Reading Company file related to the Pinkerton Detective Agency

About this collection

Reports and billings for Pinkerton detectives employed by Franklin B. Gowen, president of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, on three different missions. The first involved violence in the Anthracite Coal Region, 1873-1880. James McParlan was commissioned to infiltrate the alleged Molly Maguires, a secret Irish organization that practiced retributive murders and beatings against bosses and rival ethnic gangs. Two other agents were sent to collect information and infiltrate the miners’ union during the Long Strike of 1875, and Robert J. Linden was sent to organize a company police force to protect property and arrest suspects. Gowen also had Pinkertons shadow a committee of the state legislature investigating the Reading’s activities during the strike. Lastly, Gowen used Pinkertons to track lobbyists of the rival Pennsylvania Railroad and legislators suspected of receiving bribes to have the state assume the claims arising out of riot damage during the great 1877 railroad strike and to report on the progress of their trials in 1880.

    Note: This online collection includes the Molly Maguire materials in Hagley Library’s collection of Reading Company records (with the exception of 8 volumes of stenographic reports of trial proceedings for John Donohue, Patrick Hester, Martin Bergen, James McDonnell and Charles Sharpe).
    The Reading Company collection has not been digitized in its entirety. Click here for a detailed description of the Pinkerton detective case files. For more information on the Reading Company records, click here to view the finding aid.

