Authors Preface

After 16 books and 25 years in basic research I thought I'd heard it all ... the world was a confused mess, probably beyond understanding and certainly beyond salvation - and there was little 'l could do about it.

Back in 1968 my Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development was published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In three substantial volumes I detailed how the West had built the Soviet Union. However, the work generated a seemingly insoluble puzzle.

  • Why have we done this?

  • Why did we build the Soviet Union, while we also transferred technology to Hitler's Germany?

  • Why does Washington want to conceal these facts?

  • Why have we boosted Soviet military power?

  • And simultaneously boosted our own?

In subsequent books, the Wall Street series, I added more questions - but no answers. I had more or less arrived at the conclusion that there was no rational answer that could be proven.

Then a year or so ago I received an eight-inch batch of documents - nothing less than the membership lists of an American secret society. Glancing through the sheets it was more than obvious - this was no ordinary group. The names spelled Power, with a capital P. As I probed each individual a pattern emerged ... and a formerly fuzzy world became crystal clear.

The book you will read here is a combined version of a series reporting on this research. Each volume builds on the previous volume in a logical step-by-step process.

These volumes will explain,

  • why the West built the Soviets and Hitler

  • why we go to war, to lose

  • why Wall Street loves Marxists and Nazis

  • why the kids can't read

  • why the Churches have become propaganda founts

  • why historical facts are suppressed

  • why politicians lie...

...and a hundred other whys.

This series is infinitely more important than the original Western Technology series on technological transfers. If I have a magnum opus, this is it.

Phoenix, Arizona

July 30, 1983

New Initiates Into The Order for 1985                    Initiates for 1917                       The Tomb 



Introduction for 2002 Edition

AMERICAS SECRET ESTABLISHMENT has had an unusual publishing history.

The book began with an anonymous donation to the author of an 8-inch package of documents in the early 1980s. Nothing less than the membership list and supporting documents for a truly secret society the Yale Skull and Bones.

The late Johnny Johnson, of Phoenix Arizona was the spark that moved me to write first a four-part series and later, a jumbo volume based on this material. This volume went to several editions with several publishers, even a Russian edition of 12,000 copies. Probably in the past few years, as many copies have been sold in Russia as in the United States.

America's Secret Establishment has had little publicity, few reviews ignored by mainline distributors yet, has sold steadily for the past 16 years at a rate of several hundred copies a month.

This activity, in turn, has generated other articles and books by other authors. But my real intent, to generate an exploration of Hegelian influence in modern America, has not been fulfilled. In great part, this can be attributed to an educational system based on a statist-Hegelian philosophy, and which has already achieved the "dumbing down" of America.

This disastrous, destructive philosophy, the source of both Naziism and Marxism, has infected and corrupted our constitutional republic. Much of the blame for this corruption is with an elitist group of Yalie "Bonesmen." Their symbol of Skull and Bones, and their Hegelian philosophy, says it all, although with typical duplicity, they would have you believe otherwise.

Hegelianism glorifies the State, the vehicle for the dissemination of statist and materialist ideas and policies in education, science, politics and economics.

Wonder why we have a "dumbed-down" society?


Look no further than the Bonesman troika who imported the Prussian education system into the U.S. in the 19th Century. A political philosophy in direct opposition to the classical liberalism nurtured in 19th Century British and American history. In classical liberalism, the State is always subordinate to the individual. In Hegelian Statism, as we see in Naziism and Marxism, the State is supreme, and the individual exists only to serve the State.

Our two-party Republican-Democrat (one Hegelian party, no one else welcome or allowed) system is a reflection of this Hegelianism. A small group - a very small group - by using Hegel, can manipulate, and to some extent, control society for its own purposes.

More than that, reflect on their pirate flag. An emblem found on poison bottles, the symbol of the Nazi Death Head Division in World War Two. Not only did Skull and Bones become a major force in drug smuggling (the Bush and Prescott families in the 1860s), but in true Hegelian fashion, generated the antithesis, the so-called "war on drugs." This hypocritical policy maintains the price of drugs, controls supply, and puts millions in jail while the gainers, in great part, are none other than the same "Bonesmen" who pass the laws to prohibit (Bonesman Taft, 1904).



Right and Left - A Control Device

For Hegelians, the State is almighty, and seen as "the march of God on earth." Indeed, a State religion.

Progress in the Hegelian State is through contrived conflict: the clash of opposites makes for progress. If you can control the opposites, you dominate the nature of the outcome.

We trace the extraordinary Skull and Bones influence in a major Hegelian conflict: Naziism vs. Communism. Skull and Bones members were in the dominant decision-making positions - Bush, Harriman, Stimson, Lovett, and so on - all Bonesmen, and instrumental in guiding the conflict through use of "right" and "left." They financed and encouraged the growths of both philosophies and controlled the outcome to a significant extent. This was aided by the "reductionist" division in science, the opposite of historical "wholeness." By dividing science and learning into narrower and narrower segments, it became easier to control the whole through the parts.

