Mar 28, 2019 - Sale 2503

Sale 2503 - Lot 202

Price Realized: $ 1,560
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
(BUSINESS.) Photograph of the pioneering African-American private detectives of the Star Detective Agency. Photograph, 8 x 10 inches; moderate wear including 2 short closed tears at edges; verso blank. Chicago, circa late 1950s

Additional Details

The Star Detective Agency was founded in 1945 by a Chicago debt collector named Luegemes Bratton (1895-1977), who can be seen standing fourth from the right. A profile in the Chicago Sunday Tribune of 22 July 1956 describes him as having "the bland, inoffensive mien of a college professor," but here he and his hard-boiled gumshoes look stern enough to put a scare into any philandering husband or insurance scammer. Doing a bit of sleuthing of our own, we can see they are photographed in front of their office at 6503 South Cottage Grove Avenue, where the business was located in 1957. Bratton's obituary called Star "one of the nation's oldest black-owned private-detective agencies." They remained in operation as late as 2003.