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Allan Pinkerton and Benjamin Franklin to F. B. Gowen, 1875-04-15
Communication encloses a continuation of the report of William McC., who is operating among the coal miners at St. Nicholas, Pennsylvania. The report primarily details local union activities and the state of the labor strike, and the report includes the time period from to 1875-04-02 to 1875-04-13., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and Benjamin Franklin to F. B. Gowen, 1874-11-13
Communication encloses the report of James [McParlan] (alias James McKenna), who has been assigned to infiltrate and report on the Molly Maguires. The report includes the time period from 1874-08-27 to 1874-10-22., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and Benjamin Franklin to F. B. Gowen, 1875-03-02
Communication encloses the report of William McK., who is operating among the coal miners at St. Nicholas, Pennsylvania. The report primarily details local union meetings and includes the time period from to 1875-02-13 to 1875-02-26., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Correspondence, Thomas McGee to John B. Louvett, 1875-07-01
Correspondence regarding McGee's whereabouts and health. Letter includes correspondence to both Louvett and to McGee's mother., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Service and expense account for special operations by Pinkerton's National Detective Agency from 1878-03-03 to 1878-04-27
Account for multiple operatives to be paid by Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Co. Account lists items such as room and board accommodations, transportation costs, telegraph costs, drinks, and other incidental expenses., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Services rendered and expenses incurred by Pinkerton's National Detective Agency in making investigation of depredations of miners and Molly Maguires against persons and property in the coal regions
Service and expense account for multiple operatives to be paid by Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Co. totaling $2551.65. Expenses include items such as room accommodations, telegraph costs, transportation costs, laundry, 'treating' suspects to drinks or meals, and other incidentals., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Correspondence, Rev. R. N. Huncoit [?] to Franklin B. Gowen, 1876-10-02
Correspondence from a clergyman informing Gowen of \"Mollies\" that are present in his district., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Cash advanced to Charles and Edward MacParlan, 1877-03-15
[Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and R. J. Linden to F. B. Gowen, 1879-11-26
Communication encloses report on information gathered on trial witnesses at Harrisburg on 1879-11-24., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Service and expense account for Molly Maguires operations from 1878-02-03 to 1878-03-02
Account for multiple operatives to be paid by Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Co. Account lists items such as room and board accommodations, transportation costs, telegraph costs, and other incidental expenses., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and Benjamin Franklin to F. B. Gowen, 1875-06-16
Communication encloses the report of operative, R. J. L. (likely R. J. Linden), who has been assigned to investigate men suspected of committing depredations on company roads. The operative is at Shenandoah City, Schuylkill County, Pa., and is awaiting an opportunity to make arrests in the case. The report covers 1875-05-24 to 1875-06-14 and includes details on miners' attitudes toward the current strike., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and George H. Bangs to Franklin B. Gowen, 1877-10-18
Communication concerning an operation being conducted by the New York agency in the Luzerne Coal District. The report gives an account of a meeting of Molly Maguires at Bellevue, Pa., on the property of a Scranton, Pa., police officer on 1877-10-15. The account includes a list of names of every person present at the meeting and details the 'goods' adopted at the meeting as coded communication signals for members of the branch., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Synopsis of report from Philadelphia relating to trials at Harrisburg
Writer gives an account of his meetings with various people. Among others, names mentioned include Robert Graves, Salter, Thomas Ashton, D. C. Clarke, Samuel Huhn, George F. Smith, and Robert Gillespie., Full handwritten report found at Hagley ID: 1520_1001_04_22., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Services rendered and expenses incurred by Robert J. Linden of Pinkerton's National Detective Agency in connection with the arrests and trials of the Molly Maguires in Schuylkill County, Pa.
Service and expense account for multiple operatives to be paid by Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Co. Expenses include items such as room accommodations, telegraph costs, transportation costs, laundry, 'treating' suspects to drinks or meals, and other incidentals., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and Benjamin Franklin to F. B. Gowen, 1875-02-15
Communication encloses a continuation of the report of P. M. Cummings, an operative assigned to join and observe the miners union at St. Clair, Pennsylvania. The report includes the time period from to 1875-01-19 to 1875-02-07., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and Benjamin Franklin to F. B. Gowen, 1875-07-15
Communication encloses the reports of operatives, A. T. L., C. M. P. and R. W. P., who have been assigned in connection with the investigation of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal & Iron Company on the Legislative Committee to ascertain whether or not 'unscrupulous means were being used on the part of persons who had been prominent in having the investigation set on foot.' The reports run from 1875-05-07 to 1875-07-12., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Correspondence, H.B. Hanmore to Franklin B. Gowen, 1875-04-02
Correspondence regarding an article written by an unknown author published in the \"Philadelphia Times\" and \"Miner's Journal.\, [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Correspondence, Howard B. Hanmore to Franklin B. Gowen, 1875-05-08
Correspondence requesting a response to past letters., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
List of Members of the A.O.H. [Ancient Order of Hibernians]
Schuylkill, Luzerne, Carbon, Columbia, and Northumberland Counties, Pennsylvania, [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Service and expense account for operative, G. W. P., of Pinkerton's National Detective Agency operatives from 1878-07-28 to 1878-10-19
Account totaling $600.54 lists items such as transportation costs, drinks, cigars, 'treating' suspects, and other incidental expenses., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Service and expense account for investigations connected with the Burus murder by Pinkerton's National Detective Agency operatives
Account for multiple operatives to be paid by Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Co. Account lists items such as room and board accommodations, transportation costs, telegraph costs, and other incidental expenses., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Correspondence, H.B. Hanmore to Franklin B. Gowen, 1875-04-04
Correspondence regarding evidence against Molly Maguire members who allegedly set fire to the shaft on February 15, 1875., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Correspondence, Henry Pleasants to Franklin B. Gowen, 1875-05-05
Correspondence regarding communication between Gowen and Hanmore., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and Benjamin Franklin to F. B. Gowen, 1875-03-02
Communication encloses the report of James [McParlan] (alias James McKenna), who has been assigned to visit and report on the Molly Maguires. McParlan reports from Shenandoah City in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Among other news, McParlan observes that general feeling is that the company had burned the East Norwegian Shaft in order to prejudice the public against the men on strike and that the local Catholic priest would not permit the Molly Maguires attending church in regalia on St. Patrick's Day. The report includes the time period from 1875-02-17 to 1875-02-26., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807
Allan Pinkerton and Benjamin Franklin to F. B. Gowen, 1874-12-11
Communication encloses the report of James [McParlan] (alias James McKenna), who has been assigned to visit and report on the Molly Maguires. The report covers the time period from 1874-11-13 to 1874-12-08. Among other notes, McParlan details local opinions on the Reading Railroad Company and an incident of shots being fired at a Catholic church., [Description and dates], Hagley ID, Box/folder number, Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

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