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Allan Pinkerton (1819–1884) by Alexander Gardner, 1862 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution


Pinkerton, Allan (1819–1884), private detective, was born on 21 July 1819 in a tenement flat in Muirhead Street, the Gorbals, Glasgow, eldest son of William Pinkerton (1767–1827/1828?), a former hand-loom weaver who worked in Glasgow city gaol, and Isabella McQueen (1779?–1854), a spinning-mill worker. He had three brothers, four elder half-brothers, and three elder half-sisters. Although christened by a Baptist minister in the ...