' Skip To Content
Oswald's Ghost | Timeline

Oswald, Kennedy, and the Assassination

May 29, 1917
John Fitzgerald Kennedy is born.

October 18, 1939
Marguerite Oswald gives birth to her third son, Lee Harvey in New Orleans. Two months earlier, her husband had suffered a fatal heart attack.

John Kennedy enlists in the U.S. Navy. During World War II he will serve as a Naval Intelligence officer and a PT boat skipper.

John Kennedy campaigns for Congress in Southbridge, MA, 1946. ©CORBIS

John Kennedy begins six years service in the House of Representatives as a Democrat from Massachusetts.

John Kennedy is elected to the U.S. Senate.

​​​​​​​Lee Harvey Oswald as a Marine. NARA / President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection

Lee Harvey Oswald joins the Marines. His skill on the shooting range earns him a sharpshooter qualification.

Oswald is posted to Atsugi Air Force Base in Japan, home of the  U2 spy plane.

Two courts-martial embitter Oswald against the military and he takes up an interest from his adolescence in socialism.

Oswald travels to Europe, gains entry into the Soviet Union and announces his plans to defect to that country. When the Soviets deny his request, Oswald slits his wrists in a failed suicide attempt. The Soviets later reconsider and the Marines begin filing an "undesirable discharge" against Oswald. He leaves the Marines and enters the reserves.

Lee Harvey Oswald around the time of his defection to Russia in 1959. NARA / President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection

In Minsk, Oswald is given a nice apartment and a job in a radio and television factory. He does not attend Marxist classes as expected.

November 8
John F. Kennedy confounds expectations by winning election to become the first Roman Catholic president of the United States of America.

January 20. 1961
At his inauguration, Kennedy urges this nation, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

President John Kennedy delivering his inaugural address, January 20, 1961. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT &S Collection

February 13
Oswald contacts the American Embassy and informs them that he wants to return to the United States.

April 30
Oswald marries Marina Prusakova.

Oswald and his Russian wife return to the United States. They stay with his brother in Fort Worth, Texas, and later move to Dallas. Oswald creates a false identity and rents a post office box bearing the name "Alek J. Hidell." He later orders weapons by mail using the name Hidell.

Lee Oswald and Marina (neé Prusakova) leaving Russia. NARA / President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection

February-March: For weeks, Oswald plans an attack on Edwin Walker, a retired general whom Kennedy had fired for espousing extreme right-wing propaganda to his troops. Oswald meticulously documents his plan with photographs of Walker's residence, hand-drawn maps and political statements; he creates an archive for future historians. Oswald has his photograph taken holding a weapon that will later be identified as the gun that killed Kennedy.

Hands off Cuba! flier for a meeting to be held at Oswald's New Orleans address. NARA / President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection

April 10: Oswald takes one shot at Edwin Walker and narrowly misses the retired general's head. Oswald escapes on foot and public transit. The crime will remain unsolved until after Oswald's widow is questioned following Kennedy's death.

April 24: Oswald moves to New Orleans. After finding a job as a maintenance man for the Reily Coffee Company, he sends for his wife and daughter.

Summer: Cuba and Fidel Castro become Oswald's obsession. He becomes the founder and sole member of a New Orleans chapter of the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba, against the organization's wishes. He also contacts Carlos Bringuier, the leader of an anti-Castro group, to offer his help.

September: Oswald travels from Houston to Mexico City hoping to get to Cuba. He petitions the Cuban Consulate, but without a Soviet visa, he is denied entry.

Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald with their daughter in a photo booth in October 1963. NARA / President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection

October 2: Oswald returns to Dallas. His pregnant wife and his daughter are living with Ruth Paine, a family friend, in Irving, Texas, in Dallas County.

October 15: Oswald takes a job at the Texas School Book Depository as a clerk after a neighbor of Mrs. Paine mentions the open position to the family.

President John and Jacqueline Kennedy arrive in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. NARA

October 20: Marina gives birth to Lee Harvey Oswald's second daughter.

November 19: The Dallas Times Herald publishes the schedule and route of President Kennedy's upcoming visit to Dallas.

November 21: President Kennedy flies to Texas to deliver some political speeches. The day includes appearances in San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth. Oswald spends the night in Irving with his family.

November 22: President Kennedy will be assassinated on this day.

Oswald wakes early, leaves his wedding ring and goes to work at the School Book Depository.

The president makes remarks in Fort Worth before taking a 13-minute flight to Dallas. From the airport, the presidential motorcade drives toward the Trade Mart, where Kennedy is scheduled to speak.

12:30pm CST (approximately)
As the presidential motorcade winds past Dealey Plaza, multiple shots ring out. President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally are both hit, and the car speeds off.

12:34pm CST
The United Press International news agency broadcasts the first news report of the shooting.

12:38pm CST
Patient No. 24740 -- "Kennedy, John F." -- is logged into the register of Parkland Hospital's Emergency Room.

1:00pm CST
President Kennedy is pronounced dead in Parkland Hospital.

1:16pm CST
Dallas Police officer J. D. Tippit is gunned down in front of seven witnesses who will later identify Lee Harvey Oswald as the killer.

Lee Harvey Oswald's arrest at the Texas Theater in Dallas on November 22, 1963. NARA / President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection

1:40pm CST
Oswald slips into the Texas Theater without paying. Police enter and apprehend him as a suspect in the Tippit killing. When he is discovered to be the only unaccounted employee of the Texas School Book Depository, he is suspected of the Kennedy assassination. Two days of interrogation will follow, but Oswald will never confess.

2:38pm CST
Aboard Air Force One, Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office to become the 36th president of the United States.

Midnight CST
Oswald appears before the press. In the crowd is Dallas businessman Jacob Rubenstein, known as Jack Ruby.

November 23: Jack Ruby closes his strip club and spends time at police headquarters, asking about Oswald's pending transfer to the county jail. Police announce that Oswald will be transferred at 10am the next day.

Jack Ruby under arrest in Dallas, Texas on November 24, 1963. NARA / President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection

November 24: Jack Ruby sends a moneygram at Western Union. The receipt is stamped 11:17am.

11:21am CST
Police remove Lee Harvey Oswald from the police station to be transferred to the county jail. Jack Ruby approaches Oswald in a crowded hall and shoots him.

1:07pm CST
Lee Harvey Oswald is pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital, never having regained consciousness.

A funeral procession brings the body of President Kennedy from the White House to the U.S. Capitol building.

November 25: On his third birthday, John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes as the body of his father is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

Lee Harvey Oswald is interred at Rose Hill Burial Park in Fort Worth. Seven reporters transport the coffin and police and Secret Service agents surround the grave.

The funeral procession for John F. Kennedy leaves the White House, November 25, 1963. Photograph by Abbie Rowe, National Park Service, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

November 29: President Johnson establishes the Warren Commission, formally known as the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy.

September 24: The Warren Commission report concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of President Kennedy.

January 3: Jack Ruby, afflicted with cancer, dies from a pulmonary embolism in Parkland Hospital.

The family of Martin Luther King Jr. at his funeral in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 9, 1968. ©JP Laffont/Sygma/Corbis

April 4: Martin Luther King, Jr. shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee. Two months later, James Earl Ray will be apprehended in London and confesses to the crime, though he will recant his confession afterward.

Robert Kennedy addressing the Democratic platform committee in August 1964. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection

June 5: In the early morning hours, after winning the California Democratic Primary for the presidential nomination, John Kennedy's younger brother, Robert Kennedy, is shot and killed in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Sirhan Sirhan is apprehended for the crime. 

Support Provided by: Learn More