Burning of draft board records by Philip and Daniel Berrigan and others, May 17, 1968: an interview with Mary E. Murphy given on November 2, 1972
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||Friends of Catonsville Library
|Date of Digitization:
||28 x 22 cm
||Murphy, Mary E.
This a transcript of a recorded interview with Mrs. Mary E. Murphy who was the Chief Clerk at the Draft Board office no. 33 at the time of the event of the forceful removing and burning of the draft cards by the Catonsville Nine group.
Interviewee: Mary E. Murphy
Local Board #33
Selective Service S.
Interviewer: Dorothy Beaman
Date: Thursday, Nov. 2, 1972
Place: Knights of Columbus Bldg.
Transcriber: Emily M. Payne
Cassette Number I
Mrs. Murphy was Chief Clerk on Friday, May 17, 1968 at the time of the event that is
called "Catonsville Nine". We will now talk with Mrs. Murphy about her eye-witness
account of this event.
Mrs. Murphy, will you tell us about the day when the Catonsville Nine came?
"Well, it was a gorgeous day, beautiful day. It was May 17, 1968, a typical Catonsville,
Maryland beautiful spring day. The time of this occurance was about quarter of one.
At the time, we had just finished lunch and were preparing to go back to work.
I heard someone come up the steps." (Interviewer - Excuse me, who was in the office
with you?) "Well, at the time, there were two ladies, Mrs. Alice Phipps and
Mrs. Phyllis Morsberger. Both of these ladies live in Catonsville and they were
both part-time workers. We were very, very busy at the Draft Board at that particular
time and had a lot of extra help. We had, as I said, just finished our lunch
and we started to go back to work when I heard footsteps coming up the steps.
We were on the second floor of the old Knights of Columbus Building at Frederick
and Beaumont Avenues and there is a long stairway to the second floor. We occupied
two rather small rooms. When I heard the footsteps, I turned around and looked
and there was a gentleman in the door. I said to him, 'May I help you, Sir?' As soon
as I looked in his face I recognized him from pictures I had seen of him in the
papers when he had gone down to the Custom House and raided the Draft Board down
there. So, I said - 'Oh, my Lord, something is going to happen.' But before I
could say another thing all eight of the other people were right behind him and they
all came into the office and they said - 'Now, we are not going to hurt you; we
don't want to harm you; we don't want to hurt you.' But, each of them were assigned
to guard each of us. Miss Alice had three around her and Miss Phyllis had three
I got up from my desk and went over to the files where Phillip Berrigan and Mr.
Minche were preparing to remove all of the files that they could from the drawers
in the office. Every registrant had a folder and we had marked the classification
on the front. We had the I-A's marked as well as other classifications. At that