1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY
1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY

Carleton P. Simon Papers

1881-1952, 1956

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The collection of papers is about drugs and drug related crimes in the United States. It is written by Carleton P. Simon. Simon is a psychiatrist by profession and is very much interested in crimes. This passion led to his next profession as a criminlogist. His writings focus on crimes and examine the motives behind the crimes. Simons has also written fiction magazines and poems.


Simon, Carleton P.
Date Coverage:
1881-1952, 1956
2.0 cubic ft. (about 2.0 boxes)

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.

Series Descriptions

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

Collection record created by: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on

Published: 2019-02-18 23:01:25 -0500

Encoded in EAD by Aristeo C. Munoz, 2013

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Copyright Statement

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]).

Contents of Collection

Quantity:  4 in.

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Vitae and brief biographies of Carleton Simon, along with other biographical items, including his will, obituaries, and professional certificates.



1 1Brief Biographies of Carleton Simon1924-1925, 1933, 1936


1 2Funeral and Memorial Documents and the Final Letters of Simon1949-1951, 1956


1 3Last Will and Testament1911, 1954


1 4Obituaries1951


1 5Professional Certificates.1894, 1901, 1915-1948, 1951


1 6Tax Returns1917-1945, 1918-1945


1 7Tax Returns1917-1951, 1918-1945
Quantity:  3 in.

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Separate files for incoming correspondence and newspaper clippings, as well as three subject files which include both correspondence and newspaper clippings on some of Simon's projects.



1 8Correspondence1881, 1911, 1922-1925, 1931-1937, 1941-1949


1 9Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings Concerning Simon's Efforts Against Crime1920-1926, 1931-1937, 1945, 1950


1 10Correspondence from Sir Percy Sillitoe1935, 1943-1950


1 11Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings on May Johnson's Alleged Insanity1948-1950


1 12Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings on Simon's Psychiatric Clinic in the Bowery Mission1931-1932


1 13Correspondence, Newspaper Clippings and Notes on George Francis Train1904, 1931


1 14Newspaper Clippings on Carleton Simon and His Cases1920-1921, 1931-1932, 1937, 1950
Quantity:  6 in.

Arranged alphabetically by title, except for two partial lists of pamphlets that precede the alphabetical listing.

Many pamphlets by Simon giving his views an crime, a couple of pseudonymous short stories, and two anonymous poems.



1 15Partial Lists of Pamphlets (written by Simon and his family)ca. 1950-1952


1 16Address at the 1925 Meeting of the International Police Conference1925


1 17Address to the American Institute of Phrenology1904


1 18Address to the 44th Annual Public Meeting of the New England Watch and Ward Society1922


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 3247th Annual Conference of New York State Chiefs of Police--Publication with Address by and Biography of Simon1947


1 33 The Gangster 1932


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 45 "Over-worked" (Poem) 1901


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 53 Social Problems 1950


1 54 Solution by Circles 1941


1 55 Something You Should Know ca. 1945


1 56Statement Before the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives1930


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 60 Unexplainable Phenomena 1930


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
Quantity:  7 in

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Unpublished speeches by Simon, essays on crime and criminological techniques, poems (some that were published in newspapers), the illustrations from a glossary on the slang of criminals, Criminal World Book, which appears to include some illustrations also intended for his book, "Spotting the Junkies" , and opening chapters for a third book on the lives of New York City addicts.



1 64Address at the Convention of the New York Stale Association of Chiefs of Police1936


1 65Address on Narcotic Drug Addiction1925


1 66Address on Suicide1948


1 67Address to Secret Service on the Psychological Aspect of the Criminal1941


1 68The Cost of Incendiaries and Practical Solutions1933


1 69The Criminal and his Facial Aspects1934


1 70Criminal Lives1932


1 71Criminal Narcotic Drug Addiction--A World Wide Police Problem1922


1 72Criminal Word Book--Illustrationsca. 1935


1 73The Danger of Indiscriminate Use of Red and Green Lights on our Public Highways1933


1 74Drafts of the First Two Chapters of a Nonfiction Book an Individual New York City Addictsca. 1940


1 75Lectures and Notes for Lectures at the School for Detectives1923-1924


1 76Narcotic Control1923


1 77The Negro Criminal1933


1 78New Aspects of Criminal Science1948


1 79New Methods for Protecting Public Welfare1932


1 80A New Scientific Method of Identification1935


1 81The Phenomena of Life and Deathca. 1935


1 82Plan for New England Association of Chiefs of Police Crime Detection Laboratory1933


1 83Plan for the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police School and Crime Detection Laboratory1934


1 84Poems1900-1920


1 85Post-War Crime Problems and Their Control1944


1 86Remarks an Social Protection Measures1946


1 87Report of the Committee of Criminal Science of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police1933


1 88Resolutions of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police on Fingerprinting and Parole1942


1 89The Retinal Method of Identification1936


1 90Simon-Goldstein Scientific Method of Identificationca. 1936


1 91Simon-Goldstein Scientific Method of Identificationca. 1936


1 92Spotting the "Junkies,"ca. 1935


2 1Spotting the Junkies "Contents"1935


2 2Spotting the "Junkies" Pages 301 – 3421935


2 3Talk Given by Dr. Carleton Simon on "We, the PeopIe" Subject Marijuana1938


2 4Untitled Essay on Colorca. 1940


2 5Statement Before the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Racketeering1933


2 6Photographs of Carleton Simon1900, 1925, 1944, 1950
Quantity:  2.5 in.

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Correspondence to and from the Hay's Commission about the suitability of proposed movie scripts and finished movies, and correspondence about the connection between specific crimes and films. Also contains formal reports on specific movies and scripts.



2 7Copies of the Code1930


2 8Correspondence, Folder 11926-1931


2 9Correspondence, Folder 21928-1937, 1946, 1948


2 10Simon's Reports on Motion Pictures1926-1934, 1937
Quantity:  1.5 in.

Arranged by subject.

Two folders of photographs, one of photographs of Carleton Simon and one of photographs of other people, mostly law enforcement officials.



3 1Photographs of Carleton Simon1900, 1925, 1944, 1950


3 2Photographs of Others1936, 1938
Quantity:  3 in.

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Includes a scrapbook, a report card book, a wallet, an address book, blank letterhead, awards, and citations.



3 15Address Book and Notebookca. 1930-1950


3 16Awards and Citations1946, 1951


3 17Blank Letterheadca. 1930-1950


3 18Honorary Membership Certificates1902, 1907, 1920-1924, 1930-1931, 1943-1949


3 19Mementos1894-1896, 1944


3 20Phonodisk of a Radio Broadcast from the Series, "Crime is a Losing Game,"1949


3 21Plaque from the New York City Police Departmentca. 1940


3 22Plaque from the New York City Police Department1882-1983


3 23Rosters of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police1949-1950


3 24Scrapbook1885-1889


3 25Skull X-ray1935


3 26Wallet1917-1950
Quantity:  1 in.

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Published articles about Carleton Simon's work as a criminologist and his views on crime.



3 27 The Conqueror 1924


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 33Phonograph of Dr. Carleton Simon1900


3 34 Sherlock Holmes Up to Date 1935


3 35 "Try Anything Once?"--Don't! 1923