Pinkerton's National Detective Agency

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Biographical Notes and Organizational History

Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884)

  • 1819, Aug. 25: Born, Glasgow, Scotland
  • 1842: Married Joan Carfrae Fled to North America fearing arrest for activities in Chartist Movement, residing first in Montreal, Canada
  • 1842 - 1843 : Worked as a cooper in Chicago, Ill.
  • 1843 - 1850 : Operated a cooperage in Dundee, Ill.
  • 1847: Discovered counterfeiters while scouting for barrel timber on the Fox River
  • 1850: Worked in Chicago, Ill., as a criminal investigator; appointed Special United States Mail Agent to investigate series of postal thefts
  • circa 1852: Formed a detective agency in Chicago, Ill., with attorney Edward A. Rucker, the first of several detective businesses
  • 1853: Appointed deputy sheriff of Cook County, Ill.
  • 1855: Signed contract to guard Illinois Central Railroad
  • 1861: Amid fears of assassination, secretly escorted Abraham Lincoln on train from Baltimore, Md., to Washington, D.C., for presidential inauguration Organized first secret service division of the U.S. Army
  • 1861 - 1862 : First chief of U.S. Secret Service
  • 1863 - 1865 : Conducted investigations in New Orleans, La., of fraudulent claims of property loss against the United States government
  • 1863 - 1884 : Director, Pinkerton's National Detective Agency, with headquarters in Chicago, Ill., and offices in other major cities
  • 1868: Published History and Evidence of the Passage of Abraham Lincoln from Harrisburg, Pa., to Washington, D.C., on the 22d and 23d of February, 1861. (Chicago: Republican Print. 18 pp.)
  • 1875: Published Claude Melnotte as a Detective, and Other Stories (Chicago: W. B. Keen, Cooke & Co. 282 pp.) Published The Detective and the Somnambulist (Chicago: W. B. Keen, Cooke. 241 pp.) Published The Expressman and the Detective (Chicago: W. B. Keen, Cooke. 278 pp.)
  • 1876: Published The Model Town and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 288 pp.)
  • 1877: Published The Spiritualists and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 354 pp.)
  • 1878: Published Strikers, Communists, Tramps and Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 412 pp.)
  • 1879: Published Criminal Reminiscences and Detective Sketches (New York: G. W. Carleton. 324 pp.) Published The Gypsies and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 330 pp.) Published Mississippi Outlaws and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 377 pp.) Published Mollie Maguires and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 552 pp.)
  • 1880: Published Bucholz and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 341 pp.)
  • 1881: Published Professional Thieves and the Detective (New York: G. W. Carleton. 598 pp.) Published The Rail-Road Forger and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 364 pp.)
  • 1883: Published Bank Robbers and the Detective (New York: G. W. Carleton. 339 pp.) Published The Spy of the Rebellion (New York: G. W. Carleton. 688 pp.)
  • 1884: Published Thirty Years a Detective (New York: G. W. Carleton. 616 pp.) Published A Double Life and the Detectives (New York: G. W. Carleton. 360 pp.)
  • 1884, July 1: Died, Chicago, Ill.

William A. Pinkerton (1846-1923)

  • 1846, Apr. 7: Born, Dundee, Ill.
  • 1861: Attended Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind.
  • 1861 - 1865 : Served in Secret Service Division, U.S. Army, and later with his father in New Orleans, La., investigating fraudulent claims of property loss against the United States government
  • 1862: Wounded by exploding shell during battle at Antietam, Md.
  • 1865: Attended Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind.
  • 1866: Detective on criminal cases for the Pinkerton agency Married Margaret Ashling (died 1895)
  • 1884: Upon death of father, managed western division of the Pinkerton agency from Chicago, Ill., in partnership with brother, Robert Pinkerton Specialized in bank protection
  • 1923, Dec. 11: Died, Los Angeles, Calif.

