RG-30. RECORDS OF THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE
The Department of State Police was created in 1905 to help preserve law and order throughout the Commonwealth and to cooperate with and assist local law-enforcement officers in the apprehension of criminals. It was the first uniformed police organization of its kind in the United States. The original compliment number was limited by law to 228 officers who were expected to patrol the 45,000 square miles of Pennsylvania. The State Highway Patrol in the Department of Revenue, which had originally been established in the Department of Highways in 1923 to enforce motor vehicle laws, was merged with the department in 1937 to become the Pennsylvania Motor Police. The name of the agency was changed to Pennsylvania State Police in 1943. In keeping with its responsibility to assist local police departments, the State Police administer professional training programs for municipal police and provide direct assistance to state law enforcement agencies wishing to utilize the technical, scientific, and data resources of the department. They have jurisdiction in all political subdivisions in the state.
COMMISSIONER OF STATE POLICE
Ku Klux Klan General Correspondence, 1922-1929, 1932, 1934-1940. (5 boxes) Grouped chronologically by year of correspondence. Includes correspondence, membership lists, orders for supplies, telegrams, registration cards, photographs, and meeting minutes of Ku Klux Klan units in Pennsylvania. The bulk of the information contained within this series deals with membership issues and membership recruitment. Correspondence between officers of the Pennsylvania Klan relates to various events as well as issues with the Klan’s hierarchy. Notable events documented are rallies in Carnegie, Lilly, and Reading and the 1934 Thomas Abbott case. Most of the correspondence contained in the files is either addressed to or from Pennsylvania’s King Kleagle Samuel D. Rich or his successor Samuel G. Stouch III. Two photographs dated 1924 show the Hanover Klan and a flag raising by Klansmen in full Klan regalia in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania.
Ku Klux Klan General Files, 1923-1940. (3 boxes) Arranged alphabetically by subject. This series is a miscellaneous grouping of files that include papers about each Klavern’s election returns, enlistment papers for various counties, mailing lists, countersigns and passwords, official bulletins, newspapers, publications, and information provided by the State Police regarding the acquisition of these records. Data provided by the election returns include county and city or town; Klavern name, local Klavern number and the locations of meetings; and name, office and addresses of elected Klan members and the year of the election. Enlistment papers show name and marital status of each enlistee, city and county of residence, age, occupation at time of enlistment, length of enlistment, physical description, amount of education and military service, and whether or not each was approved for membership. The mailing lists contain the names and addresses of Exalted Cyclops or Kligrapps and their respective Klaverns in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Some of the records, such as the official bulletins and a sampling of conservative newspapers, were compiled for administrative use. The General Files include enlistment papers from the following counties: Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Carbon, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Northumberland, Venango, Washington, and Westmoreland; as well as mailing lists and special issues of the following newspapers: American Free Press, October 15, 1940; American Protest, 4th Special Edition; American Protestant. July 1940; The Fiery Cross, October 1940; The Free American, August 1, 3, 15, 1940; New York Journal, Editorial page, July 26, 1939; New York Times, Business page, September 29, 1939; The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 29, 1940; and The Ulster Protestant, May and June 1940.
Strike Reports, 1922, 1932-1964. (29 boxes) Grouped by labor dispute and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of disturbance. Contains strike duty reports prepared by State Police officers, along with interdepartmental teletype messages relating to labor disturbances in industries ranging from coal and hosiery to construction and steel. Also included are annual Departmental manpower utilization reports that provide statistics on the use of officers for strike duty between fiscal years 1938-1950. Information found in the strike reports may differ with each reporting officer, but usually includes the date and the name, title, and address of the officer to whom the report is being sent; the subject of the report; a brief synopsis of any police activity; a short account of the officer’s observations; a record of mileage; and the signature of the reporting officer. The annual strike manpower reports provide, for each month, the number of strike days, the number of police dogs, the percentage of time spent on strike duty, and the average number of men used. In addition, the total number of police dogs, the number of strike days, the average number of men per day, the percentage of time on strike duty, and the average number of days on strike duty per month are calculated for each year. The manpower reports are frequently accompanied by related reports such as an annual list of industrial disturbances, a record of boarding and lodging, and a monthly report of the number of men from each troop involved on a daily basis on strike duty. Examples of reports and correspondence relating to African Americans are:
• A Special Report, dated April 29, 1922, concerning racial threats and retaliation investigated by State Police agent #607 at Orient Station pertaining to a riot at Tower Hill No. 1. According to this report, "upon my arrival in Orient I noticed many men and women about who appeared to be enraged and were very loud in their talk, making many threats about what they intended to do to the State Police and deputies about. In conversation with a party named Spaike, he stated that the people, especially the foreigners, were either going to cripple or possibly kill a colored deputy named King, who is doing deputy work in this vicinity."
• Correspondence concerning a race riot at the Philadelphia Transportation Company in August 1944. During the month of August, the emergency troops of the various squadrons were mobilized to suppress this riot. Among this correspondence is a memo dated August 1, 1944 that contains the following text: "telephone call received by commissioner from Major Henry, . . .I thought I would call and let you know in Philadelphia all trolleys, buses and elevators are down this morning. Today is the day the colored people are supposed to go on as operators, motormen and conductors, and everything went out this morning." Included in this correspondence are statements issued by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Philadelphia Mayor Bernard Samuels.
Diary and Photographs of Wallace K. Keely, 1905-1949. (1 volume, 3 photographs) Arranged in chronological order. A personal scrapbook of State Police Officer Wallace K. Kelly, who served with the force from 1906 to 1940. The diary has newspaper clippings, postcards, and photographs of state troopers as well as "mug" shots, biographical profiles, and background information pertaining to criminals and cases involving the State Police, with emphasis on the activities of Troop C which was headquartered at Pottsville, Pennsylvania. The "mug" shots are usually accompanied by descriptive cards that provide the name, residence, occupation, race, age, height, weight, hair and eye color, and build of the person; the date and place of arrest; the nature of the crime (date, place, means, object); the date and time of the crime; and the names of any associates, places frequented, or peculiarities that might make apprehension of the person easier. Included in the diary is a photo and information on Newton Young, alias Frank Johnson, an African American who was arrested June 3, 1921.