David Blackburst Archive:
David Ferrie and the Library Card



Subject: Ferrie's Library Card
Date: 14 Apr 1998 22:08:58 -0500
From: blackburst@aol.com (Blackburst)
Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com
Newsgroups: alt.assassination.jfk

David Ferrie's Library Card

Several writers and commentators have made reference to an 11/25/63 FBI interview with Ferrie's friend Layton Martens, and Martens' assertion that he was told by Ferrie's lawyer and employer G. Wray Gill that Ferrie's library card had been found on Oswald when he was arrested. This is a reference to Commission Document 75. Let us follow the assertion through the other pages of the document.

Martens told the FBI that Gill had stopped by Ferrie's apartment at about 1:00pm on 11/24/63, and that "Gill stated that he had gotten word that Lee Oswald, when he was picked up, had been carrying a library card with David Ferrie's name on it."

When the FBI asked Gill about this, he replied that he had spoken to a man named Hardy Davis, who "informed him that he had learned through hearsay when Oswald was arrested by the Police Department in Dallas, Texas, he had in his posession a library card of David Ferrie."

The FBI then questioned Hardy Davis, who said that he had spoken to Jack Martin [G. Wray Gill also informed the FBI that Martin had been Davis's source for this information--DR], who "told Davis that (a) television program had reported that the library card of David Ferrie had been found in the posession of Oswald in Dallas, Texas upon the latter's arrest."

This led the FBI to Jack Martin, who told the agents that "he had several phone conversations with Hardy Davis...regarding a television program which mentioned the possibility that David Ferrie was associated with Lee Harvey Oswald in the Civil Air Patrol, and Martin and Davis may have come to the conclusion that Oswald had used or carried Ferrie's library card."

Let us reverse this evidence trail and follow it forward: Jack Martin came to the conclusion that Ferrie's library card had been found in Oswald's posession, and he told this to Hardy Davis. Davis repeated this assertion to G. Wray Gill. Gill repeated the information to Layton Martens.

While there were references on New Orleans TV stations that Oswald may have served under Ferrie in the Civil Air Patrol, there is no record of any reference to Oswald having Ferrie's library card. Could Jack Martin have made the story up? Martin had briefly been a friend of Ferrie's but had developed a grudge after Ferrie threw him out of Gill's office the previous May. Over the years Martin gave numerous statements to investigators about Ferrie which are filled with demonstrably erroneous information. By any measure, Martin had a peculiar background. One investigator wrote that "Martin is considered extremely unreliable and on several occasions this man has himself been involved in matters which bordered on extortion." Could these words have been written as part of a cover-up/smear? Not likely - they were written nearly a year before the assassination.

When Ferrie was questioned by the FBI, Ferrie said that "he has never loaned his library card to Lee Harvey Oswald or any other person at any time." It is not unreasonable to speculate that the FBI's reason for asking this question was the assertion of Jack Martin, reported to the Bureau by Martens, Gill, Davis and Martin himself. The Secret Service may have obtained this information from the FBI.

After Ferrie's 1967 death, Oswald's landlady and a former neighbor told Jim Garrison's investigators that Ferrie had visited them and inquired about a library card. (The landlady said Ferrie's visit was on the night of the assassination, but his whereabouts during that evening are accounted for.) Presumably, Ferrie did visit the women a few days later in response to the allegation made by Jack Martin.




Subject: Re: Ferrie's State of Mind in 1963
From: blackburst@aol.com (Blackburst)
Date: 6/8/99 9:18 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Message-id: <19990608091833.25727.00001858@ng-fh1.aol.com>

Howpl wrote:
>But two witnesses in New Orleans, a Mrs. Garner, Oswald's former
>landlady, and Doris Eames, a former neighbor, claim they were visited by
>after the assassination
>If Ferrie did indeed visit them, what else could it mean but that
>he was worried that he would be linked to Oswald?

In a sense, this is true. A Ferrie friend related Ferrie's explanation to him: On his return from his Houston trip, Ferrie learned that the authorities were looking for him based on Jack Martin's allegations. When he returned to New Orelans, he found his apartment occupied by the police. When he turned himself in, he was arrested by the Orelans Parish DA's office and questioned by the NOPD, the FBI and the Secret Service about possible involement in a very serious crime. He told them that while he did not recall Oswald, his picture looked familiar.

Over the next few days, Ferrie frantically tried to clear his name. He found that some of the allegations began when Sidney Edward Voebel said in WWL-TV that Ferrie and Oswald had served in the same CAP unit. Ferrie visited Voebel and spoke to other former CAP cadets [such as Roy Tell] and determined tha Oswald probably had been in his CAP unit in the 50s.

In that time period, Ferrie frequently had drinking parties at his home attended by numerous CAP cadets. He worried that Oswald may have been one of those who attended a party, and may have walked off with an old library card or other documents [This later proved to be unfounded]. So, as he later told friend John Irion, he conducted his own investigation to help disprove the rumors.