In education, the Dewey system was initiated and promoted by Skull and Bones members. Dewey was an ardent statist, and a believer in the Hegelian idea that the child exists to be trained to serve the State. This requires suppression of individualist tendencies and a careful spoon-feeding of approved knowledge. This "dumbing down" of American education is not easily apparent unless you have studied in both foreign and domestic U.S. universities - then the contrast becomes crystal clear.

This dumbing down is now receiving attention. Two excellent books are The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, and The Dumbing Down of America, by John Taylor Gotta. Both books trace this process to the impact of education, and both give remarkable detail of the process. We go further, in that we trace the import of the system to three Yalies members of Skull & Bones.

For Iserbyt, in The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, the American education system begins with Rockefeller and Gates. But in fact, this statist system is a reflection of the Hegelian ideas brought to the United States by the Skull and Bones "troika" of Gilman, White and Dwight, and then financed by Rockefeller.

People Control

Today in California, one can see in real time the use of controlled conflict to achieve a desired outcome. The debate over the energy crisis is carefully contained to a debate over price caps and price control. Republicans want no caps and no controls. Most Democrats want price controls through caps.

But look at what is NOT discussed anywhere. The entire spectrum of almost free energy, based on a decade of research is carefully kept out of the discussion. Isn't this highly relevant to an energy crisis?

In fact, the existence of free energy systems just down the road is the reason for the controlled debate. Mills Blacklight Power now has its patents and some utilities have already bought in. Bearden's MEG energy from space, is under discussion. Working models exist. The maligned cold fusion has hundreds of successful experiments, but so far as we know, cannot be repeated with sufficient assurance. Other systems have come into the view of government agencies, and then disappear from sight.

A knowing public would ask, Why are these not included in the discussion?" - Simple. Because the utilities know they are for real, and only a few years down the road. The problem for utilities is not the price of energy today, but how to dump their fixed assets (hydro plants, transmission lines, etc.) onto the public. These "valuable" assets will have zero value down the road, because all new systems are stand-alone units which don't need fixed plant and transmission lines. If the public is aware of the dilemma of the utilities, the ability to dump assets onto the State is heavily reduced.

The Republican-Democrat debate over "caps" is a diversion. The relevant question carefully avoided is, how long will it take to get these new systems into production?

Another example is Monsanto Corporation development of genetic engineering and predator seed, a barely-concealed effort for world domination of agriculture.

President George Bush, Jr. , a Bonesman, appoints a Monsanto vice president, Dr. Virginia Weldon, as Director of Food and Drug Administration, which has the power to block labeling of genetically-engineered foods, and pass on other corporate control efforts.

Just before this, in New Technology, we had the 1989 dramatic announcement of "cold fusion." When this announcement was made public, President George Bush (also a Bonesman) called establishment scientist the late physicist Seagrum into his office and gave instructions.

We don't know what was said, but we know what happened. Cold fusion, a valid process for free energy, as was subsequently revealed, was slandered and harassed by the establishment, no doubt fearful of what free energy would do to the oil industry.

What is to be Done?

If the voting public was even vaguely aware of this rampant and concealed scenario, it could, and possibly would force change. However, this is not a likely possibility. Most people are "go-along" types, with limited personal objectives and a high threshold for official misdeeds.

What has taken over a century to establish cannot be changed in a few years. The initial question is education. To eliminate the Hegelian system that stifles individual initiative and trains children to become mindless zombies, serving the State.

We need a lot less propaganda for "education" and a more individual creative search for learning. Instead of more money for education, we need to allocate a lot less. The existing system of education is little more than a conditioning mechanism. It has little to do with education in the true sense, and a lot to do with control of the individual.

It is more likely that time, rather than the voting booth, will erode the secret power of this Yale group, Nothing this outrageous can survive forever.

Antony Sutton

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Memorandum Number One:

Is There A Conspiracy Explanation For Recent History?


The reader anxious to get into the story of The Order should go directly to Memorandum Number Two. This section concerns methods, evidence and proof. Essential, but perhaps boring for most readers.

During the past one hundred years any theory of history or historical evidence that falls outside a pattern established by the American Historical Association and the major foundations with their grant making power has been attacked or rejected - not on the basis of any evidence presented, but on the basis of the acceptability of the argument to the so-called Eastern Liberal Establishment and its official historical line.

The Official Establishment History

There is an Establishment history, an official history, which dominates history textbooks, trade publishing, the media and library shelves. The official line always assumes that events such as wars, revolutions, scandals, assassinations, are more or less random unconnected events.


By definition events can NEVER be the result of a conspiracy, they can never result from premeditated planned group action. An excellent example is the Kennedy assassination when, within 9 hours of the Dallas tragedy, TV networks announced the shooting was NOT a conspiracy, regardless of the fact that a negative proposition can never be proven, and that the investigation had barely begun.

Woe betide any book or author that falls outside the official guidelines. Foundation support is not there. Publishers get cold feet. Distribution is hit and miss, or non-existent.

Just to ensure the official line dominates, in 1946 the Rockefeller Foundation allotted $139,000 for an official history of World War Two. This to avoid a repeat of debunking history books which embarrassed the Establishment after World War One.


