Henry Collins (official)

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Henry Hill Collins Jr. (1905–1961), AKA Henry H. Collins, Jr., and Henry Collins, was an American citizen employed in the New Deal National Recovery Administration in the 1930s and later the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. He was a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and the Washington D.C. based Ware group, along with Alger Hiss, Lee Pressman, Harry Dexter White and others. He was also a "pioneer in the compiling of ornithological field guides."[1][2][3][4][5]

Background[edit]

Collins was a lifelong friend of Alger Hiss (here, testifying in 1950)

Collins was born in 1905 in Philadelphia, a "scion of a Philadelphia manufacturing family" in paper products. "My ancestors came from England to this country in 1640." He received a BA from Princeton University and a business degree from Harvard University.[1][2][4][5]

Collins was also a childhood friend of Alger Hiss in Baltimore. He graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Business School.[3][6]

Chambers also describes Collins as "my personal friend."[1]

Government career[edit]

Initially, Collins worked in the family paper business. He left during the Great Depression for work in the federal government during the New Deal.[5]

In 1933, Collins worked in the National Recovery Administration. He also worked at the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and the US Department of Labor.[2][3][7] He also worked for the Soil Conservation Service, the U.S. Department of Labor, and a House committee on migration.[3] In 1941, he joined the U.S. Small Business Committee, then a Military Affair subcommittee.[3]

During World War II, Collins served as a captain in the Army, fought at the Battle of the Bulge, and won three ribbons and "five European campaign stars." Immediately after the war, he worked for six months as a district official for displaced persons in Germany as part of the States Department's division of occupied territories. Collins remained in government service until 1947.[4][3][5]

In 1948, he was serving as executive director of the American Russian Institute in New York and living at 58 Park Avenue, New York (as testified before HUAC in 1948).[2][3][7][8][9][10]

Alleged espionage activities[edit]

Collins was the Ware group's treasurer and collected communist party dues from its members. He also acted as a talent spotter and recruiter for Soviet intelligence. "Worthington Wiggins" is the pseudonym of a State Department employee Collins recruited. J. Peters, head of the CPUSA's secret apparatus recognized that Collins, Hiss and Pressman had the potential for advancement within the United States government.[1][2][11]

Collins was a "recruiting agent."[3]

In 1936 a decision was made to separate Collins from the larger Ware group, and Whittaker Chambers became Collins's contact with Peters. Former State Department official Laurence Duggan, shortly before his suicide, told the FBI that Collins had attempted to recruit him for Soviet espionage, with Duggan stating that "he wanted (me) to assist in furnishing information ... to the Soviets."[1][2][7]

Collins was also credited with recruiting Bela Gold into his CPUSA cell, a cell whose members included Edward Fitzgerald, who became a leading figure of the Perlo group.[7]

In August 1948, as the Hiss Case began, he appeared under subpoena before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and would answer no questions of substance.[4][3]

In 1950, Ware lived at the San Cristobal Valley Ranch near Los Alamos, New Mexico, and its atomic proving grounds. During testimony in 1953, Collins declared, "The ranch was a perfectly legitimate business operation."[3]

In 1952, Nathaniel Weyl confirmed under oath that Collins had been a member of the Ware Group founded by Harold Ware and inherited by Whittaker Chambers.[3]

Subpoenaed again in 1953, he declared, "I will not be a finger man for this committee."[3]

Personal and death[edit]

Collins married Susan B. Anthony, great-niece of Susan B. Anthony.[2] He married Mary Evans Collins with whom he had two sons and one daughter.[5]

Collins once spotted a prothonotary warbler for Alger Hiss.[5]

Collins died age 57 on May 25, 1961, at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx after a car crash two days earlier.[2][5]

Works[edit]

In addition to books on American and Soviet government, Collins may have authored some dozen books on birds.[12]

  • America's Own Refugees; Our 4,000,000 Homeless Migrants (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941)[13]
  • The Constitutions of the 16 Constituent or Union Republics of the USSR: A Comparative Analysis (1950)[14]
  • Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds (edited) (1960)
  • Bird Watchers' Guide (1961)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness. New York: Random House. pp. 31 (friend), 334, 340–341, 345, 347, 379, 419, 433, 510, 543, 553, 583, 619–622, 624, 684–686. LCCN 52005149.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Henry Hill Collins". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Marder, Murrey (11 April 1953). "Jenner Unit Hears From '48 Witness: Henry H. Collins, Jr. Denies He Is a Red". Washington Post. p. 1.
  4. ^ a b c d "Mr. Collin's Testimony". Washington Post. 18 August 1948. p. 10.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Henry H. Collins Jr. Dies at 57; Author and Conservationalist". New York Times. 27 May 1961. p. 23.
  6. ^ "Alexander Vassiliev's Notes on Anatoly Gorsky's December 1948 Memo on Compromised American Sources and Networks". Michigan State University. 14 Mar 2005.
  7. ^ a b c d Haynes, Jr., John Earl; Klehr, Harvey E.; Vassiliev, Alexander (2009). Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America,. Yale University Press. pp. 14, 29, 244, 268 (Bela Gold and Henry Collins), 556. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  8. ^ Collins, Jr., Henry H. "Circular letter from American Russian Institute to W. E. B. Du Bois". Digital Commonwealth: Massachusetts Collections Online. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  9. ^ Collins, Jr., Henry H. "Circular letter from American Russian Institute to W. E. B. Du Bois, June 16, 1948". Digital Commonwealth: Massachusetts Collections Online. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  10. ^ "United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities". US GPO. 1948. p. 802. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  11. ^ Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason, Christina Shelton. Simon and Schuster. Apr 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "Collins, Henry Hill, 1905-1961". Library of Congress. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  13. ^ Collins, Jr., Henry Hill (1941). America's Own Refugees; Our 4,000,000 Homeless Migrants. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  14. ^ Collins, Jr., Henry Hill (1941). The Constitutions of the 16 Constituent or Union Republics of the USSR: A Comparative Analysis. New York: American Russian Institute in New York. Retrieved 11 June 2017.

External links[edit]

  • Chambers, Whittaker (1952). Witness. New York: Random House. pp. 31, 334, 340–341, 345, 347, 379, 419, 433, 510, 543, 553, 583, 619–622, 624, 684–686. LCCN 52005149.
  • Chambers, Whittaker, testimony before HUAC 3 August 1948
  • Haynes, John Earl, and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, Yale University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-300-08462-5
  • Haynes, Jr., John Earl; Klehr, Harvey E.; Vassiliev, Alexander (2009). Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America,. Yale University Press. pp. 14, 29, 244, 268 (Bela Gold and Henry Collins), 556. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  • Weinstein, Allen, and Alexander Vassiliev, The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America - The Stalin Era (New York: Random House, 1999)
  • Vassiliev, Alexander, "A.Gorsky's Report to Savchenko S.R., 23 December 1949", "Failures List".