Information

Maggie Field


Maggie Cohen, the daughter of Max Cohen and Bessie Kessler, was born on Long Island in 1913. Her mother had come from Latvia and her father from Lithuania. It had been pointed out by John Kelin , the author of Praise from a Future Generation (2007): "Their business was clothing - the shmate industry, Yiddish for the self-deprecating term sometimes used by its practitioners, the rag trade. According to family lore, Max and Bessie were the first to copy French fashions and reproduce them commercially in the United States. They traveled to Paris several times a year. Bessie would sketch the clothing shown by top designers, and Max would manufacture them."

As a child Maggie suffered from poor health. By the time she was twelve years old she had undergone five mastoidectomies. She was a talented singer and her teacher wanted to take her on a world tour as a promising opera singer but her parents rejected the idea. Maggie gave up singing and decided to study at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

During the Second World War Maggie married Joseph Field. In 1945 they moved to California and after running an orange grove her husband became a stockbroker. Maggie became interested in politics and was a strong supporter of Adlai Stevenson. After he failed to be nominated in 1960 she switched to John F. Kennedy.

After Kennedy was assassinated Maggie found it difficult to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman. In 1964 she worked closely with Ray Marcus on investigating the case. When the Warren Commission Report was published in September 1964, Maggie bought a copy and over the next few months studied the 26 volumes of supporting evidence. She also discussed the report in great detail with her new friend, Sylvia Meagher. She helped her with her plans to publish a subject index to the report. Maggie argued that when it was finished "it would constitute a unique contribution that would be valuable to present researchers and those in future".

In 1965 Meagher published Subject Index to the Warren Report and Hearings and Exhibits. As Meagher pointed out, studying the entire twenty-six volumes without a subject index would be "tantamount to a search for information in the Encylopedia Britannica if the contents were untitled, unalphabetized, and in random sequence." Penn Jones purchased five copies so that he could "loan them to anyone interested in studying them."

Maggie Field continued to give support to other researchers such as Mark Lane, Edward Jay Epstein, Léo Sauvage, Vincent J. Salandria and Harold Feldman. She wrote in a letter to the Minority of One in September 1966: "Thanks in part to Lane, Epstein, Sauvage, Salandria , Feldman and a few others the unspeakable subject has become a matter for public discussion. To you goes one of the largest accolades, for you were able to assay the infamy correctly from the outset and you continued to pursue the question doggedly and enduringly when others had long since abandoned the campaign."

In late 1966 Maggie Field was approached by two journalists, Lawrence Schiller and Richard Warren Lewis, who were writing an article about the critics of the Warren Commission. The article was published by the New York World Journal Tribune on 22nd January, 1967. It was followed by a book, The Scavengers and Critics of the Warren Report (1967) and a record album, The Controversy (1967).

Schiller and Lewis used all three to attack the credibility of critics such as Maggie Field, Shirley Martin, Penn Jones, Harold Weisberg, Ray Marcus, Vincent J. Salandria, Mark Lane and Sylvia Meagher. Field was described as a housewife with too much time on her hands. Martin was called an "amateur detective with a passion for Agatha Christie mysteries" whereas Penn Jones was dismissed as a "drawling backwoods prophet" and falsely as an alcoholic who carried a "pint of bourbon in his hip pocket". The most savage attack was on Lane: "His wily showmanship helped sway millions of converts. But there were still millions more who realized that Rush to Judgment really belonged on top of the fiction best-seller lists."

Field's book on the Kennedy assassination, The Evidence , was rejected by Random House in 1967. She decided to revise the manuscript: "a complete and total revamping of each page". However, she was unable to find a publisher. Her friend, Ray Marcus commented: "I know she was frustrated and disappointed about this, although she rarely said so - it would be super human for her not to be." He believed that if it had been published it would have been one of the most important books on the case.

Maggie Field told the Los Angeles Free Press in December, 1967. "Until we can get to the bottom of the Kennedy assassination, this country is going to remain a sick country. No matter what we do. Because we cannot live with that crime. We just can't. The threat is too great. There are forces in this country who have gotten away with this thing, and will strike again. And not any one of us is safe."

Maggie Field died of a blood disease on 31st July, 1997.

Thanks in part to Lane, Epstein, Sauvage, Salandria , Feldman and a few others the unspeakable subject has become a matter for public discussion. To you goes one of the largest accolades, for you were able to assay the infamy correctly from the outset and you continued to pursue the question doggedly and enduringly when others had long since abandoned the campaign.

Until we can get to the bottom of the Kennedy assassination, this country is going to remain a sick country. And not any one of us is safe.


[1] Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 Name: Maggie Othelia Ritchey Event Type: Birth Event Date: 06 Dec 1923 Event Place: Castro, Texas Certificate Number: 73763

View • Edit • Review Attachments • Detach • Report Abuse • Tag 3 url [2] United States Census, 1930 Name: Othelia Ritchey Event Type: Census Event Date: 1930 Event Place: Precinct 1, Floyd, Texas, United States Gender: Female Age: 6 Marital Status: Single Race: White Race (Original): White Relationship to Head of Household: Daughter Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Daughter Birth Year (Estimated): 1924 Birthplace: Texas Father's Birthplace: Texas Mother's Birthplace: Texas Sheet Letter: A Sheet Number: 4 Household Role Sex Age Birthplace Willie Ritchey Head Male 29 Texas Effie M M Ritchey Wife Female 26 Texas Othelia Ritchey Daughter Female 6 Texas

[3] United States Census, 1940 Name: Othelia Ritchey Event Type: Census Event Date: 1940 Event Place: Justice Precinct 4, Hartley, Texas, United States Gender: Female Age: 16 Marital Status: Single Race: White Race (Original): White Relationship to Head of Household: Daughter Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Daughter Birthplace: Texas Birth Year (Estimated): 1924 Last Place of Residence: Same Place Household Role Sex Age Birthplace Willie Ritchey Head Male 41 Texas Efie Ritchey Wife Female 39 Texas Othelia Ritchey Daughter Female 16 Texas Beretta Ritchey Daughter Female 9 Texas Freda Ritchey Daughter Female 6 Texas

[4] Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965 Name: Glenn Field Event Type: Marriage Event Place: Cooke, Texas, United States Gender: Male Spouse's Name: Othelia Ritchey Spouse's Gender: Female

[5] Texas Death Index, 1903-2000 Name: Maggie Othelia Field Event Type: Death Event Date: 16 Jun 1946 Event Place: Tarrant, Texas Certificate Number: 28997

[6] Find A Grave Index Name: Maggie Othelia Ritchey Field Maiden Name: Ritchey Event Type: Burial Event Date: 1946 Event Place: Fort Worth, Tarrant, Texas, United States of America Photograph Included: Y Birth Date: 06 Dec 1923 Death Date: 16 Jun 1946 Affiliate Record Identifier: 71263815 Cemetery: Laurel Land Memorial Park


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Saturday Closed

Kendra Taira Field

Kendra Field is associate professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University. Field is the author of Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War (Yale University Press, January 2018). The book traces her ancestors' migratory lives between the Civil War and the Great Migration. Field also served as Assistant Editor to David Levering Lewis' W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography (Henry Holt, 2009). Field's research and teaching areas include race, slavery, freedom, migration, and social movements in the long nineteenth century African-American family history, memory, and public history.

Field has been awarded fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Huntington Library, and Harvard University's Charles Warren Center in American History. Field's recent articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the Western Historical Quarterly, and Transition. She is the recipient of the Western Writers of America's, 2017 Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, the 2016 Boahen-Wilks Prize, and the OAH's Huggins-Quarles Award. Field has advised and appeared in historical documentaries including Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" (2013) and "Roots: A History Revealed" (2016).

Field received her PhD in American History from New York University. She also holds a Master's in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Williams College. Previously, Field served as Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside, and worked in education and the non-profit sector in Boston and New York.


— III — The Starr Invasion

“It’s going to change everything.”

By 2010, Roland Kassis had purchased huge swaths of property in Fishtown. But to make the neighborhood really take off, he knew he needed some kind of outside investment. He found it in Philly’s most successful restaurateur.

Roland Kassis: I saw what Stephen Starr did in Old City with the Continental he changed the whole area. We knew with Stephen coming to the neighborhood, the outsiders’ perception of Fishtown would change. I chased Stephen for a year. He’ll schedule a meeting, then he’ll cancel at the last minute. Finally I said, “I’m going to do a restaurant myself.” My structural engineer introduced me to [architect] Richard Stokes. Richard comes over and he’s like, “Did Stephen see this property?” I said, “I’ve been chasing him for a year now.” He calls Stephen, and Stephen’s there in 15 minutes.

Stephen Starr, restaurateur: I gravitate toward places that are on the fringe, a little off-center and hidden away. I’m also a total junkie for spaces. Frankford Hall was this bombed-out building, rubble with no roof. I walked in and I said, “Oh my God, look at this. Let’s just leave it as it is and we’ll make it a beer garden.”

Inside Frankford Hall. Photograph by Christopher Leaman

Bill Russell, artist: My first thought? Suspicion. I’ve been in the building across the street since 1997. That Frankford Hall property had been an automobile dealership. I think it shut down sometime in the ’60s. At one point, the guy that owned it parked buses in there, tour buses that went down to Atlantic City.

Starr: That’s what’s wonderful about Fishtown. You can take old buildings that have some character, and inside they’re usually all messed up, and you just re-create something in these empty canvases. Much more satisfying than going to a traditional space in Center City where you have to squeeze an idea into spaces that don’t necessarily want it to be there. It was liberating to be there.

Paul Kimport: Stephen Starr’s zoning advisory meeting was a big event. Everybody wanted to come out and give him a hard time about building some yuppie whatever. But the way I describe it, he took a leveraged position of some sort of Buddha master where he reversed the energy. It was the most brilliant thing I ever saw.

Kassis: What happened is, Stephen got up and said, “I don’t need to be here if I’m not welcome.” That’s what Stephen said.

Starr: I really don’t remember it. We probably used visuals? I think Roland had a lot to do with making them feel more comfortable with us, because he had already established roots in that neighborhood.

Kassis: I remember that Bill Russell got up and spoke. When I first showed Bill the renderings, his eyes should have lit, you know? But Bill showed no emotion, and I’m like, are you kidding me? If I owned a business here, I’d be ecstatic! But Bill got up at the end of the meeting and said, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a developer like Roland Kassis and a restaurateur like Stephen Starr want to come to our neighborhood and open a place. So let’s not blow it up.” That was his closing statement. That was something I was going to say, but he said it for me.

Russell: I don’t get up and proselytize at zoning meetings. But I didn’t get the sense that these guys were going to let it go bad. It’s a crapshoot, and the odds looked good to me.

Kassis: One hundred and eighty-one people showed up for the meeting. We had 173 yeses and eight no’s.

Heather Rice: I think Frankford Hall put Fishtown on the map because Stephen Starr’s name was familiar to people. I think Roland Kassis is responsible for making Fishtown popular. Stephen Starr just made people feel comfortable going there and having a beer. Roland Kassis had a vision, he worked hard to achieve that vision, and we can see that that vision has really changed Fishtown.

Kassis: I remember when we first opened the place [in 2011], we stood across the street and I looked to my left, looked to my right, and there was nothing there. Frankford Hall looked beautiful, just like the rendering looked, the trees out there, the lights, but there’s not a soul on the street. But I had a feeling. I knew right there and then that once we opened, it was going to change everything. And it did.


Margaret “Maggie” Gee

Margaret “Maggie” Gee
August 5, 1923 – February 1, 2013
Class 44-W-9
Planes flown: PT-17, BT-13, AT-6, AT-10, B-17, B-26, P-39
Bases served: Avenger Field (Sweetwater, Tex.), Las Vegas Army Air Field (Nev.)

“My heroes were Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. I loved to watch airplanes fly.”
WASP Margaret “Maggie” Gee was one of only two Chinese-American women to serve as a WASP!

Campaign to rename Oakland Airport to Maggie Gee International Airport

American women have been integral to the history of aviation from the very beginning. From Harriet Quimby and Bessie Coleman to Amelia Earhart and beyond. Despite this, and despite American women’s innumerable other contributions, there is not a single international airport in the United States named after a woman.
​We think it’s time to change that

Margaret “Maggie” Gee, whose Chinese name was Gee Mei Gue, was born on August 5, 1923 in Berkeley, California, the daughter of a successful Chinese importer and a first generation Chinese-American. Maggie’s grandparents (on her mother’s side) had been fishermen who immigrated to the United States to escape the Taiping Revolution and settled in Chinatown, where her parents met and married. However, her father did not want to raise his family in Chinatown, so before Maggie was born, he moved his family to Berkley.

When the stock market crashed in 1929, Mr. Gee had a heart attack on a San Francisco street and died shortly thereafter, leaving behind a wife and six children. Maggie’s formative years were spent witnessing her mother take on greater and greater responsibility, not only raising six children and working, but remaining actively involved in her church and her community.

When America entered WWII, Maggie passed a drafting test and left her first year of college to work at the Mare Island Naval Shipyards in Vallejo, California. There, she worked as a draftsman for the engineers who were working on classified projects on US Naval ships needing repair.

By 1942/43, Maggie had saved enough money to move to Minden, Nevada, to learn to fly. She paid $800 for six months of training and fifty hours of flying time. After she soloed and flew the required hours, Maggie applied for the WASP flying training program at Avenger Field, Texas and was accepted into class 44-W-9.

In June, 1944, Maggie left her home in San Francisco and boarded a troop train which was filled with soldiers at Berkley, California. For the next two days, she either sat on her suitcase or stood up — all the way to Sweetwater, Texas. There 107 women pilots who entered the same class with Maggie however, only 55 earned their silver wings and graduated as WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) on November 8, 1944.

After graduation, Maggie was sent to Las Vegas Army Air Field, Nevada, where she served as a tow target pilot for flexible gunnery training for male cadets until the WASP were deactivated on December 20, 1944. She then returned to Berkley and completed her formal education, after which she traveled to Europe and was in charge of a European Service Club in the early 1950’s.

When Maggie returned to the United States, she began her life as a physicist/researcher, working and studying at the UC Berkley and at its National Laboratory in Livermore. Her research covered the fields of cancer, nuclear weapons design, fusion energy, and other related fields.

Maggie’s lifetime passion for politics began in the Truman Administration, and she continued her work by supporting voter registration and fundraising, serving on the Berkley Community Fund, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, and as a board member of the Berkley Democratic Club in Berkeley, CA. She also served on the California Democratic Party Executive Board and Asian Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus.

In 2010, Gee, along with all living WASP pilots, received the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their service. Gee passed away in 2013 at the age of 89 and, throughout her long life, she remained committed to making a difference in the world: “I’m very optimistic about the world and people… it will be all right… You can make changes. I think just one small person can make a little bit of change.”


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Margarita "Maggie" Emilia Vera is the daughter of Dexter Vaughn and Marisol Vera, and is the adopted daughter of Ray Vera. She is the youngest sister of the Charmed Ones, meaning it is her duty to protect innocents and occasionally save the world. This makes her the younger sister of Macy Vaughn and the younger maternal half-sister of Melanie Vera. She is the ex-girlfriend of Parker Caine and Brian. She and Parker were briefly engaged, but Maggie broke it off shortly after. She is close friends with the Whitelighter of all of the Charmed Ones, Harry Greenwood, Jordan Chase and was friends with Lucy. Maggie was a student at Hilltowne University where she had decided to major in psychology and participated in a number of extracurriculars such as the Hilltones, the black student union, and was a pledge of Kappa Tau Kappa sorority before forcefully being moved to Seattle, Washington and placed into hiding. There, she got a job at SafeSpace, Seattle as a part-time receptionist before becoming an assistant manager. She is currently a student at Seattle State College, and she is majoring in psychology.

Maggie is a witch with heightened abilities due to her being a Charmed One. Along with her basic witch abilities (casting spells and brewing potions), Maggie was also an empath meaning she was able to sense the emotions of others and read minds. This power had expanded to allow her to turn her emotions into fields of raw energy and hear the thoughts of trapped spirits. However, Maggie had her powers rendered dormant when her aura was stripped for her own protection. Through the use of black amber, Maggie gained the ability to foresee future events, and later, her powers expanded to allow her to project her emotions onto other people. Furthermore, she can also access The Power of Three, the collective power of the Charmed Ones, allowing them to vanquish the most powerful of demons. Aside from these powers, Maggie possessed a magical staff that helped her to better channel her emotions into offensive attacks, but with the loss of her empathic powers, the fate of this staff is unknown.


Maggie Field - History

At the turn of the century, Maggie Lena Walker was one of the foremost female business leaders in the United States. She gained national prominence when she became the first woman to own a bank in the United States. Walker’s entrepreneurial skills transformed black business practices while also inspiring other women to enter the field.

Walker was born to enslaved parents on July 15, 1864 in Richmond, Virginia. After the Civil War, her mother worked as a laundress and her father as a butler in a popular Richmond hotel. Walker’s father was killed and she had to help her mother financially by working. Although his death was ruled a suicide, Walker later revealed that she believed he had been murdered. She attended a local school in Richmond and upon graduation, began teaching. She stepped down from teaching after she married a successful brick maker.

When Walker was 14, she joined the Independent Order of St. Luke’s, an African American benevolent organization that helped the sick and elderly in Richmond. Within the organization, Walker held many high-ranking positions. In 1902, she began publishing the organization’s newspaper, The St. Luke Herald. She encouraged African Americans in Richmond to harness their economic power by establishing their own institutions through the newspaper.

Walker had always focused her efforts on accounting and math. Her first business endeavor was a community insurance company for women. From there she continued her entrepreneurial pursuits. In 1903, she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank. Walker was the first woman of any race to charter a bank in the United States. The bank was a powerful representation of black self-help in the segregated South. The Penny Savings Bank not only attracted adults but Walker worked to appeal to children by passing out banks which encouraged them to save their money.

In 1915, Walker’s husband was killed by her son, after he mistook him for a burglar. Her husband’s passing left her in charge of a large estate. She continued working for the Order of St. Luke's but also held leadership positions in other civic organizations, including National Association of Colored Women (NACW). She also served as the Vice President of the Richmond chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

By 1924, the Penny Savings Bank had spread to other parts of Virginia and included more than 50,000 members. While other banks collapsed during the Great Depression St. Luke’s Penny Saving survived. The bank eventually consolidated with two other large bank and moved to downtown Richmond. It is still in operation today.

After an illness in 1928, Walker was forced to use a wheelchair. Although limited in movement, Walker remained a leader in the Richmond African American community. She fought arduously for women’s rights as well. For much of her life Walker served as board member of the Virginia Industrial School for Girls.

On December 15, 1934, Walker died from complications due to diabetes. Walker’s house in Richmond has since been designated a National Historic Site by the National Park Service.


FBI Chicago History

From the earliest days of the Bureau, it was clear that agents were permanently needed in two cities—New York and Chicago. By July 21, 1908, several days before the FBI’s official birthday, the Department of Justice had assigned four special agents to Chicago. They included Special Agent in Charge M. Eberstein and Special Agents Dolan, Hobbs, and Edward J. Brennan (later the special agent in charge).

The new office faced many difficulties. Special Agent in Charge Eberstein fell seriously ill, as did Agent Dolan. Another agent—hired soon after the original four—had to be dismissed for failing to serve a subpoena and for poor performance in other matters. These setbacks did not last long, and the Chicago Division quickly began to carry out its investigative mission.

The office grew slowly in its early days. In 1911, Charles De Woody was special agent in charge, managing six agents and two stenographers. Several special examiners and two or three accountants also served in the division, pursuing fraud, white-collar crime, and other federal violations. Five antitrust agents also operated out of Chicago, but they answered to Bureau Headquarters for their assignments.

The range of investigations conducted by the new office was wide—from interstate prostitution and the activities of early organized crime groups like the “Black Hand” to the violent crimes of a labor union known as the International Workers of the World.

Early Chicago Field Office

Issues of food safety and corruption in the large Chicago meat processing industry were of concern, too. Upton Sinclair’s exposé, The Jungle, led to new federal laws and regulations. In U.S. v. Nelson, Morris, and Co., for instance, Chicago agents served subpoenas on witnesses, shadowed packing company employees to gather evidence, and otherwise supported the efforts of a federal grand jury to unearth the illegal rebating schemes of meat packing companies.

As World War I raged in Europe, national security matters became increasingly important to the Chicago Division. In early 1917, a Chicago businessman approached Special Agent in Charge Hinton Clabaugh and proposed the creation of a citizen’s auxiliary to the Bureau to assist with national security-related investigations. The attorney general approved of the idea, and the American Protective League was born. The group expanded quickly to other cities, providing additional manpower for anti-subversion cases, draft dodger raids, and other investigative matters. Too often, though, the group acted as a law enforcement organization, overstepping its bounds and intruding on the rights and liberties of the American people. With the war ended, the Justice Department dissolved the league during the winter of 1918/1919.

1920 and 1930s

FBI Agent Edwin C. Shanahan

In 1920, the Bureau reorganized its field structure, creating eight regional offices to oversee much of the work of agency. The Chicago Division was one of the eight offices, led by James P. Rooney. This reorganization was short lived, and Headquarters soon resumed its oversight role.

The division operated continuously during this time, tackling some of the Bureau’s most important cases. It also experienced the first death of a Bureau agent in the line of duty. On October 11, 1925, Chicago Special Agent Edwin C. Shanahan and members of the Chicago Police Department staked out a garage where an automobile thief named Martin James Durkin was expected to steal a car. Durkin had a lengthy record and had previously shot and wounded three policemen in Chicago and one officer in California. Shanahan was unarmed and tried to approach Durkin under a ruse, but the thief fired, fatally wounding the agent. Durkin fled before the Chicago officers could catch him. A nationwide manhunt ensued, with Bureau agents tracking Durkin across the western United States. He was finally captured on January 20, 1926 near St. Louis, Missouri. At that time, killing a federal agent was not a federal crime. Nonetheless, Durkin was tried and convicted on various state and federal charges and sent to jail until 1954.

The Chicago Division pursued other notorious criminals of the day, including legendary gangster Al Capone, but it was the office’s role in hunting down John Dillinger and his band of criminals that helped raise the stature of both the Chicago FBI and the Bureau as a whole.

The Bureau joined the chase in early March 1934, when Dillinger broke out of a jail in Crown Point, Indiana. He committed a federal crime by stealing a sheriff’s car and driving it over the state line between Indiana and Ohio. At the time, Crown Point was part of the jurisdiction of the Chicago Division. Led by Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis, Chicago agents became involved in key parts of the case and supplied important manpower to Inspector Samuel Cowley’s flying squad, which was overseeing the national investigation. On July 22, 1934, an informant—the notorious “lady in red” (her dress was actually orange)—tipped off Purvis that Dillinger would be at the movies in downtown Chicago that night. Staking out both possible theaters, agents from Chicago and the flying squad killed Dillinger outside the Biograph when he tried to flee and reached for his weapon. 

Following up on this success, Chicago agents also helped track down “Pretty Boy” Floyd, “Baby Face” Nelson, and many other dangerous criminals, effectively ending the gangster era. The costs were high, however. In April 1934, Chicago Special Agent W. Carter Baum was gunned down by Nelson near a Wisconsin resort. Later that year, Baby Face killed two more agents—Sam Cowley and Herman F. Hollis—during a gun battle near Barrington, Illinois. The agents mortally wounded Nelson in the process.

Special Agent W. Carter Baum

Special Agent Herman E. Hollis

Special Agent Samuel P. Cowley

The major cases continued. On September 25, 1937, 72-year-old Chicago businessman Charles S. Ross—president of the Carrington Greeting Card Company—was kidnapped at gunpoint while driving near Franklin Park, Illinois. Despite being paid a ransom of $50,000, the kidnappers murdered Ross. His body was found four months later in a shallow grave near Spooner, Wisconsin, along with the body of one of his abductors. John Henry Seadlund—the mastermind of the plot—was arrested by FBI agents at Santa Anita race track in Los Angeles on January 14, 1938 following an extensive nationwide manhunt. He was returned to Chicago, where he was tried and convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Ross.

1940s and 1950s

The focus of FBI Chicago—along with the rest of the Bureau—soon turned to national security concerns as Europe moved closer to war and World War II eventually unfolded. The Chicago Division increased its national security work and began providing plant security advice to local manufacturers involved in war-related production.

The division was also involved in one of the FBI’s most famous World War II spy cases—the capture of eight Nazi saboteurs on U.S. soil. Building on information from George Dasch—one of the German operatives who had turned himself in—Chicago agents tracked down and arrested Herman Neubauer and Herbert Haupt on June 27. The other saboteurs were rounded up as well.

Even during the war, violent criminals continued to plague the Chicago area. On October 9, 1942, a group of dangerous felons—including Roger “The Terrible” Touhy and Basil “The Owl” Banghart—escaped from an Illinois prison. The Bureau lacked jurisdiction at first, but later began to track the fugitives on a federal violation of failing to register under the Selective Service Act. The Chicago Division—with the oversight of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in Washington, D.C.—began to close in after running down thousands of leads. Hoover was personally involved in the capture of Touhy, Banghart, and other gang members in Chicago in December 1942. 

Roger "The Terrible" Touhy Mug Shot and Criminal Record

Issues of national security continued to be the Bureau’s top priority following the end of World War II, and the Chicago Division played a significant role, working to identify spies and protect national secrets and sensitive technologies developed in the area. In the late 1940s, Chicago agents recruited one of the most important FBI double agents of the time—Morris Childs. Childs was a high-ranking communist who spent decades working with his brother and his wife in cooperation with the Bureau to detail the clandestine relationship between the Communist Party of the United States and the Soviet Union. He has also been credited with providing significant foreign intelligence information, according to author John Barron in the book Operation Solo.

In the early 1950s, working from then top secret signals intelligence, the Chicago Division investigated Ted Hall—a young, brilliant physicist who had given atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Because the highly classified intelligence on Hall could not be used in court, the Bureau couldn’t develop a prosecutable case against Hall. He was kept from working on other classified and sensitive projects, and he soon immigrated to England, where he taught physics until his death in 1999.

In May 1954, Chicago agents arrested a number of Puerto Rican Nationalist Party members on seditious conspiracy charges. That March, several members of the group had fired pistols from the galleries that oversee the U.S. House of Representatives in the nation’s capital. Four years earlier, other Puerto Rican nationalists had attempted to assassinate President Truman.

Throughout the 1950s, the division also handled many bank robbery, white-collar crime, and organized crime investigations. In the midst of these many cases, Chicago lost three more agents when their car crashed as they returned from a weekend hunting trip in November 1953. Two others were wounded—one seriously—in the accident.

1960s and 1970s

On August 27, 1964, the Chicago Division moved into new space located in the just completed E.M. Dirksen Federal Building and Courthouse. Located at 219 South Dearborn Street in Chicago’s “Loop,” the Chicago FBI occupied the entire ninth floor of the building. Marlin W. Johnson was the special agent in charge, and the office included 281 special agents and 185 support employees. The Dirksen building remained the home of the division for the next 42 years. During that time, the office expanded to occupy the entire eighth and 10th floors and part of the 11th floor.

In October 1969, violent members of a radical group known as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) bombed a Chicago police memorial and fomented the “Days of Rage” riot in Chicago. An offshoot of SDS called the Weathermen—later the Weather Underground Organization—which evolved into a domestic terrorist group that used bombings, robberies, arson, and other illegal acts to further its radical political agenda. Chicago agents, along with other field offices across the country, thoroughly investigated this organization and its activities. In 1974, the Chicago Division produced an extensive summary of the group’s motivations and activities.

The FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación National/Armed Forces of National Liberation)—which advocated Puerto Rican Independence—was another 1970s terrorist group subject to intense investigation by the Chicago Division. In the early morning hours of October 27, 1975, bombs exploded outside three Chicago Loop office buildings, including the Sears Tower. A fourth device was found outside the Standard Oil building, but was disarmed before detonating. Almost simultaneously, five bombs exploded outside four New York banks and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, while two devices detonated outside government buildings in Washington, D.C. The bombings were part of a series of such incidents in Chicago and other cities between 1975 and March 1980. A total of 19 bombings, six incendiary attacks, and two armed takeovers of offices and businesses occurred in the Chicago area alone during this period. The case was broken by the Chicago Division when a housewife called to report a suspicious sight—a group of smokers, all dressed in jogging outfits, standing near a panel van.

In the late 1970s, the division opened what ended up being the FBI’s longest-running domestic terrorism investigation. On May 28, 1978, a bomb exploded at the University of Illinois at Chicago, injuring one individual. In 1979, an FBI-led task force that included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service was formed to investigate the “UNABOM” case—code-named for the UNiversity and Airline BOMbing targets involved. Sixteen more bombings took place over the next 17 years, killing three and injuring more than 20 people. FBI Chicago, along with nearly all of the FBI’s 56 field offices, pursued this terrorist throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. After an extensive investigation—and a tip from the bomber’s brother—the FBI arrested Theodore Kaczynski in April 1996. Kaczynski ultimately pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for his crimes.

The division also investigated major thefts during the 1970s. On October 21, 1974, for instance, Purolator Armored Express Company officials and firefighters responded to a smoke alarm from inside a vault. The officials discovered that more than $4 million was missing. The thieves had apparently tried to set fire to the remaining contents of the vault in an effort to conceal the theft, but the fire had burned itself out due to a lack of oxygen. Subsequent investigation by Chicago agents resulted in the arrest and conviction of seven men for the theft—the largest such crime in U.S. history at the time. Approximately $3 million of the stolen money was recovered.

1980s and 1990s

During the 1980s, the Chicago Division handled its most significant case involving tainted food and drugs. Between September 29 and 30, 1982, seven Chicago area residents ingested Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide. Within a matter of hours, all seven victims had died. The murders triggered the largest product tampering investigation in the history of law enforcement, as FBI agents and nearly 120 investigators from various state and local police agencies worked to identify the culprit(s). Although no one could be charged with the murders due to a lack of evidence, James Lewis—a 37-year-old New York man—was charged with attempting to extort $1 million dollars from Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol. Lewis was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The poisonings led to the passage of a stringent federal anti-product tampering law in 1983.

Not long after this investigation began, the division experienced a tragedy. In December 1982, four Chicago agents were killed in an airplane accident near Montgomery, Ohio. The agents—Terry Burnett Hereford, Charles L. Ellington, Robert W. Conners, and Michael James Lynch—were accompanying bank fraud suspect Carl Henry Johnson and an individual from the law firm representing him to an area where agents believed Johnson had stashed $50,000 in embezzled money. The plane—piloted by two of the agents—was apparently experiencing problems with its altitude readings and crashed on approach to Lunken Airport. No one aboard survived.

A major public corruption case—one of many handled by FBI Chicago over the years—came to fruition in March 1984, when former Deputy Traffic Court Clerk Harold Conn became the first defendant convicted in a sweeping investigation called Operation Greylord. Over the course of the undercover probe of corruption in the Cook County Circuit Court, nearly 100 people—including 13 judges and 51 attorneys—were indicted and convicted. The case unfolded when a young attorney, shocked by the extent of corruption in the county judicial system, began working with the division. The corruption was so endemic that agents had to conduct surveillance of one judge’s courtroom and obtain special court authorization to present a false case in the bugged court to develop evidence of illegal activities.

The division also continued to pursue fugitives from justice. On July 20, 1984, Chicago agents arrested FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive Alton Coleman in Evanston, Illinois. Coleman was sought in connection with a series of murders, attempted murders, rapes, kidnappings, and auto thefts. On January 7, 1985, Coleman and his accomplice, Debra Brown, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for the kidnapping of a Kentucky college professor. On April 30, 1985, Brown was convicted of beating to death an Ohio woman and sentenced to life in prison. On January 24, 1987, Coleman received his fourth and final death sentence for the murder of a nine-year-old girl.

On August 10, 1984, some 300 FBI and IRS agents, assisted by Cook County State’s Attorney investigators, executed 14 search warrants at suburban Chicago locations as part of Operation Safebet. The investigation targeted political corruption and the control of prostitution operations by organized crime elements throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. More than 75 individuals were eventually indicted and convicted.

Undercover investigations continued to be successful throughout the decade. On November 21, 1986, the first of two federal grand jury indictments was returned as part of Operation INCUBATOR. Over the course of the investigation, 14 local officials—including a deputy water commissioner, a Cook County clerk, a former mayoral aide, and four aldermen—were charged with accepting bribes. In August 1989, another major undercover investigation led to the arrest of 46 traders and brokers of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade. The indictments were the result of a two-year investigation in which four agents posed as traders to uncover fraud and other crimes.

The targeting of corrupt politicians and criminal businessmen continued into the 1990s. On October 19, 1990, a judge, a state senator, an alderman, and two others were charged by a federal grand jury as a result of the Chicago Division’s Operation GAMBAT. These politicians were charged with crimes relating to corruption in the Cook County Circuit Court, the Illinois Senate, and the Chicago City Council. Four of those charged were convicted the fifth defendant died awaiting trial. In another case in the mid-1990s—Operation Silver Shovel—six Chicago aldermen and a dozen other local officials were convicted of accepting bribes.

Color of law violations—involving an abuse of trust by public officials, including law enforcement officers—are rare but important to uncover and prosecute in a democratic society. FBI Chicago has worked its fair share of such cases over the years. For example, in December 1998, Chicago police officer Joseph Miedzianowski and 14 others were charged with running a drug distribution ring operating out of northwest Chicago. Described in the press of the day as the most corrupt cop in Chicago’s history, Miedzianowski was convicted in U.S. district court in April 2001. A year earlier, another investigation into a crooked law enforcement officer led to the arrest of William A. Hanhardt, a retired chief of detectives for the Chicago Police Department. In October 2000, he and five others were charged by a federal grand jury with masterminding a nationwide jewel theft ring.

The city of Chicago has long prided its sports teams—from the Bears to the Bulls and everything in between—and the Chicago Division has handled several sports-related cases. On July 11, 1996, for example, an investigation led by the division resulted in the first indictment in Operation Foul Ball, a nationwide probe of crooked sports collectible dealers. The case found widespread creation and distribution of forged sports memorabilia—including jerseys, shoes, bats, balls, hats, and photographs—allegedly signed by famous athletes. By the end of the investigation, seven men had been found guilty of selling forged sports memorabilia. On March 26, 1998, an FBI Chicago investigation also led to the first of several indictments in a federal probe of point-shaving schemes in the football and basketball programs of Northwestern University during the 1994 and 1995 seasons. A total of 11 individuals, including eight student athletes, were charged and convicted as a result of the case.

Post-9/11

Following the events of 9/11, preventing terrorist attacks became the top priority of every FBI field office. Chicago, with its long history of tracking and stopping terrorists, quickly worked to refine its use of intelligence and to improve its counterterrorism operations. That included strengthening its Joint Terrorism Task Force, established in 1981, and creating a Field Intelligence Group to improve the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence. These efforts have paid off in a number of terror-related cases. In March 2010, for example, David Coleman Headley pled guilty to his role in planning the deadly 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

The division continued its investigations into public corruption, fraud, and other crimes. One of the longest-running cases was Operation Safe Roads, which began in the mid-1990s when it was revealed that truck drivers were paying bribes to the Illinois state government to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. The investigation mushroomed into a far-reaching probe of “pay-to-play” politics that ultimately led to the conviction of former Illinois Governor George Ryan in 2006 on fraud and racketeering charges. Ryan’s chief of staff and nearly 70 others were also convicted in the case.

Another major investigation—dubbed Operation Family Secrets—began in 1999 and culminated in 2005 with the indictment and arrest of 14 known or suspected members of a Chicago organized crime group for 18 unsolved mob hits. A Chicago policeman and Cook County sheriff’s deputy were also charged. The defendants all either pled guilty, were convicted in court, or died prior to trial.

In December 2008, FBI agents arrested Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and his chief of staff, John Harris, on federal corruption charges. Among other things, the pair allegedly conspired to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a U.S. senator and to gather campaign contributions in exchange for official actions. Blagojevich was found guilty of a variety of counts in 2011 and sentenced to 14 years in prison. 

Heading into its second century of service, the Chicago Division remains committed to protecting its residents and communities from a range of national security and criminal threats.


1900-1910

39th Street Grounds

The first home of the Chicago White Sox was located at 39th Street and Princeton, four blocks south of the present Comiskey Park. The 39th Street Grounds served as the playing field of the Chicago Wanderers cricket team during the 1893 World&aposs Fair. Charles Comiskey built a wooden grandstand on the site in 1900.

The capacity of the tiny grandstand never exceeded 7,500. It served as the home of the White Sox until June 27, 1910 when the club vacated the park for Comiskey Park at 35th Street and Shields. The grounds were leased to John Schorling, a South Side saloon keeper who owned the American Giants Negro League team.

The park served as the home of Chicago&aposs Negro League teams until the park was demolished in the late 1940s to make way for a public housing project.


Watch the video: Field On Fire official video - Hannah u0026 Maggie (November 2021).