The Pinkerton Agency: The History of Allan Pinkerton and America’s First Major Private Detective Organization by Charles River Editors*Includes pictures
*Includes contemporary accounts
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents
By the mid-1850s a few businessmen saw the need for greater control over their employees; their solution was to sponsor a private detective system. In February 1855, Allan Pinkerton, after consulting with six midwestern railroads, created such an agency in Chicago. - Frank Morn, historian
The private detective looms large in popular culture, both in the United States and around the world. From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and even 1980s’ Thomas Magnum, private detectives have been a staple of novels, movies, and television shows for well over a century. The loner for hire, trying to solve a mystery or right a wrong using nothing but their own brain (in Holmes’ case), brawn (in Marlowe’s case), or boy next door charm (in Magnum’s case), is deeply rooted in the collective psyche of generations of men and women. The fact that today’s private detective is more likely to be chasing a cheating spouse than tracking down a desperate criminal is beside the point.
Holmes, Marlowe, and Magnum owe their existence to the first private detective—and if not the first, certainly in the United States the most famous. The name Allan Pinkerton was for decades synonymous with private detective; indeed, the work “Pinkerton” was generally used for any private detective whether or not they were associated with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. The all-seeing eye that served as the symbol of his company and the slogan—“We Never Sleep”—projected an image of a detective working tirelessly to pursue a desperate criminal and bring them to justice. Through his career, Pinkerton went after bank robbers and railroad theves, both relatively unknown and infamous like Frank and Jesse James. During the Civil War, he was instrumental in preventing the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and ran an extensive intelligence operation against the South. As America industrialized, his detectives were brought into labor disputes by management seeking to break attempts at unions. This last put a stain on Pinkerton’s legacy, a legacy he tried to establish by publishing numerous books about his exploits and the exploits of his detectives. A self-promoter as much as a detective, Allan Pinkerton and his story is a quintessentially American one.
The Pinkerton Agency: The History of Allan Pinkerton and America’s First Major Private Detective Organization looks at the life story of the man who formed the detective agency, and the important milestones in the organization’s history. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Pinkertons like never before.
Pinkerton (detective agency)
Allan J. Pinkerton produced numerous popular detective books, ostensibly based on his own exploits and those of his agents. Some wer To keep the peace in the coal mines, the Pinkerton agency goes to war The Civil War is over, and the Union is rebuilding using the power of coalblack rock dug from deep beneath the Pennsylvania earth by men from all over the globe who are seeking Allan Pinkerton - was a Scottish American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.