10 Most Powerful Members of The ‘Skull and Bones’

Many years ago (in 1832), a secret student society called The Brotherhood of Death, Order 322, The Order or more famously, Skull and Bones, was founded by William Huntington Russell and Alphonso Taft at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, in the United States of America. Since then, it has grown to be famous for its cultural institution, including having as its alumni, powerful members of the society from various walks of life.

Skull and Bones alumni organization – the Russell Trust Association was incorporated in 1856 and today, it holds a vast amount of wealth in real estate from its members. The organization has steadily grown in influence, so much so that in every human institution we have, you are likely to have a Skull and Bones member occupying a powerful position. Presented below are Bonesmen who are the most powerful members of the Skull and Bones secret student society, including their graduating class, and the portfolio they held or currently hold in the society.

Before we delve into who these powerful members of the Skull and Bones secret society are, it is germane that we point out the fact that this organization keeps almost all of its activities secret, apart from its members’ register which it has been publicizing annually of late.

In terms of how students get to become a Bonesman, a society member notifies juniors who have been selected to join the prestigious secret cult by clapping behind their shoulders. Then on the “tap day” or “tap night” 15 new members are inducted into the organization. These new members often comprise of students whose family names are respected and/or those that are academically gifted.

Meet Some Influential Members of The Cult

1. William Howard Taft [born September 15, 1857 –  died March 8, 1930] Yale Graduating Class of 1878

William Howard Taft
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Known for serving as

  • 6th Solicitor General of the United States [February 4, 1890 – March 20, 1892].
  • Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  •  Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [March 17, 1892 – March 15, 1900].
  • Governor-General of the Philippines [July 4, 1901 – December 23, 1903].
  • 1st Provisional Governor of Cuba [September 29, 1906 – October 13, 1906].
  • 42nd United States Secretary of War [February 1, 1904 – June 30, 1908].
  • 27th President of the United States [March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913].
  • 10th Chief Justice of the United States [July 11, 1921 – February 3, 1930].

Though it has been more than 8 decades since he passed on, William Howard Taft still stands out as one of the most powerful members of the Skull and Bones society and it is not hard to see why. General Alphonso Taft, his father, was the co-founder of the secret cult. While at Yale, William earned the honorary title of “magog” for his many sexual exploits.

Seeing his illustrious political career for which he is still highly spoken of today as the only person to have served as the president of the U.S and also U.S Chief Justice, William Taft no doubt is one of the most powerful members of the Skull and Bones secret society.

2. Walter Camp [born April 7, 1859 – died March 14, 1925] Yale Graduating Class of 1880

Most Powerful Members of The Skull and Bones
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Known for

  • Developing and introducing American football from English rugby.
  • Drafting the rules, playing and coaching the game.

Walter Chauncey Camp was a sportswriter, American football player, coach, and “father of American football.” Being a man who wielded so much power in one of America’s most loved sports, it is not hard to see why Walter Camp stands out as one of the most powerful members of The Skull and Bones secret society. Until his death, he served on the American football rules committee and even the National College Athletic Association he established still stands today.

3. Lyman Strong Spitzer, Jr. [born June 26, 1914 – died March 31, 1997] Yale Graduating Class of 1935

Most Powerful Members of The Skull and Bones
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Known as a scientist

  • Theoretical physicist, astronomer, and mountaineer.

Lyman Spitzer, while he lived, thought out the idea of Hubble Space Telescope, telescopes operating in outer space which are used to observe what goes on in space without hindrance from the earth’s atmosphere. He believed so much in the viability of this idea that he had to lobby NASA and Congress for funds to actualize the project. Lyman succeeded and even saw to the production of the machine. More than 4 decades after – in 1990, NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope into space and today, it still sends stunning images of outer space to earth, aiding new discoveries. This is another great achievement of a Bonesman.

4. George Herbert Walker Bush [born June 12, 1924 – died November 30, 2018] Yale Graduating Class of 1948

George Herbert Walker Bush
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Known for serving as

  • Member of the U.S. House of Representatives [January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1971].
  • 10th United States Ambassador to the United Nations [March 1, 1971 – January 18, 1973].
  • 2nd Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China [September 26, 1974 – December 7, 1975].
  • 11th Director of Central Intelligence [January 30, 1976 – January 20, 1977].
  • 43rd Vice President of the United States [January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989].
  • 41st President of the United States [January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993].

