Burton Turkus Papers

Description and Preliminary Inventory

June 2007
By Ellen Belcher
Special Collections Librarian

The Burton Turkus Papers in the Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections Room document the professional life of Burton Turkus (1902-1982). The bulk of this portion of his papers focus on his work as Assistant District Attorney and Chief of the Homicide Division in the Office of the District Attorney, Kings County (Brooklyn) 1940-1945. During this time he investigated and prosecuted key members of the organized crime syndicate based in Brownsville, Brooklyn that came to be known as "Murder Inc." For more on this syndicate, its history and eventual demise, please see the following book and film:

Burton Turkus with Sid Feder (1992)
Murder, inc.: The story of "the syndicate." New York : Da Capo Press, 1992.
Stacks - HV 6446 .T87 1992

Burt Balaban and Stuart Rosenberg, directors (1960)
Murder inc. 20th Century Fox
Media Collection, Reserve - DVD-176

This collection was donated to the library by Mrs. Ann Turkus in 2000. Other portions of Turkus' papers were donated to the Kheel Center at Cornell University and the Brooklyn Collection of the Brooklyn Public Library, which has recently digitized the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Photograph Collection (1900-1950), including many images related to the investigation and prosecution of Murder Inc. There is also a "Murder Inc." collection at the Municipal Archives of NYC.

Preliminary Inventory
Box 1: Papers, Correspondence, unpublished manuscripts and notes.
Box 2: Photographs and related materials, formerly in scrapbooks. The contents of this box have been digitized and are available in our Crime in New York 1850-1950 Digital Library.
Box 3: Rolled group photographs, very fragile
Boxes 4-5: Scrapbooks of News clippings 1930s-1940s
Box 6: Scrapbooks of News clippings 1940s-1950s
Box 7: Loose News clippings 1930s-1940s
Box 8: Loose News clippings 1940s-1950s
Box 9: Loose News clippings 1930s-1990s
Boxes 10-11: Miscellaneous Magazines (with articles related to Burton Turkus)
Boxes 12-13: Framed Photographs
Box 14: Framed Photographs and News clippings- Oversized
Boxes 15-18: Framed Certificates, Diplomas and Plaques
Oversized: Two oversized News clippings

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For access to the collection, contact Prof. Ellen Belcher, Special Collections Librarian via e-mail at ebelcher@jjay.cuny.edu or by mail at the Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 899 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10019.

Last updated 6/07.