Carleton Simon was born on the 28th of February 1871 in New York City and attended college in Vienna and Paris, graduating with an M.D. in 1890. In 1893, he married Monetta Worthington Marler. The couple had two children, Rosa and Carleton, Jr.
A psychiatrist by profession, Simon became interested in the criminal mind, and that interest eventually led to his career as a criminologist. In 1901, Simon conducted a psychiatric study of Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President McKinley. Also in 1901, he studied the water cure, a torture used by the U.S. Army to interrogate Philippine prisoners, at the request of the New York Herald. His findings led to the abolition of this form of questioning.
Phrenology was an early interest of Simon's. In 1904, George Francis Train, an American eccentric who financed the Union Pacific Railway, built the first tramway in England and ran the first clipper ships to Australia, left his brain to Simon, who dissected it and made a report to the American Institute of Phrenology. Carleton Simon also believed that the face was an indicator of personality and that a criminal's face was therefore a mirror into his actions; Some facial characteristics Simon believed were congenital, but most he thought were caused by the etching of experience on the face.
From 1918 to 1920, Simon examined addicts for the New York State Narcotic Commission. In 1920, he was appointed Special Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of the Narcotics Bureau. Simon was credited with increasing the number of people arrested for drug related crimes, In 1921, Simon was also responsible for the formation of the International Narcotic Criminal Identification Bureau which collected records, including photography and fingerprints, an over 100,000 people convicted of narcotic-connected crimes in 700 cities in the United States and 27 foreign countries. Following his tenure as deputy commissioner, Simon compiled a narcotic survey for the state of Louisiana which estimated the number of addicts and the extent of drug trafficking in the state.
From 1928 to 1938, Simon served as special adviser to the Will Hays Commission, which developed a production code that all the movie studios agreed to follow. Simon's role was to read proposed film scripts and to watch movies to ensure that crime was not being glorified. He also advised about whether certain films were indirect causes to specific crimes.
Simon was an advocate of universal, compulsory fingerprinting and of the use of identification badges as means of establishing positive identity. In 1936 he and Dr. Isadore Goldstein developed a retinal method of identification whereby a photograph was made of the pattern of blood vessels of the retina. This method was supposed to be superior to fingerprinting because the pattern of blood vessels could not be changed whereas fingerprints could at least be disfigured.
Carleton Simon had other interests besides criminology. He was known as "The Father of Casting" and was World Surf Casting Champion from 1914 to 1919. In 1914, he organized the Association of Surf Angling Clubs. He wrote about fish and fishing under the pseudonyms Baron Munchausen, Grape Juice, and John O'Neill. He also wrote poems, a few of which were published in newspaper, under the name "The Ancient Mariner," Carlisle Simon, his own name and anonymously. At least a couple of police stories that fictionalized his experience at the NY Police Department were published under the name Charles Somerville.
Carleton Simon continued to present his ideal as a criminologist to the public in his last years. He gave addresses, often to law enforcement organizations, and continued to write. He was the criminologist for the New York State and the New England associations for Chiefs of Police. He died an the eighteenth of February 1951, just before his eightieth birthday.
The bulk of this collection consists of the writings of Carleton Simon, mostly on crime, but also included are a couple of stories published under a pseudonym in a detective fiction magazine and a few poems. The pamphlets and other published writings, together with the unpublished writings, give fairly complete view of Simon's ideas on crime and criminology. Although Simon was particularly interested in crimes related to narcotics, his pamphlets and speeches show an interest in a wide range of crimes and in examining the causes of crime and how those might be eliminated. Some of his pamphlets are missing from this collection, notably one written about his examination of Leon Czolgosz. In addition, there is no documentation in the collection of his research of the water cure at the request of the New York Herald.
Many of his unpublished writings are speeches to law enforcement groups and a few of these pieces are drafts of published essays. Besides these, there are a few books that Simon had worked on. One, "Spotting the Junkies", seems to be nearly finished, but it was never published. The book is a description of the lives of drug addicts, and it includes many illustrations, mostly of drug paraphernalia. There is also a folder titled "Criminal Word Book" which apparently was intended to be a glossary of criminals' slang. This work appears to be an early draft and consists of little more than illustrations many of which seem to have been borrowed from the manuscript for "Spotting the Junkies". A third unpublished work consists of two draft chapters describing the lives of individual addicts.
