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THE INTERNATIONAL BUREAU

blue_book_190806 blue_book_190805 blue_book_190810 blue_book_190808 blue_book_190809
 
Full Name: The International Bureau
Nationality: American
Organization: The International Bureau
Occupation Agency

Creator: Clarence H. New
Time Span: 1908 - 1908

ABOUT THE SERIES

       The International Bureau is a global anti-crime organization, plus.
       The plus is why it is present in the collection of spies and spy agencies.
       Its creator is a very wealthy though still fairly young man of 35 named Tom Gregory and according to him the purpose of the non-governmental group is "the detection and prevention of crime. The guaranteeing of social and commercial standing. Indirectly, the shaping of governmental policy. In short, a secret service which is better equipped and more powerful than that of any nation in the world, today."
       The main protagonist in this short collection of adventures, though, is a famed and very popular newspaper war correspondent with a decidedly international beat, Culpeper Zandtt. Zandtt works for the large New York City daily The Trumpeter though it would appear his war reports were syndicated country-wide. It is Zandtt who will become the unofficial "face" of the Bureau.
       Gregory and Zandtt had known each other fairly well when both attended "Cambridge" years before but then life and careers took them in separate directions. When Gregory decided that an actual human being was needed to act as go-between for the Bureau, he thought of his old acquaintance and starting leaving clues that were sure to lure Zandtt to a meeting. It was then that Gregory explained the incredible breadth of his Bureau.
       [Remember that this takes place in 1908. That is more than a decade before the first commercial radio broadcast. More than two decades before the first commercial television broadcast. Three decades before network television became common. More than eight decades before online bulletin boards and then companies like Compuserve and AOL. Nine decades before the Internet became a way of life.]
       The concept behind the Bureau was massive data acquisition and storage. It got its start with Gregory's notion that "every person who has ever done anything out of the ordinary - good or bad - is sure to have been the subject of a newspaper paragraph at some time in his life. Even the average citizen, in business, society, politics, or professional life rarely escapes some publicity, while, of the criminal classes, there are always police records which are available to anyone sufficiently well acquainted with the department-heads in the various cities." To that end, he deduced that "a carefully planned system of collecting and filing such information is bound to result in a mass of biographical data which is beyond the comprehension of the average person".
       It was after explaining the above to Zandtt that Gregory pointed out the window at his huge estate along the Hudson River in Tarrytown, NY and at his Italian gardens, "considered among the finest in the country: there are about thirty acres of them". He goes on to say, "extending under nearly the entire space they cover are two levels of fire-proof, concrete rooms, in which my files are arranged in steel cases". This huge cavernous area is accessed by ten young women in his employ, chaperoned by his two aunts. It is the job of these women to take the incredible amount of press clippings that come in daily, sort them, and file them away for later use, as well as retrieving and collating them when needed for a case.
       [The amount of money that Gregory says he had inherited is a bit confusing. He claims it was "eight hundred thousand" which hardly seems sufficient to give him the wonderful estate and the funds needed to have his huge data complex constructed. Granted, inflation would have resulted in $1 then being worth nearly $30 today so $800k would become $24m. Impressive and nice to have but would it be enough to accomplish his goals? Apparently so.]
       The International Bureau over time began to have an impact so much so that the U.S. President would become interested. [Though not stated, the implication and the timing points to Theodore Roosevelt.] This will result in Zandtt, though maintaining Gregory's identity and scope of operation, letting the Chief Executive in on some of the capabilities and being asked to help the country.

NOVELLAS AND SHORT STORIES

Number of Stories:6
First Appearance:1908
Last Appearance:1908

Published in six consecutive issues of the still new Blue Book magazine running from the May 1908 issue to the October 1908 one.

1 The Organization and the Sprague Case The Organization and the Sprague Case
Written by Clarence H. New
Copyright: 1908

Published in The Blue Book Magazine, May 1908.
We meet Culpepper Zandtt, the reporter, who is enticed into meeting and then joining the International Bureau. The first case worked by Zandtt after joining concerning the mystery of the murder of a wealthy man named Sprague.
Click here to read the story.

2 The Rescue of a Diplomat The Rescue of a Diplomat
Written by Clarence H. New
Copyright: 1908

Published in The Blue Book Magazine, Jun 1908.
An encoded message sent to the New York newspaper, the Trumpeter, from one of its overseas reporters reveals a plot by a cell of dedicated nihilists. Future assassination attempts against leaders of Russia and the UK, as well as the imminent attack on the King of Spain, were discussed. Most worrisome is reference to something happening in the States. The Secret Service is informed and it in turn contacts Culpeper Zandtt to get the help of the International Bureau.
Click here to read the story.

3 A Dangerous Competitor A Dangerous Competitor
Written by Clarence H. New
Copyright: 1908

Published in The Blue Book Magazine, Jul 1908.
The founder of the International Bureau, Thomas Gregory, and his chief agent, Culpeper Zandtt, are surprised and dismayed to learn that there is a small group of people doing something similar to the Bureau though they are out after only profit.
Click here to read the story.

4 The Woodville Rubies The Woodville Rubies
Written by Clarence H. New
Copyright: 1908

Published in The Blue Book Magazine, Aug 1908.
The wealthy financier distinctly remembers paying a huge amount by check for the exquisite ruby necklace. He remembers locking the piece of jewelry in his library safe. And he remembers opening the safe to show it to guests late that day and finding it was gone. He also has a fuzzy partial memory of having given it away.
Click here to read the story.

5 The Order of Green Friars The Order of Green Friars
aka By Command of the President
Written by Clarence H. New
Copyright: 1908

Published in The Blue Book Magazine, Sep 1908.
When the US President learned of the existence of the International Bureau, he was very concerned it could be used for ill and began to insist it be brought under the control of the Secret Service. Culpeper Zandtt comes up with a plan to counter that by showing a more dangerous group at work, one involving voodoo!
Click here to read the story.

6 The Cruise of the Gray Ghost The Cruise of the Gray Ghost
aka The International Bureau Handles a Diplomatic Case
Written by Clarence H. New
Copyright: 1908

Published in The Blue Book Magazine, Oct 1908 issue.
To recover a vital stolen secret document, Culpeper Zandtt will have to take part in a daring chase through the nation's capitol, to other military bases and then in a rapid trip aboard a yacht to Martinique.
Click here to read the story.

MY COMMENTS

       The historical scope of this very short and largely unknown series is, to me, phenominal.
       In the 60's it was believed by many that the FBI had fantastic amounts of data on virtually every citizen (maybe they did, and do). Also in that time period, there were stories going around that AT&T also knew everything about everyone through its monopoly of the phone system. In the 80's and 90's there was talk, albeit not as much, that the NSA (No Such Agency) was the entity that really had the scoop on everything, a fact borne out by Snowden's revelations in 2013.
       But the author, Clarence Herbert New, presented this concept more than a half century before and used it as the basis for a half dozen stories. Talk about a man before his time!
       
       The stories themselves are good but not great. I grade them a 'B' but give them a half-grade bump for originality.
       They were published in a monthly magazine called Blue Book along with numerous other stories and articles in a wide range of genres and topics. They must have been popular as the editors accepted each one offered.
       I think (speculation here) that it was the author who saw he had taken the concept as far as he could and decided to move on to something else. That something else would be the Agent of the Government.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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