Nevins: The Negro Leagues secretary who was also a private eye

From Jess Nevins at on October 10, 2016, with mention of SABR Vice President Leslie Heaphy:

So John Walton’s The Legendary Detective, a pretty good history of private detectives (the real thing, not the fictional ones), has a long section on women as private detectives, and then a shorter one (though even more intriguing) on African-American private detectives. And in the middle of that section he casually drops this bombshell:

Q. J. Gilmore combined his National Negro Detective Agency with his day job as traveling secretary of the Negro National League’s Kansas City Monarchs baseball team (where Jackie Robinson would later start his professional career). His agency superintendent badge survives at Ben Harroll’s P.I. Museum in San Diego, California.

According to Leslie A. Heaphy’s The Negro Leagues, 1869-1960 Gilmore also ran his own undertaking and funeral business and was a member of the Elks. A little more digging turns up the photo to the right, which is of Gilmore’s business in “early Denver.” Gilmore’s birth date is uncertain–searching in various genealogy databases doesn’t turn up anything–but we know (source below) that he left Denver for Kansas City in 1918, so his business must have flourished before then.

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Originally published: October 10, 2016. Last Updated: October 10, 2016.