The correspondence and newspaper clippings contain articles about Simon's work and a few letters, notably his correspondence with Sir Percy Sillitoe, a Scottish law enforcement officer. Also included are subject files on specific projects of Simon's: his psychiatric clinic in the Bowery Mission, his part in proving the sanity of a Swedish immigrant, May Johnson, and his interest in his friend George Francis Train.
The series on the Hay's Code contains reports by Simon on the suitability of certain movies and scripts. It shows the morals of the time and how the movie industry attempted to protect itself from public censure by developing a commission that would devise and regulate a production code A the entire movie industry. Simon appears to have been chosen to report on films that use crime as a central element in the plot because of his renown as a criminologist. Simon's role was to determine if any of the films glorified crime or the actions of criminals.
The biographical files contain distilled information about Simon's accomplishments which are augmented by the published news stories about his work as a criminologist.
All items in this manuscript collection were purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, a dealer in rare books and collections, by the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, on November 22, 1988.
Processed by: Geoffrey Huth in 1988.
Collection record created by: Aristeo C. Munoz
Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.
We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.
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The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Carleton P. Simon Papers, 1881-1952, 1956. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
|1||1||Brief Biographies of Carleton Simon||1924-1925, 1933, 1936|
|1||2||Funeral and Memorial Documents and the Final Letters of Simon||1949-1951, 1956|
|1||3||Last Will and Testament||1911, 1954|
|1||5||Professional Certificates.||1894, 1901, 1915-1948, 1951|
|1||6||Tax Returns||1917-1945, 1918-1945|
|1||7||Tax Returns||1917-1951, 1918-1945|
|1||8||Correspondence||1881, 1911, 1922-1925, 1931-1937, 1941-1949|
|1||9||Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings Concerning Simon's Efforts Against Crime||1920-1926, 1931-1937, 1945, 1950|
|1||10||Correspondence from Sir Percy Sillitoe||1935, 1943-1950|
|1||11||Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings on May Johnson's Alleged Insanity||1948-1950|
|1||12||Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings on Simon's Psychiatric Clinic in the Bowery Mission||1931-1932|
|1||13||Correspondence, Newspaper Clippings and Notes on George Francis Train||1904, 1931|
|1||14||Newspaper Clippings on Carleton Simon and His Cases||1920-1921, 1931-1932, 1937, 1950|
|1||15||Partial Lists of Pamphlets (written by Simon and his family)||ca. 1950-1952|
|1||16||Address at the 1925 Meeting of the International Police Conference||1925|
|1||17||Address to the American Institute of Phrenology||1904|
|1||18||Address to the 44th Annual Public Meeting of the New England Watch and Ward Society||1922|
|1||19||Alcoholism . . . Report of the Social Protection Committee||1950|
|1||20||Basic Causes of Crime||1929|
|1||21||The Causes of Juvenile Delinquency||1937|
|1||22||The Clue of the Tattooed Man(under the pseudonym Charles Somerville)||1923|
|1||23||Crime and the Motion Picture||1928|
|1||24||The Crime of Counterfeiting||1939|
|1||25||The Criminal Problems of a Big City||1920|
|1||26||Control of Narcotics||1923|
|1||27||Divorce and its Relation to Crime||1947|
|1||28||Dual Personality and Abnormal Behavior||1949|
|1||29||Dual Personality and Crime||ca. 1945|
|1||30||Dual Personality and the Mental Trends in Criminals||1930|
|1||31||Facial Indicators of Personality||1950|
|1||32||47th Annual Conference of New York State Chiefs of Police--Publication with Address by and Biography of Simon||1947|
|1||34||Homosexualists and Sex Crimes||1947|
|1||35||The Influence of Heredity and Environment Upon Crime||1931|
|1||36||Medico-Legal Problems of the Drug Evil||1919|
|1||37||The Menace of Dope||1924|
|1||38||The Musical Temperament||ca. 1905|
|1||39||My Plea at the Bar of Justice||1920|
|1||40||Narcotic Survey of the State of Louisiana||1926|
|1||41||Narcotics and Crime||1923|
|1||42||The Negro Criminal||1934|
|1||43||Observation and Its Importance to the Police||1931|
