Kate Warne: Adventures of a Female Pinkerton Detective

In 1856, a young woman entered the Pinkerton Detective Agency’s offices at 80 Washington Street in Chicago, Illinois, looking for employment.  According to his own accounts, Pinkerton politely told her he didn’t need a cleaner or a secretary, but she insisted she wasn’t interested in a traditional woman’s role.  She believed the detective service needed her as an agent.  After considering her compelling arguments, Allan Pinkerton hired her as his first female operative.  This is the story of Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective.  Listen carefully, because this story is full of hard to believe details.



This is the only known photograph of Kate Warne.Picture of Kate Warne “i075012.” Chicago History Museum, images.chicagohistory.org/asset/34453/.
“Virginia Secession Cockades.” Mad Mimi, 16 Apr. 2015, madmimi.com/s/ecdc16.

Works Cited

Bowlin, Ben, et al. “‎Ridiculous History: Kate Warne, the Pinkerton Detective Who Saved Abe Lincoln, Part 1: The Origin Story on Apple Podcasts.” Apple Podcasts, 30 June 2020, podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/kate-warne-pinkerton-detective-who-saved-abe-lincoln/id1299826850?i=1000480863548.

Enss, Chris. The Pinks: the First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. TwoDot, an Imprint of Globe Pequot, 2017.

“Kate Warne.” Civil War Wiki, civilwar.wikia.org/wiki/Kate_Warne.

“Kate Warne.” History of American Women, 22 Mar. 2011, www.womenhistoryblog.com/2011/03/kate-warne.html.

“Life and Exploit of Allen Pinkerton.” The St. Johnsbury Caledonian, 16 July 1884, p. 1.

Pinkerton, Allan. “THE SPY OF THE REBELLION.” The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Spy Of The Rebellion, by Allan Pinkerton., www.gutenberg.org/files/34973/34973-h/34973-h.htm#Page_45.

Rossen, Jake. “The Story of Kate Warne, America’s First Female Private Detective.” Mental Floss, 27 Nov. 2019, www.mentalfloss.com/article/606901/kate-warne-first-female-detective.

“Tributes to the Departed.” The Inter Ocean, 31 Dec. 1878, p. 8.

“Unsung Heroes: First Female Detective Kate Warne.” Pinkerton, 27 Mar. 2020, pinkerton.com/our-insights/blog/unsung-heroes-first-female-detective-kate-warne.

“Virginia Secession Cockades.” Mad Mimi, 16 Apr. 2015, madmimi.com/s/ecdc16.

Walsh, Robert. “The Untold Story of Kate Warne, America’s First Female Private Eye.” Explorethearchive.com, 17 Oct. 2018, explorethearchive.com/kate-warne-first-female-detective.

Yarlagadda, Tara. “Kate Warne: First Female Pinkerton Detective Thwarted Lincoln Assassination Attempt.” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 18 June 2020, history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/kate-warne.htm.

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