In this context, visits to Eames and Garner take on a more benign character. One cannot exclude the possibility that a person wrongfully accused of involvement in a major crime might try to clear his name. It is a not infrequent occurrence in such cases. If we presume Ferrie guilty, the visits might be suspicious. If we afford him a presumption of innocence, the visits have a much less suspicious explanation.




From: blackburst@aol.com (Blackburst)
Subject: Re: Why Ferrie Didn't Know LHO in the CAP
Date: 08 Jun 2000 00:00:00 GMT
Message-ID: <20000607225632.01515.00000579@ng-cj1.aol.com>

duquesne wrote:
>Oh yeah, go to someones home and steal their library card. Yeah, that
>ones a keeper...hehe. Talk about speculation!

Well, actually, this is not my speculation. This is what Ferrie told his friends. He said that when he first heard he was being accused of knowing Oswald in the CAP, he couldn't remember him, although a photo bore some familiarity. Then he heard the story that Oswald had posessed a library card with his name on it. Frantic to clear this up and clear his name, Ferrie then spoke to Oswald's friend Eddie Voebel, who told Ferrie that Oswald had been a cadet in Ferrie's CAP squadron in 1955, and that he recalled Oswald attending a party at Ferrie's then-home at 209 Vinet Street. Not knowing Jack Martin was the source of the story, he worried that Oswald might have taken an old library card. If you give Ferrie a presumption of innocence, the story is not at all unbelieveable. I don't know why you find it funny.



From: blackburst@aol.com (Blackburst)
Subject: Re: David Ferrie notes
Date: 25 Jun 2000 00:00:00 GMT
Message-ID: <20000625010510.06928.00000532@ng-fn1.aol.com>

Bill B. wrote:
>Has anyone ever figured why Ferrie asked ex-landlady about a library card
>of accused killer who had moved 3 months earlier? Makes no sense.

I'll take a stab at it. Some posters freak out when I report this explanation, but it is based on what Ferrie told his friends after the assassination.

While returning from his Houston trip, Ferrie learned he was being sought for questioning in the assassination. He learned that one of the allegations was that a library card in his name had been found in Oswald's posession, although he was not yet aware that Jack Martin was the source of this apparently erroneous claim.

He initially did not recall Oswald from his time with the Lakefront Civil Air Patrol, but he was shortly reminded by Edward Voebel that Oswald had served in the Moisant Squadron at the time Ferrie was volunteering to lecture the unit in 1955. Ferrie had thrown many parties which were attended by CAP cadets, and Ferrie initially feared that Oswald may have attended such a party and made off with a library card or other documents.

He heard of a woman in New Orleans who had been Oswald's landlady, and he presumably went to her to ask if the card in question had been retrieved from Oswald's posessions at that address. (Today, we are all aware of the chronology of Oswald's life, where he lived and when. Within just a few days of the assassination, Ferrie was presumably not aware of when Oswald had lived in, or vacated, the apartment.) Ferrie did this to try to determine if such a card had indeed been found or not. Fancying himself as a bit of an investigator, Ferrie told friends (like John Irion) that he was "assisting the FBI" in this phase of the investigation.

Presuming Ferrie was truthful about not recalling Oswald from 1955, I do not find this explanation unreasonable. But others may disagree.




From: blackburst@aol.com (Blackburst)
Subject: Re: About that library card......
Date: 26 Jun 2000 00:00:00 GMT
Message-ID: <20000626144023.00762.00004592@ng-md1.aol.com>

Atlasrecrd wrote:
>>he worried that Oswald might have attended one of >his many 1955 parties and
>walked off with a card.
> Give me a break! Really David, how plausible is that story?

Presuming he was telling the truth about not recalling Oswald, put yourself in Ferrie's mind in November 1963. You just found out that the man who allegedly killed the president was in your CAP unit 8 years ago. Someone is alleging that he had your library card in his posession, but you have no other details. You have just been arrested and questioned by the police, DA, FBI and Secret Service. Your name has been mentioned in the press. Well, he couldn't have my current library card, 'cause it's in my wallet. Could he have one of my old library cards?(All through his 10-plus years with the CAP, Ferrie threw parties to which dozens of kids came, and they brought friends. Alcohol was served.)

Before he found out that Martin was the source of the story, he worried that it might be true, that one of his old cards had ended up in Oswald's hands, presumably from the time they served in the CAP.

This is what Ferrie told people. I am not endorsing it, but I don't find it silly or implausible at all, given the situaution Ferrie found himself in.

> BTW, what's your source for this bunk?

This story is recounted in various reports of interviews with Ferrie's friends, and in a few interviews I conducted.

When you isolate on single events of that weekend, they might not seem to make sense, but when you look at the chronology of events involving Ferrie that weekend, you can see WHY things happened. There is a LOT of confusion among some researchers about things involving Ferrie that weekend. Perhaps I should find a good place to post a whole chronology of that weekend, to demystify it a bit.


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