Guide to the John Edward Lawler Papers
The Encoded Archival Description (EAD) version of the finding aid is available at the Virginia Heritage web site.
Below is the version taken from a Word file.
If you would like to use the Lawler Papers for research or have questions about the collection, contact Special Collections and Archives.
JOHN EDWARD LAWLER PAPERS
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES DEPARTMENT
JAMES BRANCH CABELL LIBRARY
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY
Title: John Edward Lawler Papers (n.d., 1937-1974)
Accession Number: 90-Aug-120
Size: 8.3 linear feet
Provenance: The materials were given to the Department by Mr. Lawler on 17 February 1982.
Literary Property Rights: Virginia Commonwealth University has a signed Deed of Gift transferring these rights.
John Edward Lawler, attorney, FBI agent, and insurance executive was born 19 May 1908 in Mobile, Alabama. His parents were Ida Dickens and Matthew Joseph Lawler, Sr. He attended high school and college at Spring Hill, a Jesuit school in Mobile. In 1930 he went to Washington, D.C., where he attended Stryars Business College and worked in a Sanitary Grocery store. In 1931, he enrolled in Georgetown University Law School and received an LLB degree in 1935. He was appointed a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on 1 July 1935, receiving assignments to the Buffalo, NY, and Los Angeles, CA, field offices. In April 1937, he returned to Washington to become Administrative Assistant to John Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI. On 15 August 1939, Lawler was appointed agent-in-charge of the Richmond field office, which encompassed the Commonwealth of Virginia. Once again, in August 1940, he returned to Washington to assist Director Hoover in organizing the counter-espionage activities of the Bureau. Lawler met his future wife in Richmond and, because of an illness in 1941, he asked to be reassigned to the Richmond field office, where he remained until his retirement from the Bureau in 1950.
Lawler and his wife had two daughters and two sons before their divorce in the mid-sixties. For a time after his retirement from the Bureau in 1950, Lawler worked for the Central Intelligence Agency establishing United Business Associates, which invested in African interests, and organizing the Richmond-based Old Dominion Research Company, which supported CIA agents. He was engaged by the Union Life Insurance Company as a Vice-President and General Counsel. He remained with the company after its purchase and merger with Herndon P. Jeffreys, Jr. in the firm of Jeffreys and Lawler. He was a member of the Richmond City Council filling six months of Ed Haddock's unexpired term and was elected to two successive terms (1956-1960). In Richmond, Lawler was also an Alternate Director of Civil Defense, Chairman of the City's Personnel Board and active on law enforcement advisory boards for the city and state.
Lawler died at the age of 74 on December 30, 1982. According to newspaper reports at the time, he was found beaten to death in his Riverside Drive house. An inquiry by Richmond City Police of his death was tied to an investigation of his alleged involvement with prostitution. Read more about the murder HERE.
[See Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 1-3, 1983 and Richmond's Throttle magazine, May 1983]
SCOPE AND CONTENT:
The papers are particularly rich in the areas of law enforcement and training. There is a great wealth of material from Lawler's career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C., where he was an administrative assistant to J. Edgar Hoover and in Richmond where he was the agent-in-charge of the Field Office. Lawler played a key role in organizing the Bureau's counter-espionage work during World War II. He was also involved in anti-Communist activities, curtailing and controlling the activities of Alice Burke, Secretary of the Communist party, who lived in Richmond. Lawler developed training materials and delivered lectures to local and state law enforcement agencies in Virginia. There is one folder of material documenting some of the grants released by the Old Dominion Research Company, a CIA-sponsored money source organized by Lawler. Although Lawler served on the Richmond City Council and other city boards, there is only a limited amount of material on his role in Richmond politics. There us an extensive group of materials relating to cases before the NLRB against the Union Life Insurance Company and its successor the Interstate Mutual Fire Insurance Company. The papers contain material for potential research in law enforcement , counter-espionage and intelligence, labor relations and law enforcement and politics of the Richmond area.
The papers are contained in five record storage boxes and are divided into four series. Detailed notes on arrangement can be found at the head of each series
Series I--Biographical; Series II--Federal Bureau of Investigation; Series III--Richmond; Series IV--Insurance
Interview conducted 2/8/1980 audio tape and transcript
Series II--Federal Bureau of Investigation
There is a great deal of mimeographed and printed documents in the series that were preserved because they were maintained in Lawler's working files and often manipulated by him for training purposes. Moreover, it was deemed advisable to maintain the FBI publications for the benefit of researchers unable to travel to Washington, D.C., or to long-term government Depository Libraries. An attempt was made not only to establish an easily used subject file but also to maintain what remained of Lawler's original file order in the papers. The two notebooks of publications were part of Lawler's original office file. The remaining folders in the series arranged by subject include: FBI office memoranda, printed publications, reports, Lawler's lesson plans, mimeographed training materials issued by the Milwaukee and Washington, DC, police departments for the period 1937 to 1944. Researchers should be careful not to overlook the folder containing memoranda that illustrate the inner workings of the Bureau. There are related files in the subseries on the FBI field office in Series III.