Robert A. Pinkerton (1848-1907)

  • 1848, Dec. 2: Born, Dundee, Ill.
  • 1864: Attended Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind.
  • 1864 - 1865 : Served in the U. S. army with his father in New Orleans, La., investigating fraudulent claims of property loss against the United States government
  • 1865: Attended Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind.
  • 1868: Assigned to Pinkerton's New York, N.Y., office
  • 1875: Married Anna Elizabeth Hughes
  • 1884: Upon death of father, managed eastern division of the Pinkerton agency from New York in partnership with brother, William Pinkerton Built protective patrol while also investigating criminal cases
  • 1880s: Began long association with Jockey Club to police horse racetracks and betting syndicates in the New York, N.Y., vicinity
  • 1907, Aug. 12: Died aboard steamer Bremen in the Atlantic ocean en route to Europe

Allan Pinkerton (1876-1930)

  • 1876, June 30: Born, Brooklyn, N.Y., son of Robert A. Pinkerton
  • 1896: Graduated from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Entered the Pinkerton agency as a private detective
  • 1902: Married Franc Woodworth
  • 1918: Appointed major of infantry, U.S. army, serving on the staff of Gen. John J. Pershing at Chaumont, later as assistant provost marshal at Tours and Bordeaux, and finally in charge of criminal investigations for the provost marshal general's department. Medical discharge for tuberculosis.
  • 1923: Became sole family director of Pinkerton's National Detective Agency
  • 1925: Incorporated the agency and became its first president
  • 1930, Oct. 7: Died, New York, N.Y.

Robert A. Pinkerton (1904-1967)

  • 1904, Nov. 7: Born, Brooklyn, N.Y., son of Allan Pinkerton (1876-1930)
  • 1927: A.B. degree, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1928: Attended Columbia University Law School, New York, N.Y.
  • 1929 - 1934 : Stockbroker, Carlisle, Mellick & Co., New York, N.Y.
  • 1930: Assumed leadership of Pinkerton's National Detective Agency upon death of his father, Allan Pinkerton (1876-1930) Married Louise Eliot
  • 1936: Testified on behalf of the Pinkerton agency in U. S. Senate investigation of industrial espionage and interference with the right of labor to organize and bargain collectively
  • 1937: Pinkerton's board of directors supported recommendation to eliminate labor investigations
  • 1942 - 1945 : Industrial guard services increased during war years
  • 1940s - 1960s : Criminal detection replaced by commercial investigation and security services
  • 1965: Agency's name changed to Pinkerton's Inc., to reflect its function in supplying security services to industrial plants, banks, hospitals, universities, racetracks, sporting events, and fairs
  • 1967: Resigned as president of Pinkerton's Inc.; named chairman of the board
  • 1967, Oct. 11: Died, Bay Shore, N.Y. End of Pinkerton family direction for the agency