|1||44||Onward March of Law Through Historic Crimes(series of newspaper stories)||1937|
|1||46||A Perverted Personality||ca. 1930|
|1||47||Plants That Incite to Crime||ca. 1935|
|1||48||Postwar Criminal Problems||ca. 1944|
|1||49||The Problem of Suicide||1948|
|1||50||Program for Annual Ball of the Honor Legion of the New York City Police Department||1923|
|1||51||Pyromania and Kleptomania||1949|
|1||52||Scientific Discussions of Causes of Behavior||1940|
|1||54||Solution by Circles||1941|
|1||55||Something You Should Know||ca. 1945|
|1||56||Statement Before the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives||1930|
|1||57||A Study of Inheritance, Mental, Physical and Prenatal||ca. 1905|
|1||58||Survey of the Narcotic Problem||1924|
|1||59||The Tap an the Door(under the pseudonym Charles Somerville)||1923|
|1||61||"A Valentine for My Children" (Poem)||1901|
|1||62||The War Against Criminal Forces||1942|
|1||63||What are the Basic Causes of Present Day Crime?||1929|
|1||64||Address at the Convention of the New York Stale Association of Chiefs of Police||1936|
|1||65||Address on Narcotic Drug Addiction||1925|
|1||66||Address on Suicide||1948|
|1||67||Address to Secret Service on the Psychological Aspect of the Criminal||1941|
|1||68||The Cost of Incendiaries and Practical Solutions||1933|
|1||69||The Criminal and his Facial Aspects||1934|
|1||71||Criminal Narcotic Drug Addiction--A World Wide Police Problem||1922|
|1||72||Criminal Word Book--Illustrations||ca. 1935|
|1||73||The Danger of Indiscriminate Use of Red and Green Lights on our Public Highways||1933|
|1||74||Drafts of the First Two Chapters of a Nonfiction Book an Individual New York City Addicts||ca. 1940|
|1||75||Lectures and Notes for Lectures at the School for Detectives||1923-1924|
|1||77||The Negro Criminal||1933|
|1||78||New Aspects of Criminal Science||1948|
|1||79||New Methods for Protecting Public Welfare||1932|
|1||80||A New Scientific Method of Identification||1935|
|1||81||The Phenomena of Life and Death||ca. 1935|
|1||82||Plan for New England Association of Chiefs of Police Crime Detection Laboratory||1933|
|1||83||Plan for the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police School and Crime Detection Laboratory||1934|
|1||85||Post-War Crime Problems and Their Control||1944|
|1||86||Remarks an Social Protection Measures||1946|
|1||87||Report of the Committee of Criminal Science of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police||1933|
|1||88||Resolutions of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police on Fingerprinting and Parole||1942|
|1||89||The Retinal Method of Identification||1936|
|1||90||Simon-Goldstein Scientific Method of Identification||ca. 1936|
|1||91||Simon-Goldstein Scientific Method of Identification||ca. 1936|
|1||92||Spotting the "Junkies,"||ca. 1935|
|2||1||Spotting the Junkies "Contents"||1935|
|2||2||Spotting the "Junkies" Pages 301 – 342||1935|
|2||3||Talk Given by Dr. Carleton Simon on "We, the PeopIe" Subject Marijuana||1938|
|2||4||Untitled Essay on Color||ca. 1940|
|2||5||Statement Before the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Racketeering||1933|
|2||6||Photographs of Carleton Simon||1900, 1925, 1944, 1950|
|2||7||Copies of the Code||1930|
|2||8||Correspondence, Folder 1||1926-1931|
|2||9||Correspondence, Folder 2||1928-1937, 1946, 1948|
|2||10||Simon's Reports on Motion Pictures||1926-1934, 1937|
|3||1||Photographs of Carleton Simon||1900, 1925, 1944, 1950|
|3||2||Photographs of Others||1936, 1938|
|3||15||Address Book and Notebook||ca. 1930-1950|
|3||16||Awards and Citations||1946, 1951|
|3||17||Blank Letterhead||ca. 1930-1950|
|3||18||Honorary Membership Certificates||1902, 1907, 1920-1924, 1930-1931, 1943-1949|
|3||20||Phonodisk of a Radio Broadcast from the Series, "Crime is a Losing Game,"||1949|
|3||21||Plaque from the New York City Police Department||ca. 1940|
|3||22||Plaque from the New York City Police Department||1882-1983|
|3||23||Rosters of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police||1949-1950|
|3||28||Gunning for Drug Smugglers||1921|
|3||29||Have You a Wrong Way Brain?||1939|
|3||30||How They'll Catch Tomorrow's Kidnapers||1935|
|3||31||News Release About Young Criminals||ca. 1949|
|3||32||Occupations in Relation to Health: The Physician||1906|
|3||33||Phonograph of Dr. Carleton Simon||1900|
|3||34||Sherlock Holmes Up to Date||1935|
|3||35||"Try Anything Once?"--Don't!||1923|