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Private Investigator Kate Warne; Saved President Lincoln, Started Detective Bureau & More

In the United States, the first female private investigator hired was Kate Warne. On what Alan Pinkerton first thought to be for the secretary position, the now famous Pinkerton detective agency in Chicago had a woman walk in inquiring in 1856. Having grace in her movements and self-possessed, Pinkerton described her as a commanding person, with clear cut, expressive features, who was a slender, brown-haired woman. Her face was honest, the features of an intellectual cast, which those in distress would choose as a confidante. Today, we at Advanced Private Investigator & Security of Miami, FL would like to go back in time and share more information about Kate Warne, the first female private investigator and master of disguise.

What Makes Women Good Private Investigators?

In response to the detective position that was advertised in the local paper, Kate Warne, a widow from New York, came in to the Pinkerton Agency. It was not custom for women to work as private eyes and Alan Pinkerton was surprised at her inquiry. With an impressive argument, Warne said that “women are most useful in worming out secrets in many places which would be impossible for a male detective.” Since men love to brag when they are around women who encourage them, she further argues that women can befriend the wives and girlfriends of suspected criminals. Additionally, Warne added women were far more observant and had an eye for detail. Despite protests from his brother, his business partner, Pinkerton hired her as a private eye, and never regretted the decision.

How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln

Kate Warne was a master of disguise and would lure suspects into telling her their secrets by posing as a fortune teller. She would alter her Northern mannerisms into a Southern belle, complete with the flirtatious accent. In one Pinkerton National Detective Agency’s paramount case “The Baltimore Plot”, using her convincing disguise as a Southern Belle, Warne was able to infiltrate a ring of Southern sympathizers in Maryland. She gathered the details of a plan to assassinate then president-elect Abraham Lincoln on his way to the inauguration. By smuggling Lincoln through a train car, passing through Baltimore undetected Pinkerton and Warne was able to securely and safely transport him. To gather covert intelligence, Lincoln continued to use Pinkerton and Warne through the Civil War.
Led by Kate Warne in 1860, Pinkerton started a “Female Detective Bureau”, hiring more female detectives. As women were not allowed to join the police force until 1891 nor become investigators until 1903, this advancement was very progressive for the time.

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Warne continued to serve through 1868 when a sudden illness claimed her life. In the Pinkerton Family Plot, she is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. Memoriam was written in the Democratic Enquirer on Warne’s life as a private detective. Her whole life had been devoted to the service into which she had entered in her younger years and served up to her death. If not the world, she was undoubtedly the best female detective in America. When you need private investigative work, call the leading experts of Advanced Private Investigator & Security of Miami, FL and let us help you with quality services.