Operatives L. L. Lucille & Miss Seaton

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The Pinks:

The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency

 

The newspaper ad that appeared in publications throughout the city of Chicago in 1861 highlighted the talents of a fortune teller named L. L. Lucille. The remarkable soothsayer whose descendants were from Egypt was making her first appearance in the Midwest and invited residents to visit her at the Temple of Magic anytime between the hours of ten A.M. and one P. M. “She will cast the horoscope of all callers,” the advertisement boasted. “She will tell them the events of their past life and reveal what the future has in store. The Great Asiatic Sibyl proudly announced that she had cast the horoscope of all the crowned heads of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania and specialized in helping the sorrowful and affiliated. “She will tell who loves you; who hates you; and who is trying to injure you. She will show you your future husband or wife.” The fee for such services was $10.00.

According to Allan Pinkerton, who had written the notice about Lucille, the trade of fortune telling was unique at the time and many people were attracted to the idea. Pinkerton described the mystic’s place of business on Clark Street as nearly square with a large mirror the shape of the doorway on one end. “The wall and windows were draped with dark colored material that blocked any sunlight from getting through. There was a swinging lamp in all four corners of the room and one in the center. They were bronze and silver, with Oriental patterns, and they swung slowly around in a circle. Several charts, mystic symbols, and small gloves filled low shelves and a variety of tables. Near one of the tables was a small table upon which stood a peculiarly shaped retort, and from this, issued pungent, aromatic incense.”

It was into this mystic, perfumed setting that L. L. Lucille would greet enthusiastic patrons anxious to receive predictions about important aspects of their lives. Customers waited in a lounge area in large, easy chairs for the fortune teller. At just the right time the medium would slip into the room through the folds of a curtain at one side of a gigantic mirror. Kate Warne played the part of L. L. Lucille and Pinkerton wrote in his case files that “he hardly knew her, so great was her disguise.” Kate’s face and hands were stained a clear olive, and instead of wearing her hair up as she usually did it hung down in heavy masses to her waist. She wore a long dress made from rich fabric and trimmed with Oriental accents. She carried a small wand around which had two serpents twined at the top. Her whole appearance was dignified and imposing. Pinkerton was confident Kate would deliver a convincing performance and help apprehend the woman attempting to kill one of the agency’s clients, Captain J. N. Sumner.

The Pinks

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To learn more about Kate Warne, the cases she worked, and the other

women Pinkerton agents read

The Pinks:

The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency