TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Seth Kantor Papers
Born in New York City in 1926, Seth Kantor came of age at the outbreak of World War II and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943. He served in a combat platoon of the Third Marine Division at Iwo Jima and Guam. After the war, Kantor attended Wayne State University while working full time for the Detroit bureau of the Associated Press. He worked at various small newspapers in Colorado from 1948 to 1950 and subsequently wrote for numerous Scripps-Howard papers including the Fort Worth Press and the Dallas Times Herald. He was called before a Senate subcommittee for his reporting on a defense contract, refusing to give up his confidential source.
Leaving Scripps-Howard to work for the Detroit News, Kantor wrote hard-hitting investigative pieces on Richard Nixon’s campaign finances, the neglect of welfare children, and the Fednet computer system for gathering secret information on individuals and institutions. During the late 1970s and 1980s he worked for Cox newspapers including the Atlanta Constitution and the Austin American-Statesman, covering the Carter administration, the Middle East, the U.S.S.R., the Jim Wright financial scandal, and many other world events.
Kantor was with President John F. Kennedy’s press entourage when the president was assassinated in Dallas, and Kantor spent many years investigating the background of Jack Ruby. He published Who Killed Jack Ruby? in 1978, calling into question the Warren Commission’s report particularly as it pertained to Ruby’s potential involvement in the assassination plot. He also published a book on Nazi saboteurs living in the United States. Seth Kantor died in 1993 at the age of 67.
New York Times obituary, 8/19/1993; Seth Kantor Papers
Original clippings, research files, publications, and correspondence comprise the bulk of the Seth Kantor Papers. A strength of the collection is Kantor’s extensive research into Jack Ruby and the John F. Kennedy assassination. Another area of interest is the U.S. national political landscape from the 1960s to the 1980s and Kantor’s coverage of the presidency, as well as his in-depth investigative reporting on such issues as child welfare, government intrusion on privacy, and campaign finance. Another important aspect of the collection is Kantor’s determined defense of his journalistic “qualified privilege” of maintaining the confidentiality of his sources.
This collection is open for research use.
Most of this collection is stored off-site. Contact repository in advance for retrieval.
Seth Kantor Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.