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William Morton Fullerton
(Septemeber 18, 1865 - August 26, 1952) U.S.A.

William Morton Fullerton



Fullerton was born in Norwich, Connecticut, the son of Bradford Morton Fullerton, a divinity student, and Julia Ball Fullerton. "Will" or "Morton" attended the village school and, briefly, Phillips Academy in Andover. Handsome, bright, and even as a child strangely magnetic, he was idolized by his parents, his younger brother, and his half-cousin Katharine, who was taken into the family as a baby when he was 14 and whom he taught to read and inspired to write. When he entered Harvard in the class of 1886, the family moved to a parish in Waltham, near Cambridge, so that he could commute.

In 1885, with other classmates, Fullerton started Harvard Magazine. Fullerton received prizes, and a magna, but his failure to win a fellowship for study abroad darkened his Harvard memories. Fullerton had had many girl friends; he also had homosexual relationships with the poet Bliss Carman and others.

In 1888 Samuel Longfellow, the poet's brother, took Fullerton to Europe. The following year Hamilton Aïdé, the English artist and writer, took him to Egypt and Greece. He then settled in London among Aïdé's aristocratic homosexual set. He had an affair with the sculptor Lord Ronald Gower. Fullerton was close to Henry James. (The evidence indicates that their friendship was not sexual.) James introduced Fullerton to the Ranee of Sarawak, with whom he had a passionate liaison, but whom he dropped when he left London.

In 1890 he wrote a witty and telling essay, "English and Americans," in which he came down eloquently on the side of America. When, American and unqualified, he was taken on by the Times, people said it was through his connections. In 1891 he was sent to work as a reporter under the famous, flamboyant chief correspondent Henri von Blowitz in Paris, where he spent the rest of his life.

Fullerton found lodgings with a Mme. Mirecourt, stage name of a captivating ex-singer and actress who became his mistress. Her apartment was elegant enough for him to entertain Ronald Gower and the Marquess of Lorne, a son-in-law of Queen Victoria.

Fullerton worked hard, but spent idyllic holidays with Mirecourt. With his talents and achievements, he was confident of succeeding Blowitz. When Blowitz retired in 1902 and Fullerton learned that the Vienna correspondent, William Lavino, would be the next chief, it was the greatest shock of his life. London told him that, not knowing what else to do with him, they were sending him to Madrid, a minor post, with a small raise. He must go to Portugal first, to cover a royal visit by Edward VII to Carlos II.

Fullerton had a sociopathic inability to love, a lack of affect, and a need for power. When Katharine begged him to tell her how they stood, he promised that they would talk about it next summer. Katharine at once married another man and, as Katharine Fullerton Gerould, became a popular writer.

Fullerton had not been dismissed by the Times, as he had feared he would be, because of incrminating letters from the 1890s, but the experience of fear may have made him more prudent in his homosexual involvements. From this time, his bisexuality was evidently known to very few people. He distanced himself from Oscar Wilde's circle and privately expressed abhorrence for Wilde himself. His air of mystery may have resulted from concealment of an important aspect of his character.

Fullerton had once upheld human rights. Now he believed that national security should prevail over civil liberties. When the United States entered the war, Fullerton joined army intelligence. Pentagon records show him analyzing and advising. After the war he was disgusted with Woodrow Wilson's "self-determination": small nations should be used as weapons, like "gas shells, grenades, avions"; Germany should be a "'Boche Reserve' like the American 'Indian Reserves'". He talked with the heads and would-be heads of state, exiles, leaders of ethnic minorities, refugees, conspirators, who thronged to Paris as the Treaty of Versailles was hammered out.


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