Burglars, Gamblers, Bootleggers, Safe Men, Prostitutes, & Dope Fiends: Crime in Richmond, Virginia in the 1940s
A selection of materials from the Lawler Papers.
This online exhibit explores crime in Richmond in the 1940s using the papers of FBI agent John E. Lawler which are housed in Special Collections and Archives. This site includes information on known criminals in the Richmond area, murder and prostitution in Richmond, a guide to the Lawler Papers, and links to relevant sites.
Appointed a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935, John Edward Lawler (1908-1982) headed the Richmond field office from 1939 until 1950. He then worked as a lawyer, business consultant, and member of the Richmond City Council from 1956-1960. On December 30, 1982, Lawler was found bludgeoned to death in his home in Richmond. He was 74-years-old. An inquiry into his death revealed his alleged involvement with underage prostitution.
After his service as head of the FBI field office in Richmond, Lawler served three terms on the city's City Council. Image is from the Lawler collection. RCA was the Richmond Citizen's Association.
Several months before his murder, Lawler donated his personal papers to Special Collections and Archives. Lawler had collected numerous FBI documents during the 1940s to use for training purposes. He later acquired other materials relating to his work after his years as an FBI agent. The collection includes materials relating to Richmond crime during the 1940s, FBI training, anti-communist FBI activities in Virginia, his involvement with the CIA in the 1950s, his run for political office in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and other materials.
If you have questions or comments about this exhibit or the Lawler Papers,