The reader will be interested to know that The Order we are about to investigate had great foresight, back in the 1880s, to create both the American Historical Association and the American Economic Association (most economists were then more historians than analysts) under their terms, with their people and their objectives. Andrew Dickson White was a member of The Order and the first President of the American Historical Association.

Failure of Official History

Times have changed.


The weaknesses, inconsistencies and plain untruths in official history have surfaced. In the 1980s it is rare to find a thinking reader who accepts official history. Most believe it has been more or less packaged for mass consumption by naive or greedy historians. Although an historian who will stick out his neck and buck the trend is rare, some who do are victims of an even deeper game.


Conspiracy then is an accepted explanation for many events at the intelligent grass roots level, that level furthest removed from the influence of The Order.


We can cite at random:

  • the Kennedy assassination where the official "lone gunman" theory was never accepted by Americans in the street

  • Watergate, where a "deep throat" informer and erased tapes reek of conspiracy

  • Pearl Harbor, where Rear Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Major General Walter C. Short took the rap for General George C. Marshall and President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The revisionist historian has a double burden as well as a double task. The double burden is that research likely to question the official historical line will not get financed. The double task is that research must be more than usually careful and precise.

A non-official work is not going to be judged on its merits. The work will be judged on the basis of its acceptability to a predetermined historical standard. What this standard is we shall explore later.

Hypotheses and Method

Which brings us to methodology.


In this volume we will present three hypotheses. What is a hypothesis? A hypothesis is a theory, a working theory, a start point, which has to be supported by evidence. We arrived at these three hypotheses by examining certain documents which will also be described. The official history hatchet mongers will scream that our hypotheses are now being presented as proven assertions - and whatever we write here will not stop the screams. But again, these are only hypotheses at this point, they have to be supported with evidence. They are a first step in a logical research process.

Now in scientific methodology a hypothesis can be proven. It cannot be disproven. It is up to the reader to decide whether the evidence presented later supports, or does not support, the hypotheses. Obviously no one author, critic, or reader can decide either way until all the evidence has been presented.

We also intend to use two other principles of scientific research ignored by official establishment historians.

  • Firstly, in science the simplest explanation to a problem is always the most acceptable solution. By contrast, in establishment history, a simple answer is usually criticized as "simplistic." What the critic implies is "The poor writer hasn't used all the facts." In other words, it's a cheap "putdown" without the necessity of providing an alternate answer or additional facts.

  • Secondly, again in science, an answer that fits the most cases, i.e., the most general answer, is also the most acceptable answer. For example, you have 12 events to explain and a theory that fits 11 of these events. That theory is more acceptable than a theory that fits only 4 or 5 of the events.

The Devil Theory of History

Using this methodology we are going to argue and present detailed precise evidence (including names, dates and places) that the only reasonable explanation for recent history in the United States is that there exists a conspiracy to use political power for ends which are inconsistent with the Constitution.

This is known by the official historians as the "devil theory of history," which again is a quick, cheap device for brushing facts under the rug. However, these critics ignore, for example, the Sherman Act, i.e., the anti-trust laws where conspiracy is the basic accepted theory. If there can be a conspiracy in the market place, then why not in the political arena? Are politicians any purer than businessmen? Following the antitrust laws we know that conspiracy can only be proven in a specific manner.


A similar pattern of market actions is not proof of conspiracy. Just because something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and all the ducks act similarly, does not make it a duck - or a conspiracy. Under the Sherman Act a similar pattern of prices, where all prices are the same, is not proof of conspiracy. Similarity of prices can occur in a purely competitive market. Neither is similar political action necessarily a conspiracy.

Proof of conspiracy requires specific types of evidence, i.e.:

(a) there must be secret meetings of the participants and efforts made to conceal joint actions

(b) those meetings must jointly agree to take a course of action
(c) and this action must be illegal

The Council on Foreign Relations

Widely accepted explanations of recent history based on a conspiracy theory do not present evidence that fits the above criteria. For example, the Council on Foreign Relations cannot be claimed as a conspiracy even for the period since its founding in 1921. Membership in the CFR is not a secret. Membership lists are freely available for the cost of a postage stamp. There is no proof that the entire membership conspires to commit illegal acts.

What has to be proven in any conspiracy explanation of history is that the participants have secret groupings, and meet to plan illegal actions.

Members of the CFR, when accused of being involved in a conspiracy, have protested to the contrary. And by and large they are right. Most CFR members are not involved in a conspiracy and have no knowledge of any conspiracy. And some personally known to the author are about the last people on earth to get involved in an illegal conspiracy.

HOWEVER, there is a group WITHIN the Council of Foreign Relations which belongs to a secret society, sworn to secrecy, and which more or less controls the CFR. CFR meetings are used for their own purposes, i.e., to push out ideas, to weigh up people who might be useful, to use meetings as a forum for discussion.

These members are in The Order. Their membership in The Order can be proven. Their meetings can be proven. Their objectives are plainly unconstitutional. And this ORDER has existed for 150 years in the United States.

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Memorandum Number Two:

The Order - What It Is And How It Began

THOSE on the inside know it as The Order. Others have known it for more than 150 years as Chapter 322 of a German secret society. More formally for legal purposes, The Order was incorporated as The Russell Trust in 1856. It was also once known as the "Brotherhood of Death." Those who make light of it, or want to make fun of it, call it "Skull & Bones," or just plain "Bones."

