The Clarence Darrow Digital Collection
Written letter from Clarence Darrow collection
Collage of Clarence Darrow at different ages Postcard from Clarence Darrow Collection

Clarence Darrow Signature

The Clarence Darrow Letters

W. A. Pinkerton to Clarence Darrow, February 2, 1907

William Pinkerton is most likely referring to Cyrus S. Simon. In June of 1902 several lawyers, including Cyrus Simon, an attorney for the Chicago Union Traction Company, were indicted for conspiracy for bribing jurors to return favorable verdicts for the Chicago Union Traction Company. Darrow helped defend several of the lawyers although accounts vary about whether he defended Simon. All the defendants were convicted although several defendants successfully appealed. In 1903, shortly after Edgar Lee Masters joined Darrow's law firm, Darrow hired Cyrus Simon to join the firm. Darrow had wanted to bring Simon in as a full partner but Masters objected. Masters was especially against putting Simon in the firm's name. Simon was also Jewish and at this time Jews were effectively barred from many established Chicago law firms. Darrow and his partners compromised and Simon was brought in as a junior partner but his name was not added to the firm name or placed on its stationary. Simon acted in the capacity of a claims agent by collecting on overdue bills owed to the firm. Eventually the firm discovered Simon was pocketing money and some of the partners wanted to prosecute him but Darrow let him resign without publicity. William Pinkerton once referred to Simon as "a smart little fellow."

The book Pinkerton sent to Darrow was written by his father Allen Pinkerton. Titled "The Mollie Maguires and the Detectives," it was published in 1877. Since this is near the time of the Haywood trial, Darrow would have been interested in the notorious Mollie Maguires investigation because the undercover detective that infiltrated the group was James McParland, who as a Pinkerton agent was also the main detective helping to solve the murder of Frank Steunenberg. McParland's undercover work into the Mollie Maguires led to a series of sensational trials from 1876 to 1878 in which 20 members of the Molly Maguires were executed. There is still a lot of controversy about whether the Molly Maguires actually existed.

Click on the image to view as a PDF. A transcription of the letter is on the right.

W.A. Pinkerton,
201 Fifth Avenue,
Chicago, Feb. 1st, 1907.

Dear Mr. Darrow:-

Through our mutual friend, Mr. Simon, I received three volumes of your works. The same are highly appreciated by me. I have taken them home to read and expect to enjoy them very much. The books were in the office 24 hours before I knew they were here, as the chief clerk, knowing I was busy, did not send them to my room immediately and then overlooked it for a day. Otherwise I would have acknowledged them sooner.

Mr. Simon stated you wanted a copy of the book called The Molly McGuires, and I take pleasure in sending copy of this book to you with my compliments.

Hoping some time to have the pleasure of seeing you and thanking you for your courtesy, I am,

Very truly yours,

B-2 W.A. Pinkerton

Clarence S. Darrow, Esq.,
1202 Ashland Block,