time with them."
- Journalists Remember 1993, 1:52:58. "James 'Ike' Altgens, well-known photographer for the AP, shot a very memorable picture that day, among others I'm sure, but it became very controversial because as I recall, and I do recall, it showed a man that looked like Oswald in the door of the depository building."
- Journalists Remember 1993, 1:56:29–1:56:56.
- Journalists Remember 1993, 1:55:30. In response to someone's request for his thoughts, "I said, 'The woman was scared out of her mind and she was looking for a way to escape.'"
- Sneed 1998, p. 47.
- "He Looked Like Kennedy's Assassin, and It Hounded Him Until His Death". St. Petersburg Times. United Press International. January 19, 1979. p. B15. Retrieved July 16, 2016 – via Google News.
- Sneed 1998, p. 53.
- "Photographer of JFK, wife found dead". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 6, 1999.
- Pace, Eric (December 17, 1995). "James Altgens, photographer at Kennedy assassination, dies at 76". The New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- "James Altgens". AP News Archive. Associated Press. December 15, 1995. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- Hill, Clint; McCubbin, Lisa (2013). Five Days in November (hardcover ed.). Gallery Books. ISBN 978-1-4767-3149-0. Cited as Hill & McCubbin 2013.
- Marrs, Jim (2013). Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy (e-book ed.). Carroll & Graf. ISBN 978-0-465-05087-1. Cited as Marrs 2013.
- Pett, Saul; Moody, Sid; Mulligan, Hugh; et al., eds. (1963). The Torch Is Passed: The Associated Press Story of the Death of a President, John F. Kennedy (hardcover ed.). Associated Press. ISBN 978-0-86101-568-9. Cited as Pett 1963.
- The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (Warren Commission) (1964). Warren Commission Hearings and Exhibits. United States Government Printing Office – via Mary Ferrell Foundation. Cited as WCH 1964.
- Sneed, Larry A. (1998). "James W. Altgens: Eyewitness". No More Silence: An Oral History of the Assassination of President Kennedy. Denton, Texas: University of North Texas Press. pp. 41–59. ISBN 978-1-57441-148-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) Cited as Sneed 1998.
- Trask, Richard B. (1994). Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the Assassination of President Kennedy (hardcover ed.). Yeoman Press. ISBN 0-9638595-0-1. Cited as Trask 1994.
- Trask, Richard B. (1998). That Day in Dallas: Three Photographers Capture On Film the Day President Kennedy Died (paperback ed.). Yeoman Press. ISBN 0-9638595-2-8. Cited as Trask 1998.
- United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations (1978). House Select Committee Hearings and Appendices. United States Government Printing Office – via History Matters. Cited as HSCA 1978.
- Journalists Remember JFK Assassination (video) (television broadcast of Reporters Remember 11-22-63). C-SPAN. November 20, 1993. Retrieved March 18, 2014. Cited as Journalists Remember 1993.
- Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald? (video). Frontline (investigative biography). PBS. November 16, 1993. Retrieved November 18, 2016. Cited as Frontline 1993.
- The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (Warren Commission) (1964). "Testimony of James W. Altgens". Warren Commission Hearings (WCH). VII. United States Government Printing Office. pp. 515–25.
- AP Explore: JFK Assassination 50th anniversary (Associated Press—includes images of Altgens' original AP bulletin with handwritten notes)
- JFK Remembered: That Awful Day (Abilene Reporter-News—includes images by and of Altgens, and a 2013 snapshot of his initial AP bulletin)
- Records of the John F. Kennedy Assassination Collection: Key Persons Files: Altgens, James W. (National Archives and Records Administration)