The American chapter of this German order was founded in 1833 at Yale University by General William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft who, in 1876, became Secretary of War in the Grant Administration. Alphonso Taft was the father of William Howard Taft, the only to be both President and Chief Justice of the United States.

What Is The Order?

The Order is not just another campus Greek letter fraternal society with passwords and handgrips, common to most campuses. Chapter 322 is a secret society whose members are sworn to silence. It only exists on the Yale campus (that we know about). It has rules. It has ceremonial rites. It is not at all happy with prying, probing citizens - known among initiates as "outsiders" or "vandals."


Its members always deny membership (or are supposed to deny membership) and in checking hundreds of autobiographical listings for members we found only half a dozen who cited an affiliation with Skull & Bones. The rest were out. An interesting point is whether the many members in various Administrations or who hold government positions have declared their members in the biographical data supplied for FBI "background checks.

Above all, The Order is powerful, unbelievably powerful. If the reader will persist and examine the evidence to be presented - which is overwhelming - there is no doubt his view of the world will suddenly come sharply into focus, with almost frightening clarity.

Before we go further we need to add a couple of important observations about The Order:

It is a Senior year society which exists only at Yale. Members are chosen in their Junior year and spend only one year on campus, the Senior year, with Skull & Bones. In other words, the organization is oriented to the post graduate outside world. The Order meets annually - patriarchs only - on Deer Island in the St. Lawrence River.


Senior societies are unique to Yale. There are two other senior societies at Yale, but none elsewhere. Scroll & Key and Wolf's Head are supposedly competitive societies founded in the mid-19th century. We believe these to be part of the same network. Rosenbaum commented in his Esquire article, very accurately, that anyone in the Eastern Liberal Establishment who is not a member of Skull & Bones is almost certainly a member of either Scroll & Key or Wolf's Head.

What is the significance of the "322" in Chapter 322?


William Russell imported the society from Germany and so it has been argued the 322 stands for '32 (from 1832), the second chapter, of this German organization. Possibly a chapter 320 and a chapter 321 may exist somewhere. And 323 is the designation of a room within the Skull & Bones temple at Yale.

Another interpretation is that The Order is descended from a Greek fraternal society dating back to Demosthenes in 322 B.C. This has perhaps some credibility because Bones records are dated by adding 322 to the current year, i.e., records originating in 1950 are dated Anno-Demostheni 2272.

How A Member Is Chosen By The Order?

The selection procedure for new members of The Order has not changed since 1832. Each year 15, and only 15, never more, never fewer 1, are selected. In the past 150 years about 2500 Yale graduates have been initiated into The Order. At any one time about 500-600 are alive and active. Roughly about one-quarter of these take an active role in furthering the objectives of The Order. The others either lose interest or change their minds. They are silent drop-outs.


1 Readers who want more on the ceremonial and initiation aspects should read the September. 1977 Esquire article by Ron Rosenbaum. ' The Last Secrets of Skull and Bones` Unfortunately, the article completely misses the historical significance of Skull & Bones, although it is an excellent source of lurid details and the mumbo-jumbo rites

A Yale Junior cannot ask to join. There is no electioneering. Juniors are invited to join and are given two options: accept or reject. Apparently some amount of personal information is gathered on potential members.


The following is the kind of evaluation made in the last century; we doubt it has changed too much down to the present time:

  • "Frank Moore is an ideal Bones man, he is a hard worker and a man whose efforts have been more for Yale than himself. He is manager of the Musical clubs and has been active in Dwight Hall. His election will be well deserved and popular."

  • "Don Thompson is a sure man whom the class wishes well for and will be glad to see go. He comes from a Bones family."

In selection emphasis is placed on athletic ability - the ability to play on a team. The most unlikely potential member of The Order is a loner, an iconoclast, an individualist, the man who goes his own way in the world.

The most likely potential member is from a Bones family, who is energetic, resourceful, political and probably an amoral team player. A man who understands that to get along you have to go along. A man who will sacrifice himself for the good of the team.


A moment's reflection illustrates why this is so. In real life the thrust of The Order is to ring about certain objectives. Honors and financial rewards are guaranteed by the power of The Order. But the price of these honors and rewards is sacrifice to the common goal, the goal of The Order. Some, perhaps many, have not been willing to pay this price.

Inside The Order

Entry into The Order is accompanied by an elaborate ritual and no doubt by psychological conditioning.


For example:

"Immediately on entering Bones the neophyte's name is changed. He is no longer known by his name as it appears in the college catalogue but like a monk or Knight of Malta or St. John, becomes Knight so and so. The old Knights are then known as Patriarch so and so. The outside world are known as Gentiles and vandals."

The Catalogue (or membership list - it became "Addresses" sometime in this century) of Chapter 322, however, is made with the usual "outside" names and is unique and impressive. Each member has a copy bound in black leather with peculiar symbols on the outside and inside. The symbols presumably have some meaning.

The owner's name and the single letter "D" is gilt-stamped' on the outer cover of earlier issues, at least up to the mid-19th century. It then appears to have been omitted, at least on copies we have seen: Each right-hand page, printed one side only, about 6 x 4 inches, has the members listed for one year and surrounded by a heavy black border, thick in the early years, not so thick in recent decades. This symbolizes the death of the person named as he adopts his new name and new life upon entering The Order.

Most interesting is an entry between the decade lists of members. On the 1833 list, before the 15 founders' names, are the words "Period 2 Decade 3." Similarly, before names on the 1843 list are the words "Period 2 Decade 4." In brief, "Period" stays the same throughout the years, but the "Decade" number increases by one in each ten years. No doubt this means something to The Order, else it wouldn't be there. Another mystical group of letters and numbers is at the top of the first list of names in 1833, "P.231-D.31." The numbers increase by one in each succeeding class. In 1834, for example, the entry reads "P.232-D 32."

Furthermore, the first class list of 1833 has two blank lines in place of the eleventh name on the list. This supports the argument that the society has German origins and this is the listing of the anonymous German connection.

The Members of 1833

We estimate that at any one time only about one-quarter of the membership is active. Even the active quarter is not always effective or successful. It's instructive to compare 1833 with 1983 and how, over the century and a half span, a group of 20-30 families has emerged to dominate The Order.

The very first name on the very first membership list, Samuel Henshaw Bates, was a private in the Union Army, went west to farm in Santa Rosa, California, at that time very much in the boondocks, and died in 1879. A life not different to millions of other Americans.

In fact, out of the first 15 members (actually 14 plus the anonymous member), achievements were not much greater than we would expect from the cream of a Yale "class". Rufus Hart spent several years in the Ohio Senate, Asahel Hooker Lewis was in the Ohio Legislature for a couple of years, Samuel Marshall was an Illinois State Legislator for a while, and Frederick Mather was in the New York Legislature. Other members, apart from the two founders of The Order, did nothing much with their lives or for The Order.

By contrast, the two founding members, William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft, went far. William Russell was a member of the Connecticut State Legislature in 1846-47, a General in the Connecticut National Guard from 1862-70, and founded the Collegiate and Commercial Institute in New Haven, Connecticut. Alphonso Taft went further: he was Secretary of War in 1876 - the first of several members of The Order to hold this post down into the 1950s. Taft became U.S. Attorney General in 1876-7, then U.S. Minister to Austria in 1882-4, and finally U.S. Ambassador to Russia in 1884-5.

During the 150-year interval since 1833, active membership has evolved into a core group of perhaps 20 30 families; it seems that active members have enough influence to push their sons and relatives into The Order, and there is significant inter-marriage among the families. These families fall into two major groups.

  • First we find old line American families who arrived on the East coast in the 1600s, e.g., Whitney, Lord, Phelps, Wadsworth, Allen, Bundy, Adams and so on.

  • Second, we find families who acquired wealth in the last 100 years, sent their sons to Yale and in time became almost old line families, e.g., Harriman, Rockefeller, Payne, Davison.

  • Some families, like the Whitneys, were Connecticut Yankees and acquired wealth in the nineteenth century.

In the last 150 years a few families in The Order have gained enormous influence in society and the world.

One example is the Lord family. Two branches of this family date from the 1630s. Those descended from Nathan Lord and those from Thomas Lord. Other Lords arrived in the U.S. over the years but do not enter our discussion. Of these two main branches, only the Thomas Lord group appears to have contributed members to The Order.


Their ancestry traces to Thomas Lord, who left Essex, England in 1635 in a company led by Rev. Thomas Hooker, and settled in what is now Hartford, Connecticut. In fact, part of Hartford is still known as Lord's Hill. The line of descent for this Lord family is full of DeForest and Lockwood names because intermarriage is more than common among these elite families.

The first Lord to be initiated into The Order was George DeForest Lord (1854), a New York lawyer. Together with his father, Daniel Lord (another Yale graduate), George DeForest Lord established the New York law firm of Lord, Day and Lord. Among its present day clients are The New York Times and the Rubin Foundation. The Rubin Foundation is one of the financial angels for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

In the next hundred years five more Lords were initiated into The Order:

  1. Franklin Atkins Lord          ('98)

  2. William Galey Lord            ('22)

  3. Oswald Bates Lord            ('26)

  4. Charles Edwin Lord, II        ('49)

  5. Winston Lord                    ('59)

When we ask the question, what have these members achieved? And what are they doing today? a dramatic picture emerges... as demonstrated in the chart...


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Memorandum Number Three:

How Much Is Known About The Order?

The openly published literature on The Order amounts to merely two articles over a span of one hundred years:

  1. The Iconoclast (Volume One, Number One only) published October 13, 1873

  2. An already cited article in Esquire by Ron Rosenbaum, published in 1977

This book and its successors are based on unpublished archival material originating with The Order.

The Iconoclast (October 1873)

Back in October 1873 an enterprising Yale student, stung to action because The Order had taken over Yale finances and left the University near poverty, took it upon himself to publish an expose. Unfortunately, some of the anonymous student's acutest observations were buried in not-so-good verse. We will reprint some of the verse below as in the original Iconoclast because it's impossible to summarize.