From the guide to the Pinkerton's National Detective Agency Records, 1853-1999, (bulk 1880-1920), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Perry, Thornton Tayloe, 1892-1981,. West Virginia miscellaneous papers, 1741-1967. Shepherd University Library, Scarborough Library
referencedIn Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Western Region. Labor and Wage Bureau. Records, 1917-1953 (bulk 1922-1939). Hagley Museum & Library
creatorOf Siringo, Charles A., 1855-1928. Charles Siringo papers 1896-1928. Museum of New Mexico Library
referencedIn Atlas Powder Company. The records of the Atlas Powder Company and predecessors, 1868-1958. (bulk, 1912-1958). Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Perry, Thornton Tayloe, 1892-1981,. West Virginia miscellaneous papers, 1741-1967. Virginia Historical Society Library
creatorOf Ross, Charles Brewster, b. 1870. Collection, 1874, 1953. Natural History Museum Los Angeles County Foundation, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
referencedIn Benjamin F. Butler Papers, 1778-1929, (bulk 1861-1893) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Evans, David C., 1820-1910. David C. Evans and family papers, 1849-1925. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Report, 1890. State Historical Society of North Dakota State Archives
creatorOf Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Pinkerton's National Detective Agency reports, 1877. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Reading Company. Records, 1795-1979. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Oney, Steve, 1954-. Steve Oney papers, 1896-2009. Georgia Historical Society
referencedIn Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Pennsylvania Railroad Grand Division. Office of General Superintendent. Letterbook, 1875-1880. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Siringo, Charles A., 1855-1928. Charles A. Siringo letters to William E. Hawks, 1912-1926. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Alabama. Governor (1882-1886: E.A. O'Neal). Administrative files, 1882-1886. Alabama Department of Archives and History
referencedIn Wood, Frederick W. (Frederick William), 1857-1943. Papers, 1867-1942. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Reading Company. Law Dept. Reading Company Law Dept. records, 1833-1979 (bulk, 1920-1976). Hagley Museum & Library
creatorOf Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Director's Office Records, 1955-1977. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, The Clark
creatorOf Alabama. Governor (1890-1894 : Jones). Administrative files, 1890-1894. Alabama Department of Archives and History
creatorOf Howarth, John Bradshaw, 1858-1943. William E. Bouton collection, 1892-1905. Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
creatorOf Rittgers, H. E. Copy of report of the Pinkerton Detective Agency made to Governor John Miller on the effort made to legalize the Louisiana Lottery during the session of the first Legislative Assembly in North Dakota. University of North Dakota, Chester Fritz Library
referencedIn New York (State). Comptroller's Office. Application for license for private detective business, 1898. New York State Archives
creatorOf Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. John Riplinger deficit records, 1907-1910. Seattle Municipal Archives
referencedIn Du Pont, Eugene, 1840-1902. Papers, 1859-1920. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Rawle family. Rawle family papers, 1682-1921, bulk 1770-1911. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn McParland, James. Letter, 1906. Eastern Washington State Historical Society
referencedIn Lewis, Pryce, 1835-1911. Papers, 1852-1959. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Du Pont, Pierre S. (Pierre Samuel), 1870-1954. "Mexican Account" papers, 1890-1913. Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Charleston County (S.C.). Coroner. Transcript of inquest on Thomas Pinkney, Jr., 1899. South Carolina, Department of Archives and History
referencedIn Records, 1865-1945. Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Investigative reports, 1906. University of Idaho Library
referencedIn James McParland Letter, 1906 Eastern Washington State Historical Society/Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture Joel E. Ferris Research Library and Archives
creatorOf Hawley, James H. (James Henry), 1847-1929. James H. Hawley collection, 1906-1907. Idaho State Archives, Idaho State Historical Society
referencedIn Western Federation of Miners. Pinkerton's National Detective Agency : [collection] : 1906-1907. History Colorado
creatorOf Williams, Gerald O.,. Collected papers of Gerald O. Williams, 1867-1983. Alaska State Library
creatorOf Barron, Clarence W. (Clarence Walker), 1855-1928. Trade catalogs of banking and investments, 1853-[1963?]. University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Library
referencedIn Schoen, Harriet. Pryce Lewis collection, 1860-1965. St. Lawrence University, Owen D. Young Library
referencedIn Jensen, Vernon H.,. Series 6. Files on the Steunenberg murder trials and Cripple Creek, Colorado strike, 1903-1907. [microform] Cornell University Library
creatorOf Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Decatur (Mich.) murder investigation records, 1878-1879. Clarke Historical Library
