Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #113 begins on 29 Feb 2024

[Captain Joseph C. GRANNAN (1832-1905)].

[Two works] Grannan's Pocket Gallery of Noted Criminals ... [and:] Grannan's Warning Against Fraud and Valuable Information

Steam-Punk-Dark-Web Face-Book (includes the James Gang) + a more general knowlege work

Published: Spencer & Craig Printing Works,, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1889

Edition: 1st edition

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[Captain Joseph C. GRANNAN (1832-1905)].

Grannan's Pocket Gallery of Noted Criminals of the Present Day, containing portraits of noted and dangerous criminals, pickpockets, burglars, bank sneaks, safe blowers, and all-around thieves, published by the Grannan Detective Bureau Co. [Cincinnati, Ohio]: [Frederick] Spencer & [Walton] Craig [Sr.] Printing Works, 1889. 12mo (5 1/8 x 3 1/4in; 130 x 83mm). Pp.[1-]2-80, light blue/light pink laminated (?) wove paper stock resulting in alternating pairs of pink and blue pages,  67 wood-engraved vignette portraits from photographs (1 of Grannan, 1 of the Cincinnati Police Chief, 1 of an associate of Grannan’s; 55 ‘mug-shots’ of white male criminals, 1 ‘mug-shot’ of a white female criminal; 8 images of the James gang: Jesse James,  Frank James, Cole Younger, Jim Younger, Bob Younger, Clem [sic.] Miller, Bill Chadwell and Charlie Pitts). Original black ‘fish-scale’ textured cloth, oatmeal-toned endpapers (extremities bumped, inner hinges of free endpapers weak/splitting).

First edition, touted, in the Introduction, as being the ‘Detective’s Pocket Companion’ and ‘absolutely indispensable to every detective’. The blue/pink paperstock is very unusual.

This first editon is quite rare, especially in this condition. There are two other examples of later editions for sale - one at 2750 GBP.


[Captain Joseph C. GRANNAN (1832-1905)].

Grannan's Warning Against Fraud and Valuable Information. A treatise upon subjects relating to crime and business, and also embracing many practical suggestions for everyday life. Published by the Grannan Detective Bureau Co. Akron, Ohio:  the Werner Ptg. & Litho. Co., 1890. Octavo (7 5/8 x 5 1/4in; 193 x 133mm). Pp.[i- ]14; [5-]512. Portrait frontispiece of Grannan. Original brown cloth, spine gilt, patterned endpapers (neat repairs to inner joints).

Early edition, including sections on how various crimes were dealt with by the law, the ‘Oshkosh Case’, various ‘swindling games and tricks’, definitions of various legal terms, etc.  

The first work was published by the Grannan Detective Bureau, which operated over most of the Midwest from around 1883, and appeared in Cincinnati city directories until 1905. The majority of the images and information in the book was gathered in September 1888 in Columbus. Ohio, during the National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Ohio Centennial Exposition. The ‘most formidable array of detective talent that had ever been bought together’ (Introduction) was assembled under the leadership of Chief of Police John E. Murphy of Columbus who had come up with the idea of watching the expected crowds for known criminals. The operation was a success and ‘inside of eight hours … forty-two of the smartest crooks were languishing behind bars. Each was weighed and an accurate description … written down, including color of eyes, hair and complexion, height, marks, scars, and peculiar characteristics. They were then taken in squads to the photographer whose pictures of them were taken for the Rogues’ Gallery. Captain Grannan obtained these photographs and is using them … The likenesses are pronounced perfect, and the portraits sent out in this book are the consummation of the engraver’s skill.

In addition … Captain Grannan has selected from his own private Gallery… and has also obtained a few others from the Rogues’ Galleries of the police departments of the principal cities of the Union … making in all a collection of sixty-four of the greatest rogues of the present day. A few of these are not in active work [e.g. the James Gang] … but are given a place on account of their great historical interest.

The portraits themselves, taken from photographs, are really excellent – as they needed to be if they were to be used to identify the subjects. The 1892 4th edition mentions that the images were produced “under the immediate supervision of Mr. H. W. Weisbrodt, who has no superior as a portrait engraver in the country", he is not mentioned in the present work but may well have been responsible.

The founder of the detective bureau was Joseph C. Grannan (1832-1905), a Civil War veteran who had served as an officer with several cavalry units. Post-war he became a Cincinnati policeman, before setting up his bureau.


Jay Nash, The Great Pictorial History of World Crime, Vol. 2, pp. 389-391; OCLC 82457851

  • Binding Condition: excellent
  • Overall Condition: excellent
  • Size: 5 1/8 x 3 1/4in; 130 x 83mm
  • Sold By: Shadowrock Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Adam Langlands
  • Country: United States
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 001-860-248-1547
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Paypal, US$ checks and wire transfers, major credit cards through paypal
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved

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