The Yale college newspapers, Courant and Record, had a blackout policy on The Order. As Iconoclast puts it,

"We speak through a new publication, because the college press is closed to those who dare to openly mention 'Bones'."

The College Press was controlled by The Order. From time to time Yale newspapers were run by Editors in The Order. For example, one noteworthy editor of the Yale Record also in The Order was Thomas Cochran ('94), who went on to make a career as an influential partner in the influential banking firm of J.P. Morgan.

Three paragraphs in this anonymous publication summarize the Iconoclast accusation.

First, there is a Yale secret society open only to a select few:

"For more than forty years a secret society called Skull and Bones has existed in Yale College. It receives a certain number of men from each class. These are chosen nominally by the members of the class..., although it is understood that a prominent man's influence avails for his friends and relatives through several years after his graduation.


By observing the men elected from year to year, we find that they are chosen with a distinct end in view, namely, that of obtaining for the society the most honors. Some of these honors are given to literary, some to wealthy men. This, then, is the case. Men receive marks of distinction from Yale College or from their entire class, because of which they are taken into this secret society. Since Yale honors men, this fraternity professes to honor them also."

Secondly, the Iconoclast states that The Order has obtained control of Yale, and its members care more for their society than for Yale:

"Out of every class Skull and Bones takes its men. They have gone out into the world and have become, in many instances, leaders in society. They have obtained control of Yale. Its business is performed by them. Money paid to the college must pass into their hands, and be subject to their will.


No doubt they are worthy men in themselves, but the many whom they looked down upon while in college, cannot so far forget as to give money freely into their hands. Men in Wall Street complain that the college comes straight to them for help, instead of asking each graduate for his share. The reason is found in a remark made by one of Yale's and America's first men: Few will give but Bones men, and they care far more for their society than they do for the college.' "

Finally, the Iconoclast calls The Order a "deadly evil" growing year by year:

"Year by year the deadly evil is growing. The society was never as obnoxious to the college as it is today, and it is just this ill-feeling that shuts the pockets of non-members. Never before has it shown such arrogance and self-fancied superiority. It grasps the College Press and endeavors to rule it all. It does not deign to show its credentials, but clutches at power with the silence of conscious guilt.

To tell the good which Yale College has done would be well nigh impossible. To tell the good she might do would be yet more difficult. The question, then, is reduced to this - on the one hand lies a source of in calculable good, -on the other a society guilty of serious and far-reaching crimes. It is Yale College against Skull and Bones!! We ask all men, as a question of right, which should be allowed to live?"

The power of The Order is put to use on behalf of its members even before they leave Yale. Here's a case from the late 19th century which predates the cases we will present later and suggests how long immoral use of power has prevailed within The Order:

"The Favoritism Shown To Bones Men"

"Are not we coming to a sad state when open injustice can be done by the Faculty, and when the fact that a man is a member of Skull and Bones can prejudice them in his favor? Briefly, the case which calls forth this question is this: Two members of the Senior class, the one being a neutral, the other a Bones man, returned at the beginning of the college year laden with several conditions, some of which, upon examination, they failed to pass.


Up to this point the cases were parallel, and the leniency, if there was to be leniency, should have been shown to the neutral, who has done all that lay in his power to further the interests of the college, rather than to the Bones man, who has, during his three years at Yale, accomplished nothing that we won of. But, strange to say, the former has been suspended until the end of the term and obliged to leave town, not being permitted to pass another examination until he returns.


The Bones man, on the contrary, is allowed to remain in New Haven, attends recitation daily, is called upon to recite, and will have a second examination in less than six weeks. Why is this distinction made? 'O, Mr. So-and-so's is a special case,' said a professor (a Bones man), - the specialty, we presume, being the fact that Mr. So-and-so wears a death's head and cross bones upon his bosom.


We understand that Mr. So-and-so claims to have been ill during vacation and offers the illness as an excuse for not passing the examination; but the neutral gentleman was also ill, as the Faculty were expressly informed in a letter from his father."

"The circumstance has caused a very lively indignation throughout the Senior class. It is certainly time for a radical reform when the gentlemen who superintend our destinies, and who should be just if nothing else, can allow themselves to be influenced by so petty a thing as society connections."

Esquire (September 1977)

Only one article is known to have been published within the last 100 years on The Order. Unfortunately, it is a superficial, almost mocking, review and provides some enlightenment but little contribution to historical knowledge. The article is the "Last Secrets of Skull and Bones" by Ron Rosenbaum (Esquire, September 1977).

Rosenbaum is a Yale graduate attracted by the fictional possibilities of a secret society out to control the world; he is apparently not aware of the political implications. The contribution is a blend of known authentic documents and outright hearsay. On the other hand, Rosenbaum does make some notable observations.


Among these are:

"... the people who have shaped America's national character since it ceased being an undergraduate power had their undergraduate character shaped in that crypt over there" (i.e., the "temple" on the Yale campus).