We have already seen a politician make this list of the most powerful members of The Skull and Bones, he isn’t the only one, neither will George Herbert Walker Bush be the last. He is the second Bonesman to take over the oval office as U.S president. George’s father Prescott Bush, was also a Skull and Bones member. Aside from serving as president, George H.W Bush was a WWII pilot, a former U.S Ambassador to Communist China, a CIA agent who kept secret from everyone and also Ronald Regan’s vice president.

5. John F. Kerry [born December 11, 1943], Yale Graduating Class of 1966

Most Powerful Members of The Skull and Bones
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Known for serving as

  • 66th Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts [March 6, 1983 – January 2, 1985].
  • United States Senator [January 2, 1985 – February 1, 2013].
  • Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee [January 4, 2007 – January 3, 2009].
  • Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee [January 6, 2009 – February 1, 2013].
  • 68th United States Secretary of State [February 1, 2013 – January 20, 2017].

In the Yale University class of 1966 is a now-famous Bonesman – John Forbes Kerry. While a student of the prestigious college, Kerry was Yale Political Union president. Following his graduation, he went on to carve out and enjoy an illustrious career in American politics and even internationally. He is also the first on our list of most powerful members of The Skull and Bones secret society who is still living.

6. Frederick Wallace Smith [born August 11, 1944] Yale Graduating Class of 1966

Most Powerful Members of The Skull and Bones
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Known for 

  • Founding FedEx.
  • A Republican politician.
  • Former U.S Marine Corps.

FedEx, formerly Federal Express; the first and largest express delivery service company in the world was founded by Frederick W. Smith, a Bonesman of the 1966 Yale graduating class. He still serves as the chairman, president, and CEO of the multinational company that earned US$65.450 billion in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year. During his days at Yale, Smith was friends with fellow Bonesmen George W. Bush and John F. Kerry.

7. George W. Bush [born July 6, 1946], Yale Graduating Class of 1968

George W. Bush
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Known as

  • 46th Governor of Texas [January 17, 1995 – December 21, 2000].
  • 43rd President of the United States [January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009].

The Bush family clearly has a strong tie with The Skull and Bones secret society. The late Prescott Bush was a Bonesman, George H.W Bush was a member and of course, George W. Bush of Yale’s class of 1968 is also a Bonesman. In his autobiography titled “A Charge to Keep,” Bush revealed that he joined the cult in his senior year. He further described the organization as a secret society, so secret that he can’t say anything about it. He is today noted as the 3rd Bonesman to become president of the United States and is, of course, one of the most powerful members of The Skull and Bones organization.

8. Stephen A. Schwarzman [born February 14, 1947], Yale Graduating Class of 1969

Most Powerful Members of The Skull and Bones
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Known as

  • CEO, Chairman, and Co-Founder of The Blackstone Group.
  • Former chairman of the Strategic and Policy Forum [January 20, 2017 – August 16, 2017].

Stephen A. Schwarzman was tapped to join the Skull and Bones secret society a year after George W. Bush. Like most Bonesmen, he has gone on to have a successful career as a businessman, so much that he was making an average of $1 million per day in 2006 when his private global equity firm The – Blackstone Group went public.

As one of the richest men in America with a net worth estimated to be $12.4 billion as of December 2018, Schwarzman is also one of the most powerful members of Skull and Bones.

9. Dana Milbank [born April 27, 1968], Yale Graduating Class of 1990

Dana Milbank
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Known as

  • Author, and columnist for The Washington Post.

We did mention earlier that Bonesmen are found in almost every walk of life and they are mostly seen at the top. Dana Milbank is a Bonesman, though not a politician or businessmen like most on this list, he is a journalist and a good one at that. In the course of his career, he has covered events that happened in former president Bush and Obama’s tenures.

10. Roy Austin [born 1939], Yale Graduating Class of 1968

Most Powerful Members of The Skull and Bones

Known for serving as

  • 15th United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago [December 6, 2001 – December 18, 2009].

Under fellow Bonesman, George W. Bush as president, Roy Leslie Austin who is more popularly known as Roy Austin served as the U.S Ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago and also in the administration of Barrack Obama until he was replaced.

Unlike most Bonesmen already mentioned here, Roy was not originally born in the U.S, he was born in the Anglo-Caribbean country named Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. When the time for college came, he decided to travel to the U.S and enrolled at Yale University. While studying, Austin met George W. Bush who he soon became friends with. The two men were later inducted into the Skull and Bones secret society and over the years, grew to become some of the most powerful Skull and Bones members.


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