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.