Ronald Hoskins Collection
University Archives is delighted to announce its upcoming September 30th sale, which will feature nearly 80 lots from the estate of Father Ronald Hoskins (1949-2020), the noted assassinologist. Father Ron was best known for his massive collection of John F. Kennedy memorabilia, but he collected so much more than that. We discovered the true depth and breadth of his collection while beginning to catalog his estate during this past summer.
An overview of the Hoskins Collection reveals how Father Ron indulged in his passion for history by building up his collection over many decades. His collecting philosophy was simple: follow the line of inquiry wherever it leads. In this way, his collection extended logically from John F. Kennedy to Lee Harvey Oswald to Jack Ruby and other players. Expanding outward and outward in ever-widening circles, the collection encompassed everything that was related, even to the smallest degree, to the Kennedys, the assassinations of John and Robert, and the greater historical context. The result? An impressive collection of incalculable value, ranging from autographed letters, apparel, and photographs, to ephemera, coins, press typescripts, and even Marguerite Oswald’s driver’s license.
September offerings from the Hoskins Collection come from John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Kennedy. They also relate to Lee Harvey Oswald, Marguerite Oswald, and Marina Oswald Porter as well as Jack Ruby. Hoskins collected material from JFK’s emergency room doctors, Dallas police officers, and Secret Service Agents. His investigation led him to examine the Cuban connections to the assassination, through JFK’s international policies, and by way of Oswald’s political sympathies and conspiracy theories involving New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw. Sarah T. Hughes, the Texas judge who swore in Lyndon B. Johnson, and future President Gerald R. Ford, who sat on the Warren Commission, were important historical participants. No stone was left unturned in Father Ron’s quest for information.
John Reznikoff was honored to be chosen by Father Ron’s heirs to catalog his estate. For John and the staff of University Archives, we remember Father Ron as one of our oldest and most beloved customers, a collecting enthusiast even during the last months of his final illness, who recounted stories about his cats Oswald and Ruby.
In addition to amassing his collection of documents and artifacts, Father Ron was a devoted Roman Catholic priest for over 40 years. After finishing his studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1976, Father Ron ministered to Catholics in Philadelphia and New York City. He was a vocal advocate of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Catholic community and held various leadership positions in Gay Men’s Health Crisis, one of the first established organizations dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness. He will be missed, but his collection keeps his memory alive.
We hope you can join us on September 30th.