American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Reason

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The Pinkerton Agency

Wanted advertisement in Spanish
Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884)
Pinkerton National Detective Agency
Wanted advertisement in Spanish
Page 2
Manuscript Division (233, 233.1a,b)

Harry Longbaugh and Etta Place
De Young Studios, New York
[Harry Longbaugh and Etta Place]
Unknown Studio, Fort Worth, Texas
Manuscript Division
(233, 233.1a,b)

Pinkerton Inc. (formerly Pinkerton National Detective Agency), founded by Scottish immigrant Allan Pinkerton in 1850, is the nation's oldest and largest security services company. Pinkerton's Inc., donated to the Library an archive for the years 1850-1937 that includes numerous criminal investigations, "mug shots," promotional materials, code books, an early form of a credit card, personnel records, and printed instructions for agency detectives. Two-thirds of the collection documents criminal activity from 1880-1910 -- including tracking the famed "Wild Bunch." Pinkerton obtained these photographs of Harry "The Sundance Kid" Longbaugh with his mistress Etta Place and other members of the gang and used their images in agency "WANTED" posters. The gang photograph taken in Fort Worth, Texas, at the insistence of Butch Cassidy, to showcase their newly purchased derby hats became the gang's undoing. Unaware of his sitters' identities, the photographer displayed the image in his shop window, where the members were recognized by a law enforcement officer.

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