Bank-Robbers and the Detectives [Autographed by Robert A. Pinkerton].

Written by detective and spy Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency—“The Pinkertons”


Bank-Robbers and the Detectives tells the true story of the robbery of the First National Bank in Somerset, Michigan. It was written by Allan Pinkerton (1819–1884), noted Scottish-American private detective and spy. This copy has a presentation inscription from Pinkerton’s son and successor, Robert Allan Pinkerton (1848–1907).

The inscription reads in full: “Frank H. Stott Esq. Compliments of Robt. A. Pinkerton.” Francis Horatio “Frank” Stott (1832–1900), the son of a woolen mill owner in Stottsville, Columbia County, New York, was for many years the “Commodore” of the Atlantic Yacht Club of Brooklyn.

After the death of his father, Robert A. Pinkerton and his twin brother, William, became co-directors of their father’s detective agency, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

Included within Bank-Robbers and the Detectives are four additional short stories by Allan Pinkerton, “A Modern Eugene Aram,” a reference to the notorious British murderer of the same name (immortalized by poet Thomas Hood and novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton); “The Old Coin Dealer;” “Early Illinois Justice;” and A Sham Prince, a tale of an New York City society imposter who poses a the son of an Egyptian potentate.

“The Old Coin Dealer,” Pinkerton writes in the preface, “will be well remembered by many residents of New York city, and the history of his wealth, and the refinements of his home, so entirely at variance with his life abroad…can be vouched for by many reputable people who are acquainted with the facts related.” (px)

Allan Pinkerton emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1842. Moving to Chicago in 1850, he investigated counterfeiting for the U.S. Treasury Department, mail theft at the Chicago post office, and railroad theft, the latter involving an elaborate spy system. At this time, Pinkerton set up a private police force which later became known as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency—popularly called “The Pinkertons.” Pinkerton’s motto, “We Never Sleep,” along with an image of an eye is stamped in gilt on both the upper cover and spine of of the book.

Pinkerton’s spying for the federal government continued during the Civil War. Notably, he foiled an assassination attempt against President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Pinkerton is also noted for his controversial work in infiltrating the secret Irish-American fraternity, The Molly Maguires, and for policing labor strikes. Pinkerton agents also helped to search for and kill such Wild West outlaws as Jesse James and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

According to American National Biography (ANB), “To tap into the popular ‘yellow book’ publications glamorizing the exploits of detectives, and at the same time correct many misrepresentations, [Allan] Pinkerton published sixteen detective books between 1874 and 1884. Some were matter-of-fact ‘true detective stories,’ which retold past cases, while others were not stories at all but descriptions of various crimes and criminals. Like Pinkerton’s detective activities, his literary efforts were a cooperative endeavor—different authors under his supervision put his memories on paper.”

Bank-Robbers and the Detectives is the thirteenth title in Allan Pinkerton’s series, Great Detective Books.


Description: Bank-Robbers and the Detectives [Autographed by Robert A. Pinkerton].

New York: G.W. Carleton & Co., Publishers, MDCCCLXXXIII [1883]. Frontispiece, [i]–x, [11]–339, [1 (blank)], 4 (publisher’s catalog), [2 (publisher’s ads)]pp. + Illustration plates. Sm. 8vo. Publisher’s illustrated green cloth, stamped in gilt and blind. Inscribed on preliminary leaf by author’s son, Robert A. Pinkerton. Gilt spine lettering dulled; minor rubbing at tail of spine; very good.

[3726635]

Price: $150.00