From the Department of Guilt By Association, Stacks brings you this follow up installment on Antioch College and the Kennedy assassination. Recall from last month that the College almost immediately fielded unfounded accusations of its connection with Lee Harvey Oswald through the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. In fact, the closest connection Antioch ever had with Oswald was in the person of Ruth Hyde Paine, a 1955 graduate who had befriended Marina, Oswald’s Russian born wife. Ruth’s story has been told numerous times since, even in a historical novel entitled Mrs. Paine’s Garage, where Lee Harvey Oswald had hidden a rifle without her knowledge. As a result she would be key witness in the Warren Commission investigation that concluded Oswald had acted alone. In 2009 the city of Irving, TX purchased the home that Ruth had briefly shared with Marina Oswald and her children and turned it into a museum.
Heightened suspicions and wild allegations about who else may have been involved in killing the President arose even as Oswald still lived. That such allegations made it to Yellow Springs so rapidly says much about the political climate of the early 1960s and the notoriety Antioch College had attained by that time as so progressive as to be thought of in some circles as dangerous to the American way of life. At least that’s how the Columbus Dispatch saw it, a newspaper so traditionally conservative that it last endorsed a Democratic candidate for President in 1916 when Woodrow Wilson ran for reelection. Oddly or ironically (or both), the reporter Jack Cowie was by all accounts a fishing writer.
Perhaps it is a fishing story after all. The College emphatically denied closing its records to federal investigators as alleged. The suggestion of “subversive operations among Antioch students” was publicly discounted the following day by the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Cincinnati when he told reporters: “news to me.”
From the Columbus (OH) Dispatch, 3 Dec 1963
Did Oswald Make Recent Antioch Visit?
By Jack Cowie
Did Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President Kennedy, have contacts in Ohio—on the campus of Antioch College?
The question was raised Saturday by a high-ranking police officer who said he is checking reports Oswald visited the campus in Yellow Springs two months ago.
It was the second time Saturday that Antioch had been mentioned in connection with Oswald. The first related to an acquaintance of the Oswald family, not in Ohio but in Texas.
A week ago Friday, Mrs. Ruth Hyde Paine sat with Oswald’s wife when President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Tex.
Mrs. Paine, who lives in Irving, a suburb of Dallas, is a 1955 graduate of Antioch.
Mrs. Paine is married to Michael R. Paine, a research laboratory worker in a Texas aircraft plant. She is 31.
She attended Ohio State University in the winter quarter of 1950-1951 in the arts and sciences college and the summer quarter of 1953.
Mrs. Paine’s mother is Mrs. Carol Hyde of 4400 Glenmawr Ave. Her father, William A. Hyde, is employed by Nationwide Insurance Co. He lives at 580 North Park St.
When Mrs. Paine entered OSU, she gave an address in the 1800 block of Summit St.
She has a brother living in Yellow Springs. He is Dr. Carl D. Hyde who graduated from Antioch in 1948. His wife is the former Lorena Estlow, a 1949 Antioch graduate.
The police officer, who preferred not to be identified, said Antioch school records have been closed to federal investigators, but a directory of graduates lists Mrs. Paine and her brother.
Dr. Hyde said he did not know Oswald and was unaware that he may have visited the Antioch campus.
He said his sister has been besieged by reporters in her Irving home where, he said, he has been trying to keep in touch with her.
Dr. Hyde, a medical doctor, did not comment on the report that he was a conscientious objector, but did admit that he had carried a sign during a demonstration in Yellow Springs several months ago against a barber that refused to cut the hair of a Negro.
In talking to a Dispatch reporter, he offered any cooperation he could give.
The police officer said he has been checking reported subversive operations among Antioch students for some time.
In April, 1961, 35 Antioch students together with 20 Ohio State students picketed the Statehouse in a “Fair Play for Cuba” demonstration.
Among the demonstrators was Philip A. Luce who recently ran into difficulties with the U.S. government over an unauthorized visit to Cuba.
Mrs., Paine, with whom Mrs. Oswald was living, was watching television when Kennedy was shot.
Dallas police said Mrs. Paine was not the neighbor who reportedly drove Oswald to work the morning of the assassination.
The gun with which Kennedy was shot had reportedly been stored in the Paine garage by Oswald.
A Dallas reporter, who interviewed Mrs. Paine following the shooting, said the former Columbus girl said she was a Democrat and had voted for Kennedy.
He also said Mrs. Paine told him she held an election party the night Kennedy was elected President.
Mrs. Paine had met Oswald and his 22-year-old wife through mutual friends last February, according to the Dallas newsman.
He said Mrs. Paine took Mrs. Oswald in because Mrs. Oswald did not want to go back to Russia and Mrs. Paine learned Russian from her.
Mrs. Paine told the newsman the Russian language is a hobby of hers.
Mrs. Paine has told newsmen she did not know Oswald had stored his gun in the Paine garage, as reported. She also said she is a Quaker and a Pacifist.