Immigration record shows our protagonist’s prior name

On September 8, 1939, Henry Hecksher walked into the US District Court at Trenton, New Jersey, and declared his intention to become a US citizen. But he was not yet Henry Hecksher -- at least not officially. He even spelled his surname differently than we know it now. Through this document, we learn our protagonist's … Continue reading Immigration record shows our protagonist’s prior name

Death record provides a birthday

Here at the starting point, we're going to try to establish some basic information about Henry Hecksher. The United States Social Security Death Index tells us a few things: Hecksher lived in Mercer County, New Jersey, at the time of his death, in zip code 08452.He was born on September 21, 1910. I accessed the … Continue reading Death record provides a birthday

A story told briefly at death

Our central character, Henry D. Hecksher, died on March 28, 1990, in a hospital in Princeton, New Jersey, as a result of complications from Parkinson's disease. The New York Times covered his death in a three-paragraph obituary the next day, giving us a very brief sketch of his life that nonetheless hints at a peripatetic … Continue reading A story told briefly at death

The beginning: A life in five paragraphs

I decided to focus this project on the life of CIA officer Henry Hecksher after I noticed that Wikipedia only offered five paragraphs on him. He had been the agency's chief of station in Santiago at the time of efforts to block Socialist Salvador Allende from becoming president of Chile in 1970, an event that … Continue reading The beginning: A life in five paragraphs

Before the beginning: How a botched kidnapping of a general led me to this project

Before I became interested in the CIA officer at the center of this project, I had planned to tell the story of another man whose life intersected with that of our protagonist. That other man was General Rene Schneider, the commander-in-chief of Chile's military at the time that Salvador Allende won a plurality in that … Continue reading Before the beginning: How a botched kidnapping of a general led me to this project