Another comment: when a new member is initiated into The Order,

"tonight he will die to the world and be born again into The Order as he will thenceforth refer to it. The Order is a world unto itself in which he will have a new name and fourteen new blood brothers, also with new names."

And when Rosenbaum starts to inquire about The Order, he is told:

"They don't like people tampering and prying. The power of Bones is incredible. They've got their hands on every lever of power in the country. You'll see - it's like trying to look into the Mafia. Remember they're a secret society too."

The Esquire piece is well worth reading, it gives a side of The Order that doesn't concern us too much.

The "Addresses" Books

As The Order is a secret society it does not publish minutes or journals. As Rosenbaum suggests, "they don't like people tampering and prying."

This author does, however, possess copies of the "Addresses" books, which used to be called "Catalogues." These are the membership lists all the way back to 1832, the founding date in the United States. How did this material make its way into outside hands? It is possible that one or more members, although bound by oath, would not be dismayed if the story became public knowledge. That's all we will say.

Other material exists, Skull & Bones is always a lively topic for Yale conversation. Some time back a few practical minded students made their own investigation; they did a break-in job, a "Yalegate." A small hoard of Bones momentos, a layout diagram and considerable embarrassment resulted.

The core of the research for this book is the "Addresses" books. With these we can reconstruct a picture of motives, objectives and operations. The actions of individual members are already recorded in open history and archives.

By determining when members enter a scene, what they did, what they argued, who they appointed and when they faded out, we can assemble patterns and deduce objectives.

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Memorandum Number Four:

Who Is In This Secret Society?

The membership list of about 2500 initiates into The Order has very obvious features:

  • Most members are from the Eastern seaboard United States. As late as 1950 only three members resided in Los Angeles, California, but 28 members resided in New Haven, Connecticut.

  • Members are all males and almost all WASPS (White Anglo Saxon Protestant). In great part they descended from English Puritan families, their ancestors arrived in North America in the 1630-1660 period.

  • These Puritan families either intermarried with financial power or invited in sons of money moguls, e.g., Rockefellers, Davisons, and Harrimans, whose sons became members of The Order.

From this preliminary information we can derive Hypothesis One:


The chart on page 19 below, presents a simplified layout of this hypothesis. Full information remains for a later book - for now we'll give details of just two key families, the Whitneys and the Harrimans.

The Whitney Family

A key family is the Whitneys, descended from English Puritans who came to the U.S. about 1635 and settled in Watertown, Mass. Eight Whitneys have been members of The Order. Of these, three had brief lives; Emerson Cogswell Whitney died a few months after initiation and Edward Payson Whitney "disappeared in 1858" according to his biographer.


However, three Whitneys, William Collins Whitney and his two sons, are the core of Whitney influence in The Order which survives today through the Harriman family and intermarriage with Paynes and Vanderbilts.

Whitneys In The Order:

William Collins Whitney (1841-1904) is a fine example of how members of The Order rise to fame and fortune. W.C. Whitney was initiated in 1863 and by 1872 had only advanced his career to Inspector of Schools for New York.


However, in the last three decades of the century, he rolled up a massive fortune, became a power behind the throne in the Cleveland Administration, and directed the often unscrupulous activities of a cluster of capitalists known as "the Whitney Group". A brief quotation suggests the power that Whitney amassed in a brief 30 years.


This is a list of Whitney estates at the turn of the century:

"... a city residence in New York, a Venetian palace and 5,000 acres in Wheatley Hills, near Jamaica, L.I.; a Sheepshead Bay house, with a private track covering 300 acres; a mansion at Berkshire Hills, Mass., with 700 acres of land; October Mountain house, with a large tract of land; Stony Ford Farm, New York, used as an auxiliary to his Kentucky Stock Farm; an Adirondack game preserve of 16,000 acres; a lodge at Blue Mountain Lake with a fine golf course, a Blue Grass farm of 3,000 acres in Kentucky; and an estate at Aiken, S.C., comprising a mansion, race course, and 2,000 acres of hunting land."

William C. Whitney married Flora Payne, daughter of Standard Oil Treasurer Oliver Payne. The Paynes are not in The Order, but adding the Payne piece of the Standard Oil fortune made Whitney's fortune that much larger. Their two sons, Harry Payne ('94) and Payne Whitney ('98), went to Yale and became members of The Order.


After Yale Harry Payne promptly married Gertrude Vanderbilt in 1896 and so the Whitney-Payne fortune now joined some Vanderbilt money. This financial power was channeled into Guaranty Trust, the J.P. Morgan and Guggenheim outfits.

And it gets more complicated. For example, the son of Harry Payne Whitney, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, married Marie Norton. After their divorce, Marie Norton Whitney married W. Averell Harriman (his first wife) who is today at 91 a key member. It is these tightly woven family and financial interlocks that make up the core of The Order.

So let's take a look at the Harriman family.

The Harriman Family

In the first few days of June 1983 a prominent American, a private citizen, flew to Moscow for a confidential chat with Yuri Andropov. A State Department interpreter went along.

This American was not the President, nor the Vice-President, nor the Secretary of State, nor any member of the Reagan Administration. It was a private individual - W. Averell Harriman. The first time any American had talked with Yuri Andropov since the death of his predecessor, Brezhnev. So who is W. Averell Harriman?

