About the Assassination Archives and Research Center

AARC President
James Lesar

The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) was founded in 1984 by Bernard (Bud) Fensterwald Jr. and Jim Lesar, to provide a permanent organization which would acquire, preserve and disseminate information on political assassinations.

The AARC's initial holdings came largely from the personal library of co-founder Fensterwald and the documentary archives collected by his Committee to Investigate Assassinations, which he established in 1969. Now augmented by donations from noted authors, researchers and Congressional staffers, the AARC collection is the largest private archives and library of its kind.

Records released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) have been primary source materials for researchers investigating the J.F.K., M.L.K, and R.F.K. cases for the past two-and-a-half decades. The AARC has obtained hundreds of thousands of these records.

AARC co-founder
Bernard Fensterwald, Jr.

In 1992 Congress passed the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act. This mandated extremely liberal disclosure of Kennedy assassination records. As a result of two FOIA lawsuits pending at the time this law was enacted, the member of the AARC Board of Directors who brought the suits was able to force the CIA and the FBI to reprocess under the terms of the JFK Act approximately 750,000 pages of JFK assassination records that these two agencies had made available to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. He donated these materials to the AARC. In addition, the AARC has obtained additional records from these and other agencies which were ordered disclosed by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).

The AARC's holdings comprise the most extensive collection of records on the JFK assassination in private hands. It has approximately 1,500 books on assassinations, organized crime, covert activities, and a wide variety of other subjects relevant to the study of assassinations and related topics. Its “main files” consist of newspaper and magazine articles, unpublished manuscripts, trial transcripts, photographs, tapes, notes, letters and other materials which fill some 36 four-drawer file cabinets.



become a member of the AARC

Support the declassification of government records relating to political assassination by becoming a member of the AARC. AARC members receive discounts on CD-ROM titles.

See the membership application for more details.

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