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Pryce Lewis Collection

Pryce Lewis Collection

Collection Number: 
6
Collection Length: 
1.25ft
Period: 
1860 to 1965
Finding Aid: 

Pryce Lewis was born in 1828 in Newton, Wales and emigrated to the United States in 1856. During the Civil War, he was employed by the Pinkerton Detective Agency and worked as a spy for the Union in Richmond, Va. He was captured and sentenced to be hanged but managed to escape death because of his British citizenship. After his release he served as bailiff and special detective officer of Old Capitol prison in Washington, D.C. until the end of the war. In January, 1868 he married Maria Thwaites. They had two children, Mary and Arthur. During this period he was working in Chicago in a detective agency which he founded with William H. Scott. Lewis and Scott moved their agency to New York City. Later he went to work for the Equitable Life Assurance Society and after losing his job he lived a hand-to-mouth existence supported largely by friends. On December 6, 1911 Pryce Lewis committed suicide by jumping from the top of the Pulitzer Building. The collection was donated to St. Lawrence University by the St. Lawrence County Historical Association who had received it as part of a larger collection of the papers of Harriet Schoen of Massena. Ms. Schoen received a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and was the head of the History Department of Davis and Elkins College and resided in New York City for many years. The collection consists of primary documents, correspondence, photographs, and newspaper clippings concerning the career of Pryce Lewis. Also included are the materials written by Harriet Schoen about Pryce Lewis, her publication and research notes.