Lot 188

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Giant Archive of Pinkerton Crime, Posters, Tintypes, Photos, Etc. An Amazing Group!

A huge and fascinating archive of Pinkerton National Detective Agency related materials, along with a few other agencies, spanning over 50 years! The internal pages have varying degrees of toning, chipping, separations, and tears. Glue residue from where clippings were mounted, has caused some pages to become stiff and slightly warped. The volume's boards have become separated and the spine is missing. The binding is still relatively sound. Boards are worn, with scratching, rubbing, and soiling. Please view the photographs for further condition information. The archive is a truly remarkable piece of criminal history, and we would recommend any interested parties should view it in person if possible.

The archive is made up of newspaper clippings, photographs, wanted posters, and broadsheets mounted in a large volume, measuring 12.25" x 17.5" x 5.25". The majority of clippings are from Pinkerton activities in Chicago and date from 1875-1929, although there are also clippings from cases in Michigan, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, and more. It is likely the collection is made by a police department, an agency, or a detective, but it contains remarkable details on crimes from the turn of the century now long forgotten. With reports on murder, embezzling, burglary, swindling, forgery, smuggling, counterfeiting, pickpocketing, shoplifting, safe-blowing, and con men and women. With approximately 250 clipped images of a "Rogues Gallery" of men and women, along with several tintypes of various criminals. The case clippings and wanted posters frequently have notations made on them with details of the papers they were taken from. There are also interesting articles on prison conditions, the psychology and physiology of criminals, the anti-death penalty, and prison reform.  

Highlights from the extensive archive include:
p. 13: The killing of Mormon leader, Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844) was the founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. He was arrested in 1844 for inciting a riot but was killed while imprisoned by a mob who stormed the jail.
p. 28: A plot to steal Abraham Lincoln's bones from his burial monument. In the 1870s, a gang from Chicago planned to steal Lincoln's body from his tomb in Springfield, Illinois, then hold the president's corpse for ransom.
p. 105: The death of Allan Pinkerton. It is believed Pinkerton, age 64, died of either a stroke or malaria. Some also believe he may have contracted gangrene after a fall.
p. 142: Wanted image of Jesse James. Jesse W. James (1847-1882) was an American outlaw, bank and train robber, and leader of the James-Younger Gang. The Pinkertons became involved in stopping James around 1874.
p. 180-188: Multiple articles on John F. Hoke. Hoke was a bookkeeper for the Merchants National Bank of Peoria who was arrested for embezzling.
p. 189: The Shoebox Mystery. On August 8, 1886, A Wallingford man and his dog stumbled across a man's torso that had been wrapped in paper and stored in a large shoe box before being dumped. The corpse was missing its arms, legs, and head, making it impossible to identify. The case remains unsolved.
p. 193: Pinkertons foil the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln in 1861. Allan Pinkerton uncovered an apparent secessionist plot to assassinate Lincoln before his inauguration. A female agent, Kate Warne, posed as a caregiver and escorted her "invalid brother" (Lincoln in disguise) on an overnight train from Baltimore to D.C.
p. 202: Wanted image of Jesse Pomeroy, along with a 1928 argument against the death penalty. Jesse Pomeroy (1859-1932) was a suspected serial killer and the youngest person in Massachusetts to be convicted of murder in the first degree.
p. 206: Julius Grinnel and the Boodlers. Chicago's "Great Boodle Trial" pitted State Attorney Julius Grinnel against former Cook County Commissioners William J. McGarigle and Ed McDonald on charges of public corruption. McDonald helped organize the ring and set up the schemes, while McGarigle, collected the bribes and kickbacks—the “boodle.”
p. 240: The Kellogg Nichols murder. On March 12, 1886, U.S. Express Messenger, Kellogg Nichols, was murdered while on duty, defending property in his charge. He was killed in a train car out of Chicago, and at least $21,000 of jewelry was stolen in the incident. Henry Schwartz and Newton Watt were convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.
p. 282: The arrest of Detectives Fahey-Naegele-Bureau. John Fahey, Louis Naegele, and Joseph Bureau were detectives who robbed the old Bonaventure station, stealing thousands of dollars. The men were finally caught by Pinkerton agents.
p. 302: The Anthropometric Method of Measuring Convicts. In 1879, Alphonse Bertillon invented a method of measuring unique features of criminals in photographs that could be used to track suspects and repeat offenders. The system was based on five primary measurements: (1) head length (2) head breadth (3) length of the middle finger (4) the length of the left foot and (5) the length of the "cubit" (the forearm from the elbow to the extremity of the middle finger). Bertillon's system would later be replaced by fingerprinting, but the Bertillon "mug shot" endures.
p. 324 -339: Rogues Gallery of about 250 illustrated images of criminals and Pinkerton suspects or clients
p. 354: Fred Schuneman's mysterious death. Schuneman, a well-known Chicago employee of the Phillip Best Brewing Company was shot and killed in a possible robbery in the early morning of August 30, 1888. No suspects were ever caught.

p. 409: A January 10, 1895 article entitled "Think They Have Billy the Kid, Victims in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan Will Try to Identify Him." Police in Richmond, Virginia believed that they had captured a man named "Smith" who was Billy the Kid. 

p. 424: Edward S. Stokes murders partner. Edward Stiles Stokes (1841-1901) was the owner of a New York oil refinery who shot and killed his business partner, James Fisk. The men had previously been in conflict over accusations of embezzlement and blackmail, as well as both having fallen in love with the same woman, Helen Josephine Mansfield.

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency was established in 1850 by Scottish policeman Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884). Pinkerton became the byword of private law enforcement, especially after its success in guarding Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. The agency was relied on for intelligence and surveillance operations, security, and the recovery of property or individuals. Agents were also hired to track western outlaws such as Jesse James, the Reno Gang, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Following the Civil War, the Pinkertons began conducting operations against organized labor, frequently using goon squads to intimidate workers. After Pinkerton's death in 1884, the business was taken over by his two sons, William and Robert. During the Homestead Strike of 1892, Pinkerton agents were called in to reinforce the strikebreaking measures of industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Tensions between the workers and strikebreakers erupted into violence which led to the deaths of three Pinkerton agents and nine steelworkers. Since then, Pinkerton has rebranded itself into a personal security and risk management firm that still exists today.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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March 15, 2023 11:00 AM EDT
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University Archives

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$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
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$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
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