HARGRAVE SECRET SERVICE SINCE 1888
This is my attempt to recreate the billboard ad, in the advertisement blotter. I copied the Hargrave-bird logo from one of the many Hargrave signs. I used MS Paint to white-out the surrounding detail, and pasted into WordPad. Then I used MS Paint again, to move the text further up each side of the logo.
Hargrave Secret Service – Company Information
Hargrave Secret Service was one of the oldest protection and investigative companies in the United States with branch offices around the world. This was a world-wide network of Hargrave branch offices and/or investigative correspondents.
During the years that George Hargrave was president, he was known throughout the world as the granddaddy of private investigators.
One of the company’s more famous cases was the capture of John Dillinger in Chicago. The “lady in red” that acted as an undercover agent in the capture and shooting death of Dillinger outside a Chicago theatre was employed by the Hargrave Secret Service.
The Hargrave brand name has been in existence ‘since 1888’, it later became franchised nationwide. With international correspondents worldwide. The company has had a complex history of reorganizations, franchising, branches spinning-off after franchisor company dissolved, and the international operations (which had been independent) involved in mergers.
In 1888, Edward J. Hargrave established the EDWARD J HARGRAVE SECRET SERVICE, a proprietorship founded in St. Louis, Missouri. By the 1920s, the firm was marketed as Chicago’s leading detective service. In the 1920’s the words “Edward J” were dropped from the company name. Edward J. Hargrave passed away in 1932. leaving the firm to George E. Hargrave. The Chicago office was the principal office, the business was franchised, and the company incorporated by July 1st, of 1969. The prior incorporation during the 1920’s, was Edward Hargrave’s incorporation of the business.
The original desk of Hargrave Secret Service, from 1888.
At the time, these companies were more like family companies. It was common for the sons of the owner, to open branch offices in principle cities, such as Chicago. Not just Hargrave Secret Service, but also the Pinkertons International Detective Agency and the William J Burns International Detective Agency. And used franchising to expand and grow their respective companies.
Original desk, front view.
On November 12th, 1932, Edward J. Hargrave, head of the Secret Service firm which beared his name, died in the afternoon at his home after two days of illness. Edward J. Hargrave was 64 years old. Source: New York Times – Nov 12, 1932.
These are artifacts from the original ‘Edward J Hargrave Secret Service’, from a past era when the firm was owned and operated by if’s original founder.
Dillinger and the ‘Lady in Red’
Driving across the Indiana-Illinois state line in a stolen vehicle, Dillinger violated a federal law and thus caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. An investigation concerning the facts of the escape had been carried out some time later by the Hargrave Secret Service of Chicago, Illinois on the orders of the Illinois governor. The governor and Illinois state Attorney General Philip Lutz eventually chose not to release information because they did not want Dillinger to know of the informants with whom they spoke. As a result the findings about the gun in the escape were never made public, and this, coupled with Dillinger himself actively perpetuating the wooden gun story as an ego boost, is a reason many believe the “wooden gun” escape was real. The truth behind the infamous gun may never be known.
The woman who gave up Dillinger was a paid operative for Chicago’s old Hargrave Secret Service, a private detective agency.
Lady in Red
Dillinger’s last day of freedom was July 22nd, 1934. Dillinger attended the film Manhatton Melodrama at the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago with his girlfriend, Polly Hamilton, and grothel owner Ana Cumpanas (a.k.a. Anna Sage), who was facing deportation charges. Sage worked out a deal with Purvis and the FBI to set up an ambush for Dillinger and drop the deportation charges against her. When they exited the theater that night, Sage tipped off the FBI who opened fire into the back of Dillinger, killing him. Sage had identified herself to agent Melvin Pervis by wearing an agreed-upon orange and white dress, which due to the night lights, led to the enduring notion of the “Lady in Red” as a betraying character. Though she had delivered Dillinger as promised, Sage was still deported to her home country of Romania in 1936, where she remained until her death 11 years later.
Interestingly enough, in 1991. While I worked at Wisconsin Electric Power Company, in downtown Milwaukee for Burns International, part of a made for TV movie called Dillinger was being filmed. Probably because of all the marble walls.
In 1963, after the presidential assassination of John F. Kennedy, the CIA considered using Hargrave Secret Service, for investigating the homicide.
Click on the links below “Page 1” and “Page 2” to see the documentation.
MEMO: HARGRAVE SECRET SERVICE NARA Record Number: 104-10164-10463
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASED IN FULL 1998
Information from declassified CIA documents pertaining to Hargrave Secret Service:
Hargrave Secret Service, 6 West Randolph Street, Chicago, IL
The telephone directory reflects the company was formed in 1888 and has offices and/or representatives in the principle cities of the world. Albert Johnson, an ex-FBI man doubts that these are any more than investigative correspondents.
George E. Hargrave is sole owner, and is the son of the founder. He is a big, 250 pound man who has been married 5 times. In business, he is the type to put on a big show and is not averse to putting more men than necessary on a job in order to charge his client a higher price and profit accordingly.
