Burns, William J.

1921 signed photo of the famed detective while head of US Bureau of Investigation, FBI forerunner

Price: $135.00 Special Offer - $95.00



Description:
(1861-1932) "America's Sherlock Holmes," Director of the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) (predecessor to the FBI) Aug. 21, 1921-June 14, 1924. Burns performed well as a young Secret Service agent and parlayed his reputation into the William J. Burns International Detective Agency (now part of Securitas Security Services USA). A natural ability as a detective and an instinct for publicity made him a national figure, his exploits made national news, the gossip columns of NYC newspapers, and the pages of detective magazines, in which he published "true" crime stories based on his exploits. He was hired by the City of Los Angeles to catch the 1910 bombers of the Los Angeles Times building and conducted a private investigation clearing Leo Frank of the 1915 murder of Mary Phagan. Burns was considered well qualified to direct the Bureau of Investigation, and was friends with President Harding's Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty. He continued to run the Burns Detective Agency while Director of the BOI. Under Burns, the Bureau shrank from its 1920 high of 1,127 personnel to 600 employees in 1923. At the request of Attorney General Daugherty, Burns sent agents to investigate Montana US Rep Thomas J. Walsh for evidence of criminal wrongdoing; Walsh was instrumental in opposing oil leases granted by Interior Secretary Albert Fall. Burns later refused to turn over Justice Department documents to Congressional investigators, who in turn began investigating the BOI, covered in the press as the Daugherty-Burns scandal . BOI field agentsí clumsy attempts to intimidate newspaper editors caused a backlash in public opinion and Congress. Burns was forced to resign in 1924 and J. Edgar Hoover took over the position on a provisional basis. Burns also was indirectly involved in the Teapot Dome Scandal. In Nov. 1927, Harry F. Sinclair went on trial in federal court for conspiracy to defraud the US in the leasing of the Teapot Dome naval oil reserve. At the request of Sinclair oil executive Henry Mason Day, Burns secretly hired 14 men from the Burns Detective Agency to "investigate" his jurors. Day arranged for their compensation and received their daily reports. Midway through the trial, US investigators discovered Burns' agents, and a mistrial was immediately declared. At a new hearing, Sinclair was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to 6 months in jail, Day to 4 months, and Burns to 15 days; the Supreme Court later reversed Burns' conviction. ISP, 9 x 6 b&w Harris & Ewing of Washington studio bust portrait of Burns while Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, inscribed and signed with sentiment and dated November 21 1921 at lower left of 14 x 10 ivory Harris & Ewing mount. In Studio presentation folder.

Condition: Very good, 2 small spots at lower left on image
Type:Photograph






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