The Margaret Sanger Papers


Probably Burns, William J. (1861-1932)

Detective. Married Annie M. Ressler in 1880, six children. Trained in business, Burns became a detective in Columbus, Ohio, after his father was appointed police commissioner of the city. In 1889 he joined the United States Secret Service where he gained national attention exposing counterfeiting schemes. In 1903, working for the Department of the Interior, Burns uncovered massive land frauds in Oregon, Washington and California. Founded the William J. Burns National Detective Agency in New York with his son Raymond in 1909 and gained widespread publicity for bringing about the 1911 arrests of militant labor union activists accused of dynamiting buildings, including the Los Angeles Times building in 1910. Burns' detectives also played roles in government efforts to track down and arrest Industrial Workers of the World members on various charges.
References: Melvyn Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World, 2nd ed. (1988)