The elder Harriman, a prominent and not too scrupulous railroad magnate, sent both his sons to Yale. William Averell Harriman ('13) and Edward Roland Noel Harriman ('17) joined The Order.


A good example of how old line families in The Order absorbed new wealth families, although as history has unfolded it may be that Harriman and his fellow investment bankers have dominated the direction of The Order in the past few decades.

Brown Brothers Harriman, advertisement from Wall Street Journal listing partners.

In the 1930s W.A. Harriman & Company merged with Brown Brothers. This was an older financial house whose partners were also members of The Order. Alexander Brown was founded 1800 in New York and Philadelphia.

By the 1970s the relatively unknown private international banking firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman, with assets of about one-half billion dollars, had taken in so many of "the Brotherhood" that out of 26 individual partners, no fewer than 9 were members of The Order. We don't know of any greater concentration of members.

And to make it more interesting, Prescott Bush, father of President George H. W. Bush (both in The Order), was a partner in Brown Brothers, Harriman for over 40 years.

Finally, because Brown Brothers, Harriman is a private banking firm it has relatively no government supervision and does not publish an annual report. In other words, we know NOTHING about its operations -at least we know nothing from Brown Brothers, Harriman sources.

Here's a line-up of Brown Brothers, Harriman partners who were also members of The Order in the mid 1970s:

Name of Partner                               Date Initiated

  1. Walter H. Brown                                     1945

  2. Prescott Sheldon Bush                           1917

  3. Granger Kent Costikyan                          1929

  4. Edward Roland Noel Harriman                 1917

  5. W. Averell Harriman                                1913

  6. Stephen Young Hord                               1921

  7. Robert Abercrombie Lovett                      1918

  8. John Beckwith Madden                           1941

  9. Knight Woolley                                       1917

It's worth thinking about this concentration of names and the power it represents in the light of outside comments on The Order over the years.

After the title page of this volume we reprint the verse of an anonymous Yale student of the 1870s. He commented on the requirement to put The Order ahead of all else.

The Editor of The Iconoclast (also in the 1870s) wrote:

And on their breasts they wear a sign

That tells their race and name

It is the ghastly badge of death

And from his kingdom came

The son of Satan, son of sin

The enemy of man.

Another writer in the 1870s called The Order the "Brotherhood of Death":

Outside already, in the doubtful dawn,
Thither, from this side and from that, slow sweep,

And settle down in silence solidly,
Crow-wise, the frightful Brotherhood of Death.

Black-hatted and black-hooded huddle they,

With black cravats a-dangling from each neck;

So take they their grim station at the door,

Torches lit, skull-and-cross-bones-banner spread.

Ron Rosenbaum in his 1977 Esquire article a century later, was no less caustic. Rosenbaum called it a Mafia.

From evidence to be presented later this author would term The Order "an international Mafia" ... unregulated and all but unknown. To the outside world, however, it's merely Brown Brothers, Harriman, 59 Wall Street, New York. But obviously Yuri Andropov over in Moscow knows who holds the cards.

The British Connection

Some well read readers may raise a question - how does The Order and its families relate to Cecil Rhodes secret society, Milners Round Table, the Illuminati and the Jewish secret society equivalents? How do these fit into the picture?

We are concerned here only with the core of a purely American phenomenon with German origin. It is undoubtedly linked to overseas groups. The links between The Order and Britain go through Lazard Freres and the private merchant bankers. Notably the British establishment was also founded at a University - Oxford University, and especially All Souls College at Oxford. The British element is called "The Group."

The Group links to the Jewish equivalent through the Rothschilds in Britain (Lord Rothschild was an original member of Rhodes "inner circle"). The Order in the U.S. links to the Guggenheim, Schiff and Warburg families. There were no Jews at all in The Order until very recently. In fact, The Order has, as Rosenbaum suggests, some definite anti-semitic tendencies. Token Jews (and token blacks) have been admitted in recent years.

There is an Illuminati connection. Some details are in the Esquire article, more details will be in our future volumes.

All these groups have cooperative and competitive features. But to argue that all the world's ills can be ascribed to any one of these groups is false. The core of The Order, like the core of "The Group" in England, comprises about 20 families. In the U.S. case they are mostly descendents from the original settlers in Massachusetts.


New wealth did not enter The Order until the mid-19th century and until recently, has never dominated The Order. On the other hand, key families, the Whitneys and the Harrimans, are linked to their own banking interests. In many ways these old line Yankee families have outsmarted the bankers.


The Puritans diverted bankers' wealth to their own objectives without always absorbing the banker families. The Order controls the substantial wealth of Andrew Carnegie, but no Carnegie has ever been a member of The Order. The Order used the Ford wealth so flagrantly against the wishes of the Ford family that two Fords resigned from the board of the Ford Foundation. No Ford has been a member of The Order.


The name Morgan has never appeared on the membership lists, although some Morgan partners are with the inner core, for example, Davison and Perkins. Interestingly, the Astor name is prominent in "The Group" in England, but not in The Order in the U.S.


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