Richard Cain, Chief Investigator, Cook County Sheriff’s office distrust Hargrave. He said he knows him personally and does not regard him as a discreet person.
CIA document from December 23, 1963, Released as Sanitized in 1998.
Hargrave Badge & Patch Sets (if available), & Trade Names
HARGRAVE SECURITY INTERNATIONAL, INC. The international operations had spun-off in 1978. At the time George E. Hargrave (the franchisor) dissolved his corporation. This was the Hargrave entity that G4S acquired in England/Europe. Hargrave Security entities in the United States were unaffected by this, and were not acquired.
HARGRAVE SECURITY SERVICES, INC.
In 1970, the largest private detective agencies re-structured themselves as private security (guard) agencies. This is called the ‘security-boom’. They shedded private detective work, except for that which pertains to combating industrial espionage. As industrial plants were their target market.
Hargrave Security Service badge
Hargrave Security Patch of the 1970s.
In 1970, the top private detective agencies restructured themselves as private security agencies, and dominated the market.
HARGRAVE POLICE – (late- 1960’s/early-1970’s style)
PATCH EMBLEM & BADGE DESIGN
Patch Comparison- Original Hargrave Police & Milwaukee Police Department (mid-1960’s styles)
This HARGRAVE POLICE patch is based on the Milwaukee Police patch, of the 1960’s era. Notice that the pattern design of the outer edge of the Hargrave Police patch is less defined, than the MPD patch it’s based on. Also the Hargrave Police patch has a larger, 6-point star (the color is yellow), and that it’s location is lower. The patch cloth is navy blue cheesecloth.
The other style I’ve seen is based on the Wisc Highway Patrol patch (upside down triangle), with red boarder, the words “HARGRAVE POLICE” in red lettering (on upper half of patch), and a red 5-point star on lower half. This earlier patch, has the words larger, and too close to a 6-point star, which itself is much larger.
The above pictured HARGRAVE POLICE badge, is of a lower number sequence, and does not continue where the MERCHANTS POLICE, INC. badge number sequence left off.
This is because, this is an earlier HARGRAVE POLICE badge. But still newer, than the HARGRAVE SECRET SERVICE OF WISCONSIN, INC. badge (franchise-style), also pictured in this article.
This Hargrave entity only operated out of the Milwaukee branch office, and did not exist anywhere else.
HARGRAVE SECURITY SERVICES (Milwaukee Branch)
in the Milwaukee Sentinel, October 20th, 1975.
The people in this advertisement represent undercover, private detectives and one security guard from Hargrave Police, affiliated with Hargrave Security Services. Whether these persons are actually private detectives and a Hargave Police security guard, or just actors for the ad, is unknown. I think they’re actors. The Hargrave Police patch, worn by this security guard, is the same one that I have closeups on in this article.
Ralph P. Utt, Chief of Investigation, Hargrave Secret Service of Wisconsin, Inc.
The state-license number of his private detective license is 1070-63.
This was my father’s boss at Hargrave. My father David L. Griffin, was a private detective (state-license #423-63), Security Manager (during the 1960’s), and had also underwent training at a polygraph school in New York, during which he stayed at the Plaza Hotel.
The franchise-owner with permission to use the Hargrave name, was Harold S. Leich. Another state-licensed private detective, whose credential number was 2766-63. Harold S. Leich also owned two (2) other private protection agencies, Merchants Police, Inc., which was founded in 1893, by his father, Frederick Leich (a former Milwaukee County Coroner). Merchants Police, Inc. was the largest contract security firm in Milwaukee, and in the State of Wisconsin, from the time it was established (1888) to 1973. The Badge-R Protective Services, Inc., is the other security firm, and he also owned Guardian Janitorial Services, Inc.
HARGRAVE SECRET SERVICE, INC.
Franchised versions of the Uniformed Division of Hargrave Secret Service badge and patch.
Incorporated and then franchised by George E. Hargrave, the son of the founder. Their target market is presumed to be grocery stores, to which they offered store detective and retail security guard services. They offered general detective work to the public, businesses, and government.
Office Building where Hargrave Secret Service of Wisconsin, Inc. was located during the 1960s.
Hargrave Security Service of Wisconsin, Inc. (invoices)
EDWARD J HARGRAVE SECRET SERVICE
Founded in 1888, by Edward J Hargrave (the founder), the company was a DBA, as it was unincorporated while he owned it.
If anyone has any photos ( .jpg ) of any Hargrave Secret Service or Hargrave Security Services or Hargrave Police, that they would like to see added to this article, just let me know, and I’ll add it.
I have an image of my father’s business card and some images of Hargrave Security Service patches (for the left shoulder area). One idea is if anyone has any of other Hargrave patch or badge designs, or even a sample of the company letterhead. The Detective Agency Blotter from the 1920’s era, is a good example of a photo adding more to this article.
Hargrave Secret Service and Hargrave Security Services were of the franchise.
Hargrave Police was operated only in Milwaukee, during the 1964 to 1970 era.