Luke S. May papers, 1891-2000  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
May, Luke S. (Luke Sylvester), 1892-1965
Title
Luke S. May papers
Dates
1891-2000 (inclusive)
Quantity
83.92 cubic feet, plus 1 negative microfilm reel and 1 vertical file
Collection Number
1299
Summary
Correspondence, ephemera, scrapbooks and clippings, and writings by and about Luke S. May, a private investigator, criminologist, public official, and teacher in Seattle, Washington
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

Open to all users, but access to portions of the collection is restricted. Contact Special Collections for details.

Some records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Private investigator, criminologist, public official, and teacher Luke S. May was born in Nebraska on December 2, 1892, to parents William and Mary. The family eventually moved to Utah, where Luke and William operated May and Son, a house-building and carpentry business. When Luke May was 16, he first began to work with criminal investigation and opened his private detective agency, Maylon Detective Service, not long after. In 1914, May founded Revelare International Secret Service and began work with J. Clark Sellers. One year later, the agency moved from Utah to Pocatello, Idaho. Following May's service in World War I, John L. Harris joined the agency, which became known for its use of forensics, the scientific method, and other techniques that were not commonly used at the time.

In 1919, Luke May moved to Seattle. He quickly became a well-known figure in the city, as his work was frequently covered in the press. Although Sellers and Harris departed from the Revelare International Secret Service, May continued to work under that agency name until 1932, when it was renamed the Scientific Detective Laboratory.

In addition to his own investigative work, May also served as the President of the Institute of Scientific Criminology (1928); advisor to the faculty community of Northwestern University Law School (1929); an instructor of criminal investigation at the University of Washington (1922-1924), University of Oregon (1927), and Willamette University (1930-1931); president of the Northwest Association of Sheriffs and Police; and as the acting chief of detectives as the Seattle Detective Department (1933-1934). May was also the inventor of the "Revelarescope" microscope, which allowed for the comparison of separate objects at the same time.

May's work was widely feature not only in local newspapers, but also in True Detective Mysteries, a true crime magazine that brought his work to a national audience. In addition, May authored three books: Scientific Murder Investigation (1933), Field Manual of Detective Science (1933), and Crime's Nemesis (1936).

May was married three times. His third wife, Helen Ione Klog, grew up in Alaska during the Gold Rush. Luke and Helen had a daughter, Patricia. Luke S. May died of leukemia on July 11, 1965.

(Source: http://www.historylink.org/File/4241)

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Correspondence, ephemera, scrapbooks and clippings, and writings by and about Luke S. May.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Accession No. 1299-001: Luke S. May papers, 1915-1964Return to Top

83.5 linear ft.

Scope and Content: Correspondence, subject files, ephemera, photos, scrapbooks and related materials.

Restrictions on Access: Access restricted: For terms of access contact repository.

Records stored offsite; advance notice required for use.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Frank T. Reid with the aid of Jan Beck, 1969-01-01

Description
Luke S. May papers

Accession No. 1299-002: Luke S. May papers, 1920Return to Top

1 microfilm reel negative.

Scope and Content: Microfilm of the "Farmer Labor Call," Centralia, Washington, October 19 and 22, 1920.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: UW, 1977-09-01

Description
Luke S. May papers

Accession No. 1299-003: Clippings regarding Luke May's career, 1891-1991Return to Top

.21 cu. ft. (1 box)

Scope and Content: Photocopied clippings about May's career; 1891-1991. This "reference notebook of career press and illustrative material" was compiled by May's daughter, Patricia Reid, and edited by his granddaughter, Mindi Reid, 1999.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Acquisition Info: Mindi Reid (Granddaughter), 1999-08-30

Description
Clippings regarding Luke May's career

Accession No. 1299-005: Luke May papers, 1936Return to Top

.21 cu. ft. (1 box)

Scope and Content: Book describing cases investigated by Luke May, published by Macmillan, 1936.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Copyright by Luke May, 1936.

Acquisition Info: Mindi Reid, 2002-09-05

Description
Luke May papers Crime's Nemesis

Accession No. 1299-006: Luke S. May papers, 2000Return to Top

1 vertical file

Scope and Content: "Light through a Prism: My Childhood Memories of Luke S. May" by Mindi Reid. Contains Reid's recollections of her grandfather, Seattle criminologist Luke S. May. Also included are photocopies of articles about the 1934 Bremerton Massacre from True Detective magazine.

Restrictions on Access: Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use: Creator's literary rights retained. Contact Special Collections for details.

Acquisition Info: Mindi Reid, 2001-01-05

Description
Luke S. May papers

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Centralia Massacre, Centralia, Wash., 1919
  • Crime--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Criminology--United States
  • Police--Washington (State)
  • Private investigators--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Names :
  • May, Luke S. (Luke Sylvester), 1892-1965--Archives
  • Corporate Names :
  • Industrial Workers of the World--Trials, litigation, etc
  • Revelare International Secret Service--Archives
  • Scientific Detective Laboratory--Archives