Ellen Belcher & Matt Murphy

In addition to anxiously awaiting the opening of our new state-of-the-art Special Collections Room, we have been busy acquiring and cataloging some interesting items. Below is a selection of what we have acquired in the last year. All of these items are available to researchers by appointment in our current Special Collections Room. Please contact Ellen Belcher with any questions about these or anything in our Special Collections.

Woman police officer

At left: c. 1890s “Oh you policewoman….” Broadside-valentine with a caricature of a policewoman. A digital copy of this broadside will be uploaded to our Digital Collections.

Rare books and broadsides recently acquired

1889 (New York) Police Signal Telegraphs: The Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company, New York. This title is freely digitally available through SMU Libraries. This catalog offers the latest state-of-the-art (at the time) alarm and communication systems to police and private security firms. It also features the company’s offering in horse drawn police patrol wagons. 

1901 (New York) Volunteer prison work. A small pamphlet by Maud Ballington Booth, describing her efforts to help incarcerated men reenter society, specifically through the opening of “Hope Halls,” which acted as halfway houses. Apart from being a well-known prison reformer, Booth helped co-found Volunteers of America. 

Advertisement1905 (Philadelphia) Jacob Reed’s Sons Uniforms Police & Firemen. This catalog includes a variety of uniforms, badges, insignia, whistles, handcuffs, leggings, hats, helmets and nightsticks. This copy is marked with pencil marks, presumably made by an agency choosing uniforms and accessories for their force. (See image at right.)

1919 (Ottawa) Annual Report of the Canadian Criminal Identification Bureau to the Chief Commissioner of the Dominion Police. This report documents an initiative which began sharing of fingerprint records between police agencies in North America. 

1928 (Detroit) Annual report of the Detroit Police Department Women’s Division. It is interesting to note that Detroit was not represented in the meeting of the heads of the “women’s bureaus” in 1927. (See image below.)

1956 (Warwick, NY) New York Training School for Boys, Disciplinary Practices. A small pamphlet discusses ways to deal with behavioral problems of boys incarcerated at this reform school. Includes sections on “What a Boy Does Not Like” and “What a Boy Likes” with emphasis on confidence building and conflict resolution. 

Women posing for photo

(Above) “Heads of Women’s Bureaus Gather in Convention.” 12th Annual Convention of Policewomen, Cleveland, Ohio. Police Journal August 1927 p. 19. (Periodicals HV7551 .P57)


Book, The Black Traffic in White Girls

(Above) 1912 (Chicago) The Black Traffic in White Girls. White Slavery as Now Practiced in America, Including Detailed Descriptions of the Customs and Manners of the White Women Slaves and Wives of Asia, Turkey, Egypt, etc. This book is one of many cheap paperbacks on “White Slavery” marketed to a variety of readers. In its description of sex workers and sex trafficking in Chicago, it served both as a warning to parents of women who sought independent lives in the big city and as soft-core porn to those interested in specifics of sex work practices.


Prison print

(Above) 1823 (Paris) Les hermites en prison, ou, Consolations de Sainte-Pélagie A work by Etienne de Jouy (the pseudonym of Victor-Joseph-Etienne de Jouy) and Antoine Jay, both of whom served time in Paris’ Sainte-Pélagie prison. The work is chiefly a discussion of penology, but of note is a chapter on New York’s notorious Newgate prison, accompanied by this illustration depicting the prison.

Photo of carriage

(Above) 1880s? Photo of men posing in and on a horse-drawn carriage labeled “Hecker Bunch.” On August 1, 1883, The New York Times reported on a large fire which started and spread from the Hecker and Co. Flour Mill at 464 Water St. Perhaps this photo is related to that event? A fireman lays on top of the carriage.

Manuscript (archival) collections recently acquired

April 1833. A hand written account of Sing Sing Prison for the month of April 1833 signed by Dr. Robert Wiltse, warden, A. Graham, John Sing, commissioners, on May 18, 1833. 

1905-1913 Notebook of the Chief Marshal of Dover, N.H. Detailed notes on arrests and raids, mainly related to enforcing prohibition laws in New Hampshire. 

January 20, 1913. American Fire Apparatus, 1 Madison Ave. Estimate for installing fire escapes and fire fighting apparatus for Manitou Putnam Company, property owners of 17 East 74th Street. 

1931–1935 Joseph “Specs” Russell Papers. See Larry Sullivan's article in this newsletter with more information on this collection. 

1960–2000s Joyce ‘Rocky’ Flint Collection on Jeffrey Dahmer. Documents collected by Dr. Kathleen Fitzgerald as a result of her collaboration with Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother to write a book, which was never completed. 

Elizabeth Williams Collection of Courtroom Drawings. Additions to our existing collection of Elizabeth Williams’ courtroom art, many of which were on exhibit in the Shiva Gallery this past Fall. 

Aggie Whelan Kenny Collection of Courtroom Drawings. A new collection of courtroom drawings, many of which were on exhibit in the Shiva Gallery this past Fall. 

1960s–2004 Jeremy Travis Personal Papers. Papers collected during the career of Jeremy Travis at Yale, NYU, NYPD, NIJ, DOJ, Urban Institute, and under Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chuck Schumer and Ed Koch, before he became president of John Jay College in August of 2004. 

1951–1960s Jack LaTorre Collection Ten boxes of files related to the NYPD investigation of the March 8, 1951 homicide of Arnold Schuster. 


More from the Spring 2018 newsletter »