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Topics in Chronicling America - Miss Constance Kopp: Girl Detective and Demon Sheriff

Step aside, thugs: There’s a new sheriff in town. “I got a revolver to protect us, and I soon had use for it,” declares Connie Kopp when interviewed about the midnight marauders intimidating her family. Her assistance with the arrest of an ex-con, for threatening to kidnap her sister, led to her role as detective. She went on to become deputy sheriff of Bergen County, New Jersey. Later on, the Kopp sisters managed their own private-detective agency. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/). Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Constance Kopp

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Important Dates:

  • June 1914: A brand-new automobile driven by Henry Kaufman, a Paterson, N.J. silk manufacturer crashes into the Kopp family buggy. Soon after, the sisters Kopp start receiving anonymous threatening “black hand” letters and nocturnal prowlers begin to discharge revolvers and shotguns under the bedroom windows at Wyckoff Farm.
  • November 22, 1914: The Kopps receive a letter demanding them to hand over $1,000 to a “woman dressed in black” under the penalty of having their home burned. Guards are stationed around the farm to protect the girls.
  • 1915: Constance aids with the arrest of ex-convict, George Johnson, for threatening to kidnap her younger sister, Florette; qualifying her for the role of deputy sheriff of Bergen County, New Jersey.
  • April 10, 1916: Dives into Hackensack River and rescues Tony Hajanack, an insane prisoner who tried to drown himself.
  • November 14, 1916: Constance loses her job as Under Sheriff when John W. Courter is sworn in as the new sheriff; claiming that he “can’t find anything for Miss Kopp to do.” Miss Kopp, along with Under Sheriff Thomas English, claim that they are protected under the newly adopted Civil Service Law, which states that employees who have held their jobs 45 days prior to the election are retained despite of who wins.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Constance Kopp

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  August 8, 2016
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