Harris A. Houghton

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Harris Ayres Houghton (February 25, 1874 - September 2, 1946)[1] was a physician and member of the United States military intelligence community during and shortly after World War I. His fame, or rather infamy, is due to the anonymous translation and publication from the Russian language into the English language, of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the United States in 1920. The lead title he's responsible for producing is "Praemonitus Praemunitus."[2]

Praemonitus Praemunitus, New York: The Beckwith Company, 1920; Title page


Harris was the son of Oscar Allen Houghton (May 15, 1841 - Sept. 22, 1908) and Oscar's first wife Susan Harris Ayres (July 7, 1843 - Dec. 9, 1900). Oscar was a minister who belonged to the Central New York Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1901 Harris graduated from the Syracuse University School of Medicine. He thereafter pursued advanced study in Berlin. On Oct. 26, 1902, Harris married Virginia Boyd Dudley (Dec. 8, 1876 - April 8, 1946)[3] of Bramwell, Mercer County, West Virginia. In 1911 he received his commission as first lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corps, achieving the position of Post Surgeon at Fort Totten, New York, and a few month later was appointed Post Intelligence Office at this installation. And in December 1917 he was transferred and assigned to his position on Governor's Island.[2]

On or about February 1, 1918, his personal assistant, Miss Natalie de Bogory, brought him an exceedingly rare book, a 1917 edition of Serge Nilus's book on the anti-Christ which incorporated into itself as an ending chapter the notorious plagiarism, literary forgery, and hoax subsequently known briefly as the infamous Protocols of Zion. This rare edition had allegedly been brought to the United States by an unidentified Russian army officer who obtained it in Petrograd, Russia.[2]

At the time of obtaining the text from Miss de Bogory, Dr. Houghton was a military intelligence officer of the United States Department of War attached to the Eastern Department offices located on Governor's Island in the City of New York.[2]

Noted bibliographer of Judaica, Robert Singerman, describes Houghton as a "zealous counter-subversive, obsessed by the [alleged] Jewish threat to America's war effort ...". Singerman further informs us that this obsessiveness led Houghton to engage Miss de Bogory, as his personal assistant, for 9 months, and he paid for her time and work out of his own personal funds. Essentially, he retained her, and another former Russian military officer, former General G. J. Sosnowsky, to translate the Protocols of Zion into English.[2] The translation, entitled "Praemonitus Praemunitus", was published in 1920 by the New York-based Beckwith Company; the anonymous editor, disguised under the pseudonym "Peter Beckwith," was Houghton himself.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Holmes, F. R., Who's Who in New York, 8th ed., 1924
  2. ^ a b c d e f Robert Singerman, "The American Career of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion", American Jewish History', Vol. 71 (1981), pp. 48–78
  3. ^ http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=35770&Type=Death (Certificate of Death #4554 for Virginia Dudley Houghton)