Witnesses and Other Parties to the Secret Court of 1920

Donald Clark was a 24-year-old graduate of Wesleyan University, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Harvard, and a Ph.D. candidate there. Fluent in Italian, German and French, he served during World War I as a special agent in the U.S. Department of Justice. He received a master's degree in Philosophy from Harvard in 1918 and was in the third year of his Ph.D. program when the Court summoned him for an interview after a student claimed to have been propositioned by Clark. As a mark of the Court's profound concern about Clark's status as an instructor, Harvard President Lowell attended his interrogation. Clark confessed to having homosexual sex on a number of occasions. The Court told him he would have to withdraw from the Ph.D. program and would not be reappointed to his teaching position. He was expected to finish grading examinations. Later President Lowell crossed Clark's name off all school records. Clark taught for a while at Mills College and at the David Mannes School of Music, published a book of poetry and translations from Italian and German. He worked as a librarian at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver until his death from tuberculosis at age forty-seven in 1943.

Ned Courtney had no relationship with Harvard. He worked as a waiter at the Café Dreyfus and probably had sex with several Harvard students. Nevertheless he responded to the Court's summons and submitted to its questioning. The Court's notes indicate that Harvard would do what it could to terminate his employment.

Eugene R. Cummings was a 23-year-old student just three weeks from completing a program in dentistry. He was an active homosexual and thoroughly embedded in the group of students the Court was targeting. Soon after he faced the Court's questioning, he became ill and checked himself into Harvard's Stillman Infirmary. A few days later, on June 11, before being notified that he was expelled, he used his medical knowledge to commit suicide using drugs available there. His death provoked the only press coverage of the Court's work.

Kenneth Day was a popular student athlete and the roommate of Cyril Wilcox, whose suicide triggered the creation of the Court. He admitted to sexual relations with men and was expelled. Though told he might be considered for readmission, his repeated requests were denied. He married in April 1926 and moved to New York, where he worked as a head bank teller. He had two daughters, was widowed late in life, and married twice more.

Harry Dreyfus was born Henry Arthur Dreyfus on January 24, 1891. He was 8 years older than Cyril Wilcox, the Harvard student with whom he had an affair. He worked at the Café Dreyfus, which was known in certain circles as a gathering place for homosexuals, in the hotel his father owned in Boston. Though in no way connected to Harvard, he submitted to the Court's interrogation. The Court terminated its interview notes with the words "No action possible." He moved to Providence in the late 1920s, where he lived as a bachelor. He died in September 1978 in Miami.

Stanley Gilkey, a sophomore from New Hampshire and the son of a Congregational minister, was probably an active homosexual, but he successfully lied to the Court about his associates and judgments. The Court expelled him for associating too closely with Roberts, for demonstrating an interest in the subject of homosexuality, and for claiming the ability to recognize homosexuals. He admitted reading works by Havelock Ellis, but explained that his interest in homosexuality was just part of his more general interest in criminology. Though expelled, the Court had no evidence he had participated in homosexual activity. His request to be readmitted was granted in 1921 and he graduated in 1923. He lived in Paris for two years, then returned to the U.S., where he produced ten Broadway shows over 20 years. He died in Pacifica, California in 1979.

Windsor Hosmer was born in upstate New York in 1894. After two years at Harvard, he interrupted his studies to serve in the Ambulance Corps with the French army in World War I and then returned to graduate in 1919. During the Court's investigations he was a graduate student in business and the proctor of Perkins Hall. He earned his Harvard MBA in 1921. He then taught briefly at Harvard Business School before moving to Hobart College. He returned to Harvard in 1931 and became a full professor in 1937. He published several accounting texts and served as an adviser on accounting to the United States Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s. He set up and helped manage two small businesses and tried to establish a formal program in small business management at Harvard Business School. With two colleagues he published Small Business Management in 1966. He retired from teaching in 1963.

Joseph Lumbard was a 19-year-old student who, in the Court's judgment, was "too closely connected" with others who had committed homosexual acts, including his roommate, Edward Say, who was "deeply involved." Lumbard had come to terms with Say's odd behavior and showed him a measure of sympathy. For not segregating himself from his roommate's friends and for showing too much curiosity he was expelled. Not having committed a homosexual act, Lumbard gained readmission in 1921 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1925. Harvard twice provided explanations for Lumbard's expulsion, once in 1931 when he was being considered for employment by the U.S. Attorney's office and again in 1953 when President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower was considering him for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals. In the second case, at least, Harvard's Registrar reported that he gave the FBI "the facts in the case clearing Lumbard of any question," saying that Lumbard had been expelled "solely because of association with the homosexual group spacially." Lumbard married in 1929. Better known as J. Edward Lumbard, he had a long and distinguished legal career in private practice and in government and died in 1999.

Ernest Weeks Roberts made his rooms the center of the homosexual social scene. His letter to Cyril Wilcox, arriving after the latter's suicide, made his sexual position clear. He was the son of retired U.S. Representative Ernest William Roberts and had served during World War I in the Harvard unit of the Students' Army Training Corps (SATC). Despite his poor academic performance, he hoped to enter Harvard Medical School. The Court expelled him. He married less than a year later, saw the birth of Ernest Jr. at the end of 1921, and enjoyed a successful career as an interior decorator.

Harold Winfield Saxton was a 25-year-old Harvard graduate working as a tutor to Harvard students. The Court had the incriminating letter he wrote to Cyril Wilcox and he contradicted himself when giving testimony. The Court banished him from the university and thereafter he had difficulty finding employment when Harvard refused to recommend him. After teaching at a variety of schools around the country, as well as in England, Saxton eventually returned home to Chelsea, Massachusetts, where he remained at his parents' home until at least 1942. Nothing further is known of his life.

Edward Say was 20 years old and had a rather delicate constitution after spending years recovering from a spinal deformity. He insisted he had never engaged in any homosexual activity, though other witnesses before the Court claimed that he had. After the Court expelled him, he returned to Connecticut and worked as a securities salesman. He was active in his church and remained unmarried when he was killed in the crash of a car in which he was a passenger on July 13, 1930.

Keith Smerage was a junior and a member of the Dramatic Club. To the Court he confessed to a variety of homosexual contacts before realizing that the Court would not respond to honesty with leniency. In a confrontational conclusion, he told the Court he could add 50 additional names to the few he had already furnished, but would not. He later claimed the Court had tricked him into confessing by lying about the evidence against him. After being expelled, Smerage became assistant manager of his mother's inn in Topsfield, Massachusetts. He had some jobs in regional theater productions, using "Richard Keith" as his stage name, once playing the lead in Tangerine. He was out of work when he completed suicide by inhaling household gas in his Greenwich Village apartment on September 8, 1930.

Nathaniel Wollf was a 25-year-old from Buffalo, New York, just days away from graduating, when he volunteered to Dean Greenough that he had information about the suicide of Cyril Wilcox and was quickly swept up in the Court's investigation. When interviewed he described several homosexual experiences but asserted he had made a clean break. The Court expelled him and refused his requests for re-admittance though it had initially offered hope that he might return. Wollf's application for admittance to McGill University was also denied because of Harvard's report of the reason for his expulsion. Wollf earned a medical degree at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City. After studying psychiatry for three more years, he spent ten years pursuing painting and academic interests. He traveled widely and briefly converted to Islam. He opened a nightclub in Barcelona in 1935. During World War II, he returned to the United States and he served as a psychiatrist for returning soldiers. He then practiced medicine in Mexico. He never married and died in London in 1959.