Communist Party Line
Criminal Law and Procedure
Desertion from Armed Forces
Director's Addresses and Publications (incomplete)
Espionage (World War II)
Examinations from metropolitan police departments' training academies
Federal Law Violations: Cases
Kidnapping and Bank Robbery
Kidnapping, Fried Case
Kidnapping, Fried Case
Kidnapping, Ross Case
Kidnapping, School Data
Lessons, Milwaukee Police Department
Lessons, Washington (DC) Police Academy
National Police Academy
Newspaper File, Clippings 1938-1943
Photographs, Series 37 - (incomplete)
Photographs, Technical Lab Series - 5 (incomplete)
Plant (Factory) Protection
Portrait Parle (personal description method)
Search and Seizure
Wartime Law Enforcement
Files for the two major subseries, the FBI field office and Virginia Law Enforcement Training, relate to materials in Series II. there are three files particularly valuable for Richmond area researchers those containing the field office's survey of crime for 1944 and 1947-1948 and those on the Schwarzchild Jewelry case, one of the major robberies in the city's history. Other materials important to the history of the city can be found in Lawler's incomplete political files and Jeffreys' and Lawlers' bills to the Richmond School Board in the Bradley v. Board desegregation case. For researchers concerned with the nation's intelligence gathering apparatus and the operations of the CIA, the file on the Old Dominion Research Company is an important source of material.
FBI Field Office
Folder 4.1 Acknowledgements of talks on law enforcement 1953-1954
4.2 Christian Committee, clippings
4.3 Communist Activities
4.4 Communist Party Members
4.5 Crime Survey 1944
4.6 Crime Survey 1947-1948
4.7 Crime Survey Photographs of Criminals (most photographs in this folder have been
moved to box 7)
4.8 Infantile Crime (Juvenile Delinquency)
4.10 Report Writing
4.11 Schwarzchild Jewelry Case 1949
4.12 Schwarzchild Jewelry Case Photographs oversize
4.13 Thompson Auto Theft Case 1947
4.14 Jeffreys and Lawler Bradley v. Board
4.15 Old Dominion Research Company 1959-1968 [A CIA dummy company]
4.16 Police Department
4.17 Civil Defense
4.19 Politics, Campaign Cards and Clippings
4.20 Politics, Lists
4.21 Regional Planning District Commission, Law Enforcement Committee 1970
4.22 Smith, Stephen C. 1974-1975
4.23 Virginia Law Enforcement Training Laws of Arrest
4.24 Virginia Law Enforcement Training Laws of Arrest
4.25 Virginia Law Enforcement Training Criminal Investigation
4.26 Virginia Law Enforcement Training Criminal Law
4.27 Virginia Law Enforcement Training Due Process
Folder 5.1 Virginia Law Enforcement Training Rules of Evidence
5.2 Virginia Law Enforcement Training Rules of Evidence
5.3 Virginia Law Enforcement Training Searches and Seizures
This series appears to be the "U -Z" portion of Lawler's files regarding Union Life Insurance Company and Interstate Mutual Insurance Company. The files have been maintained in the order in which they were received by the department except for the printed publications and clippings which were removed. The materials deal with cases brought before the NLRB.
Folder 5.4 Mears, Edgar H. Photograph
5.5 Labor Relations
5.6 Unemployment Compensation
5.16 Wood, William C.
5.17 Examination Report on Interstate Mutual Fire Insurance Co.
This portion of the Lawler Papers were separated from the original collection and returned to the Department 21 March 1980. The 15 notebooks comprising the addition belong with Series II and are a continuation of Lawler's working file as the Bureau director's administrative assistant.
Folder 5.18 Training Schools
5.19 Training Schools
5.20 Special Speech materials and scripts
5.21 Manual of Instructions
5.22 Manual of Instructions
5.23 Manual of Instructions
5.24 Manual of Instructions
5.25 Manual of Instructions
5.26 Manual of Instructions
Folder 6.1 Manual of Instructions
6.2 Manual of Instructions
6.3 Manual of Instructions
6.4 Manual of Rules and Regulations
6.5 Manual of Rules and Regulations
6.29-6.32 Official Photographs
6.33-6.39 National Defense Manual
F. B. I. Field Office, Crime Survey Photographs [mug shots]
[All photographs have been scanned and saved to a disc. Information on the back of each
photograph has been copied and numbered to correspond with each file name.]