Harrison aids prosecution of Robert Minor

Robert Minor

Marguerite Harrison’s most publicized espionage success in Germany was her role in aiding the arrest of journalist and political cartoonist Robert Minor.

Minor came from a distinguished Texas family and drifted toward socialism in his early 20s. He joined the New York World as a cartoonist in 1911, and a few years later, moved to the Socialist paper, the New York Call, where turned his pen toward opposing World War I and European imperialism.

The Call sent Minor to Europe as a war correspondent, and in 1918 he traveled to Russia, where he witnessed Lenin’s attempt to create a worker’s paradise.

Harrison met Minor in February 1919 while they were in Weimar, Germany, for the opening of the National Assembly. Marguerite was posing as a correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, and over the course of several days Minor confided in her, telling her of his dream to help grow the Communist Party in the United States.

Minor’s agitation among the French railway workers landed him in a Paris jail. By then, U.S. Army officials learned that Minor was spreading propaganda among U.S troops.

In early July, just before Harrison was due to return to the United States, they dispatched her to Dusseldorf to collect evidence against the cartoonist. Posing as a journalist sympathetic to Socialist causes, she found Communists who confirmed that Minor had printed a brochure that was distributed to the American soldiers.

Harrison reported the information to her commanders, although she later said she regretted the role she played in Minor’s prosecution.

Minor was eventually released, thanks to his family connections and the lobbying efforts of such renowned journalists as Lincoln Steffens. A few years later, Harrison joined Minor in speaking to a New York audience in support of Soviet Russia.

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