referencedIn Hand, Learned. Learned Hand papers. 1840-1961. Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Conger Family. Papers, 1772-1911. American Periodical Series I
referencedIn Charles Siringo Papers, 1896-1928 Museum of New Mexico. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.
referencedIn Orchard, Harry, 1866-1954. Confession of Harry Orchard, 1906 [microform]. Denver Public Library, Central Library
referencedIn Helen Clay Frick Foundation. Helen Clay Frick Foundation archives, 1862-1987. University of Pittsburgh
creatorOf Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Report, 1906-1907 [microform]. Denver Public Library, Central Library
referencedIn Illinois. Governor (1873-1877 : Beveridge). John Lourie Beveridge correspondence, 1873-1877. Illinois State Archive
referencedIn [New York broadside collection 1869-1976]. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Bartlett, Edward L. Edward L. Bartlett papers, 1863-1904. New Mexico State Library
creatorOf Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Report, 1883. American Periodical Series I
creatorOf Pinkerton's National Detective Agency Records, 1853-1999, (bulk 1880-1920) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alabama. Governor (1882-1886: E.A. O'Neal). corporateBody
associatedWith Alabama. Governor (1890-1894 : Jones). corporateBody
associatedWith Ancient Order of Hibernians corporateBody
associatedWith Atlas Powder Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Bangs, George H. George H. Bangs papers. person
associatedWith Bartlett, Edward L. person
associatedWith Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893 person
associatedWith Cassidy, Butch, 1866- person
associatedWith Charleston County (S.C.). Coroner. corporateBody
associatedWith Conger Family. person
associatedWith Du Pont, Eugene, 1840-1902. person
associatedWith Du Pont, Pierre S. (Pierre Samuel), 1870-1954. person
associatedWith Evans, David C., 1820-1910. person
associatedWith Hand, Learned, 1872-1961 person
associatedWith Helen Clay Frick Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Howarth, John Bradshaw, 1858-1943 person
associatedWith Illinois. Governor (1873-1877 : Beveridge) corporateBody
associatedWith Jensen, Vernon H., person
associatedWith Lewis, Pryce, 1835-1911. person
associatedWith Louisiana State Lottery Company. corporateBody
associatedWith McParland, James. person
associatedWith Molly Maguires (Organization) corporateBody
associatedWith Morriss, Elias. person
associatedWith Morriss, Henry. person
associatedWith Mudgett, Herman W., 1861-1896 person
associatedWith New York (State). Comptroller's Office. corporateBody
associatedWith North Dakota. Legislative Assembly. corporateBody
associatedWith Oney, Steve, 1954- person
associatedWith Orchard, Harry, 1866-1954. person
associatedWith Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Pennsylvania Railroad Grand Division. Office of General Superintendent. corporateBody
associatedWith Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Western Region. Labor and Wage Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith Perry, Thornton Tayloe, 1892-1981, person
associatedWith Pinkerton, Allan, 1819-1884. person
associatedWith Pinkerton, Allan, 1876-1930 person
associatedWith Pinkerton, Robert A., 1904-1967 person
associatedWith Pinkerton, Robert A. (Robert Allan), 1848-1907 person
associatedWith Pinkerton, William A. (William Allan), 1846-1923 person
associatedWith Rawle family. family
associatedWith Reading Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Reading Company. Law Dept. corporateBody
associatedWith Rittgers, H. E. person
associatedWith Ross, Charles Brewster, b. 1870. person
associatedWith Schoen, Harriet. person
associatedWith Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk. corporateBody
associatedWith Siringo, Charles A. person
associatedWith Siringo, Charles A., 1855-1928. person
associatedWith Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Steunenberg, Frank, 1861-1905 person
associatedWith Sundance Kid. person
associatedWith Thiel Detective Service corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army of the Potomac. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Idaho. Administration Building corporateBody
associatedWith Western Federation of Miners corporateBody
associatedWith William J. Burns International Detective Agency. corporateBody
associatedWith Williams, Gerald O., person
associatedWith Wood Detective Agency. corporateBody
associatedWith Wood, Frederick W. (Frederick William), 1857-1943. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
North Dakota
Michigan--Decatur
Idaho--Moscow
United States
Idaho
Pennsylvania
Decatur (Mich.)
Scranton (Pa.)
Van Buren County (Mich.)
Subject
Espionage--Washington (D.C.)
Fires
Conspiracies--Archival resources
Private investigators
Civil defense--United States
Homicide investigation
National security--United States
Law enforcement
Crime and criminals
Strikes and lockouts--History--19th century
Coal miners--Labor unions
World War, 1914-1918--United States
Crime
Sabotage--Washington (D.C.)
Labor unions--Pennsylvania
Lotteries
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1863

Active 1904

Information

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