Marguerite Harrison draws a losing card

Although her mission was to reach Russia, Marguerite Harrison filed reports to the Military Intelligence Division while she was traveling.  On the voyage to London aboard the White Star Line’s RMS Adriatic, she encountered Julius F. Hecker, a Russian-American Y.M.C.A. worker who lived in Lausanne, Switzerland.  He told her that he had been in the …

The mission to Russia challenges America’s top spies

Marlborough Churchill’s decision to send Marguerite Harrison to Russia is testament to the confidence America’s intelligence service directors had in her. Tommy Harrison was co-captain of the football team in Gilman when his mother pulled him out of school to take him with her to Switzerland. Photo courtesy of Gilman School. In the autumn 1919, …

A fateful encounter in Berlin has lifelong consequences

Stan Harding While working in Berlin, Marguerite Harrison encountered another woman journalist who would have a profound impact on Harrison’s work and reputation. The woman was Stan Harding. She was every bit as adventurous and ambitious as Marguerite, and she would prove to be a formidable enemy. Harding had been born to a well-to-do family …

On the front lines in Berlin, 1919

Alexanderplatz with the downed overhead lines of the tram, 8.3.1919 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Art Library - Photothek Willy Römer / Willy Römer Only a couple of Marguerite Harrison’s German reports have survived, but they give some indication of how she went about collecting information for the Military Intelligence Division. Fluent in German, Marguerite …

Gunfire greets Harrison as she arrives in Berlin

Hotel Bristol, circa 1910. Marguerite Harrison boarded a train crowded with soldiers and workers and head to Berlin. Along the way, she heard that fighting had erupted in the German capital between the government troops and the Communist-backed Spartacists, and she hurried toward the action. It was night when she arrived at the train station …

A movie provides cover for Harrison’s mission

Soldiers from the 115th Infantry Division. Courtesy of portraitsofwar.com. Marguerite Harrison’s mission for the Military Intelligence Division had the full support of her editors at the Baltimore Sun, who provided cover for her operation. Harrison traveled with newspaper credentials to France under the pretext that she would write feature stories and show a movie the …