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ABDUCTION OF CHARLIE BREWSTER ROSS/ ON JULY 1ST, 1874, AT ABOUT FOUR O'CLOCK, P.M., CHARLIE BREWSTER, AND WALTER, THE LATTER ABOUT SIX YEARS OLD, SONS OF CHRISTIAN K. ROSS, WERE TAKEN FROM THE SIDE-WALK IN FRONT OF THEIR FATHER'S RESIDENCE, ON WASHINGTON LANE, GERMANTOWN, PA., BY TWO MEN IN A BUGGY. WALTER WAS CARRIED ABOUT FIVE MILES, AND THERE LEFT UPON THE STREET; BUT OF CHARLIE NO SUBSEQUENT CLUE HAS BEEN OBTAINED..
Philadelphia: Wm F. Murphy's Sons, Printers & Stationers, 1874. 5.5" x 8.5", as folded. [3], [1 blank] pp. Caption title [as issued]. Albumen head-and-shoulders oval portrait of Charlie Brewster Ross is pasted at the head of title. Pinkerton issued this document explaining the abduction, describing Charlie and his kidnappers, listing questions to pose to the child if found for identification, and reward information. Tanned, light waterstaining. Several wormholes in blank margins, light chipping to top edges [no text loss]. Good+. Charles Brewster Ross was born in 1870 to Christian and Sarah Ross in Germantown, a suburb of Philadelphia. On July 1, 1874, two men in a buggy kidnapped Charlie and his six year old brother Walter. The kidnappers let Walter go after five miles and kept Charlie. Having assumed, incorrectly, that Christian Ross was wealthy, the kidnappers sent a ransom demand for $20,000. Despite living in a large house in an upper class neighborhood, Christian was deeply in debt; his wife's wealthy merchant brothers, who lived close by, put up the ransom. Three attempts were made to pay the kidnappers by way of police stings; all were unsuccessful. The family hired Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. Allan Pinkerton issued this handbill and attached an albumen picture of Charlie to all copies. Over the next four months the kidnappers mailed 23 ransom notes. By November, 1874, the police zeroed in on William Mosher and Joseph Douglas, two known criminals. Unfortunately, they were both shot during a robbery in December 1874. Mosher died instantly; Douglas admitted in his dying breath that they had indeed kidnapped Charlie, but that only Mosher knew where the child was held. Police had no leads as to his location other than one ransom note which mentioned the $20,000 as the "lever" which could move the rock which hid their son. In 1875, as a direct result of this case, Pennsylvania became the first State to call kidnapping a felony. In 1876 Christian Ross released a book detailing the story of his son's kidnapping in hopes of raising money to continue the search for him. Charlie was never found. [Ross, Christian Kunket: THE FATHER'S STORY OF CHARLEY ROSS, THE KIDNAPPED CHILD: CONTAINING A FULL AND COMPLETE ACCOUNT...; J.E. Potter & Co. 1876.] Allan Pinkerton had been a Chicago police officer in the 1840s, and was appointed its first police detective in 1847. He opened his detective agency in 1850, hiring Kate Warne as the first American female detective, serving as head of the Union Intelligence Service during the Civil War, and recruiting John Scobell as the first African-American Union Intelligence Agent. Pinkerton foiled an assassination attempt on president-elect Lincoln in 1861, and invented the photographic mug shot. He used small albumen photographs on wanted posters for train robbers and outlaws. This photographic circular for the abduction of Charlie Ross is believed to be the first of its kind prepared for a kidnapping case; Pinkerton is said to have printed over 100,000 copies. Although not the first kidnapping and ransom case, the Ross case grew in notoriety thanks to Pinkerton's circular which received national recognition. Pinkerton Investigative Services is still in existence today. [www.pinkerton.com/history] OCLC 81570874 [5], 33979081 [3] [as of September 2015].
      [Bookseller: David M. Lesser, Fine Antiquarian Books ]
Last Found On: 2018-02-17           Check availability:      Biblio    

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