Elizabeth Turrill “Eliza” Bentley

Elizabeth Turrill “Eliza” Bentley

Birth
New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA
Death 3 Dec 1963 (aged 55)
New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 68358663 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Elizabeth Terrill Bentley was a spy for the Soviet Union,born in America,of conservative parents,well educated and with no early political leanings of any notification.
Bentley was an high value spy for the Soviet Union from 1938 to 1945. She later defected from the American Communist Party and Soviet Intelligence and became an informer for the FBI. Bentley was able to give sterling value information to the FBI of the espionage networks operating in America...two networks and the names of over 80 Americans who were espionage agents for Soviet Russia were named by Bentley. She was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for this information.
Her testimony to the FBI became public knowledge in 1948 - it became a news sensation, which influenced the anti-communist witch-hunt of Senator McCarthy.
Bentley attended Vassar College,graduating in 1930 with a degree in English,Italian and French. She later completed her Masters Degree at Columbia University.
Bentley joined the Communist Party of the United States in March 1935 - she later stated she joined the Party because she liked the people and their sense of social conscience,the community spirit within the party and general conversation.
Bentley later met Jacob Golos a senior officer of Russian Intelligence and she then ran a series of intelligence networks and acted as a courier between espionage networks.
Bentley defected to the FBI and chose to become an informer of her own choice. In August 1945, Bentley went to the FBI's offices at New Haven,Connecticut and gave her story in a series of de-briefings - this information was vital to the security of the United States,who at that time had no definite knowledge of the extent of Russian espionage penetration within America.
Bentley was called to give evidence at any number of hearings etc, which lasted throughout the 1950's.
BOOKS: Biographies.
Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley. By Kathryn.S.Olmsted.
Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley. the Spy who Ushered In the McCarthy Era.by Lauren Kessler.
Cause Of Death: Abdominal Cancer.
Place Of Death: Grace-New Haven Hospital,New Haven,Connecticut,U.S.A.Spy/teacher. Vassar graduate (1930), and graduated with a masters in languages from Columbia University (1933). Known as the "red spy queen," Elizabeth Bentley spied for the Soviet Union for seven years from 1938 to 1945. She named, among others, Harry Dexter White and Lauchlin Currie as being involved in espionage. Bentley's defection and accusations, along with those of Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961) are credited with helping set the stage for McCarthyism in the 1940's and 1950's regarding purported Soviet intelligence penetration of the United States Government. Of the 37 government employees that Bentley had accused of providing her with information for transmittal to the Soviet Union, none were convicted of espisonage. However, her testimony lead to the 1949 convictions of 11 Communist Party of the U. S. A. leaders on charges of conspiracy of advocating the violent overthrow of the government. She also testified at the trial of Julius (1918-1953) and Ethel Rosenberg (1915-1953). Wrote her autobiography, Out of Bondage, published in 1951. Taught at various schools in Lousiana and Connecticut in later life. An alcoholic, Bentley died of abdominal cancer.


Family Members

Gravesite Details Buried away from other family members.

Sponsored by Ancestry

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Created by: Paul Monaghan
  • Added: 14 Apr 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 68358663
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elizabeth Turrill “Eliza” Bentley (1 Jan 1908–3 Dec 1963), Find a Grave Memorial no. 68358663, citing Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by Paul Monaghan (contributor 47155457) .