History & Celebrations Today – August 25

Celebrations Today – August 25

Holidays and observances

Celebrations Today – USA: August 25

National Whiskey Sour Day
National Kiss and Make Up Day
National Secondhand Wardrobe Day
National Banana Split Day
National Second-hand Wardrobe Day

Today in US History: August 25

The Pinkertons

Allan Pinkerton
The Late Allan Pinkerton,
Wood Engraving,
Illustration from Harper’s Weekly,
July 12, 1884.
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

Allan Pinkerton (1819-84), founder of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on August 25, 1819. Pinkerton emigrated to the United States in 1842 and eventually established a barrel-making shop in a small town outside of Chicago. He was an ardent abolitionist, and his shop functioned as a “station” for escaped slaves traveling the Underground Railroad to freedom in the North.

Pinkerton’s career as a detective began by chance when he discovered a gang of counterfeiters operating in an area where he was gathering wood. His assistance—first in arresting these men and then another counterfeiter, led to his appointment as deputy sheriff of Kane County, Illinois, and, later, as Chicago’s first full-time detective.

Pinkerton left his job with the Chicago police force to start his own detective agency. One of the first of its kind, this predecessor to Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, provided an array of private detective services—specializing in the capture of train robbers and counterfeiters and in providing private security services for a variety of industries. By the 1870s, Pinkerton’s growing agency had accumulated an extensive collection of criminal dossiers and mug shots that became a model for other police forces.

In 1861, while investigating a railway case, Pinkerton uncovered an apparent assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln. It was believed that conspirators intended to kill Lincoln in Baltimore during a stop along the way to his inauguration. Pinkerton warned Lincoln of the threat, and the president-elect’s itinerary was changed so that he passed through the city secretly at night.

Union General George McClellan later hired Pinkerton to organize a “secret service” to obtain military information in the Southern states during the Civil War. Pinkerton sent agents into Kentucky and West Virginia, and, traveling under the pseudonym “Major E. J. Allen,” performed his own investigative work in Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi.

After McClellan was replaced as the commander of the Army of the Potomac in 1862, Pinkerton resumed the management of his detective agency. The agency expanded after the Civil War, opening offices in New York City (1865) and Philadelphia (1866). As his business grew, Pinkerton drew public attention to its work by producing a series of popular “true crime” stories.

Allan Pinkerton on Horseback
Antietam, Md. Allan Pinkerton (“E. J. Allen”) of the Secret Service on Horseback,
Alexander Gardner, photographer,
September 1862.
Selected Civil War Photographs

Lincoln and Pinkerton
Antietam, Md. Allan Pinkerton, President Lincoln, and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand; Another View,
Alexander Gardner, photographer,
October 3, 1862.
Selected Civil War Photographs

In time, because Pinkerton’s Agency was often hired by industrialists to provide intelligence information on union-organizing efforts, Pinkerton guards and agents gained notoriety as strikebreakers. Notable confrontations between Pinkerton agents and laborers include the 1886 Haymarket Riot and the 1892 Homestead Strike, both of which occurred after Pinkerton’s death in 1884.

Explosion of Bomb May 4th, in Haymarket Square, Chicago
The Anarchist-Labor Troubles in Chicago,
From a sketch by C. Bunnell,
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper,
May 15, 1886.
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

The Labor Troubles at Homestead, Pennsylvania
The Labor Troubles at Homestead, Pennsylvania,
Drawn by Miss G. A. Davis from a sketch by Charles Upham,
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper,
July 14, 1892.
Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

Today in History – August 25-External Links

Today’s Weather in History
Today in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
Today’s Document from the National Archives
Today’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
Today in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – Today’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
Today in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia