Manuscript Log Book of the 17th Precinct, New York City Police Department, December 1865-March 1866
Manuscript Log Book of the 17th Precinct, New York City Police Department, December 1865-March 1866
Manuscript Log Book of the 17th Precinct, New York City Police Department, December 1865-March 1866

Manuscript Log Book of the 17th Precinct, New York City Police Department, December 1865-March 1866

Disbound ledger, 15 x 9.5 inches, 378 pp, covering the period from December 22, 1865 to March 5, 1866. Boards not present, gatherings loose, but complete (i.e, all pages from 1 to 378 present; it is possible there were originally more pages), clean and easily legible. The Seventeenth Precinct of the NYPD was headquartered at 79-81 First Avenue, and its boundaries were Houston St., Avenue B, Fourteenth Street, Fourth Avenue, and the Bowery. It was a low-income, densely populated area, home to large numbers of German and Irish immigrants. This ledger offers a fascinating glimpse into the challenges faced by the men charged with keeping the community safe and orderly. The log is organized by shift, and records the names of the commander, sergeant, roundsman (patrol supervisor), and patrol officers of each watch, also noting who was performing desk duty, away on other business (e.g., escorting prisoners to court), out sick, or away without leave. Details are noted in the log each time someone is arrested – including type and location of the offense; name of arresting officer; offender's name, age, race, occupation, nationality, and marital status; and whether the person was jailed, fined, posted bail, or was discharged. The vast majority of poeple arrested were white men (we noted about 30 charges against women and one against a black man), and during the months covered in this log they committed a wide array of offenses, including attempted murder, assault, grand and petit larceny, burglary, passing counterfeit notes, swindling, carrying a concealed weapon, intoxication, vagrancy, and disorderly conduct. One of the most dramatic incidents recorded here was an assault on a police officer. On January 13, 1866, "Officer Irwin saw two men named Arthur McCluskey and Daniel Murphy acting in a very disorderly manner at the corner of 14th street and First Avenue. On attempting to arrest them they attacked the officer, aided by a crowd of Ruffians, and wrenched his club from his hands. Struck him a violent blow on the head. While down the officer fired two shots at the party. Several officers coming to the assistance of Irwin succeeded in arresting McClusky and Murphy and a man named Callihan. Irwin was attended by the surgeon, who dressed his wounds." Police work didn’t only involve crime, of course, and other activities were also logged. Officers responded to fires and accidents, assisted lost children, took a woman in labor to the hospital, recovered runaway horses, and secured abandoned wagons and businesses found unlocked at night. Patrolmen were apparently closely supervised, and several reports of dereliction of duty made by the Roundsman or other officers are noted. In some cases the complaints were substantive – e.g., "Officer Schwartz failed to discover a store door left open where a burglary had been committed." But most involve officers not being exactly where they belonged: "At 5:47 PM Officer Irving was leaning over a railing instead of patrolling his post" or “could not find Patrolman Quinn on his post for the space of 45 minutes 1:05-1:50 A.M.” And, in a stark contrast to modern ideas about community policing, Officer Patrick Kennedy is accused of “standing and leaning against a house in conversation with a citizen.” An excellent source for research on the social history of New York City and the working life of the city's police officers immediately following the Civil War.

Item #21162

Price: $2,250.00

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