May 23, 2000 Pinkerton's Inc. Donates Archives to Library of Congress

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-9191
Contact: Pinkerton contact: Mark Leaf (818) 706-5784

Pinkerton's Inc., the nation's oldest and largest security services company, will donate its archives to the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, May 31, at 11 a.m.

Librarian's Office, Room 608, James Madison Building

James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress
Don W. Walker, president of Pinkerton's
Jane Adler, Pinkerton's archivist and historian


The archives document the history of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, founded in 1850 by Scottish immigrant Allan Pinkerton, one of the most important figures in crime detection and law enforcement during the latter half of the 19th century. The archives cover the period from 1850 to 1938 and have never been accessible to the public. Selective access was given only to a limited number of authors and historians. The archives include the following materials: 195 binders on criminal investigations; a large collection of photographs, including criminal "mug shots" of the day; biographical information on Mr. Pinkerton and his sons, William and Robert, who continued to run the agency after their father's death; correspondence; personnel files; promotional materials; canvassing papers; privately printed works of instruction for detectives, and privately published volumes on topics of interest to the agency.

Ownership of the detective agency remained in the Pinkerton family for many years. In 1884, Mr. Pinkerton passed the agency to his sons, William and Robert. His grandson, Allan II, inherited the agency in 1907, and his great-grandson, Robert II, in 1930. When Robert Pinkerton II died in 1967, without a male heir, family direction of the corporation came to an end.

Pinkerton's, Inc., has since grown to a $1.5 billion organization that provides a wide array of security services. The company has its U.S. headquarters in Westlake Village, Calif., and is a member of the Securitas Group of Stockholm, Sweden, a world leader in the security industry.

A selection of high-resolution digital photographs from the archives is available via email from [email protected].


PR 00-081
ISSN 0731-3527