Adam Worth

Adam Worth (1844 – 8 January 1902) was a German-born American criminal. Scotland Yard Detective Robert Anderson nicknamed him "the Napoleon of the criminal world" (because of his short stature).[1] He is widely considered the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional criminal mastermind James Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes series, whom Conan Doyle calls "The Napoleon of Crime".

Adam Worth
Adam Worth
Died8 January 1902 (aged 57–58)
London, England
Other namesHenry J. Raymond, Edward Grey
OccupationClerk, Soldier, Thief, Gambler
Criminal chargeRobbery
PenaltySeven years imprisonment

Early life

Adam Worth was born into a poor Jewish family somewhere in Germany.[2][3] His original surname might have been "Werth".[4] When he was five years old, his family moved to the United States and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Worth's father became a tailor.[5] In 1854, Worth ran away from home and moved first to Boston and then, in 1860, to New York City. He worked as a clerk in a department store for one month.

When the American Civil War broke out, Worth was 17. He lied about his age and enlisted in the Union army. Worth served in the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery, Battery L (later designated 34th New York Battery) and was promoted to sergeant in two months. He was wounded in the Second Battle of Bull Run on 30 August 1862 and shipped to a Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C. In the hospital, he learned he had been listed as killed in action and left.

Criminal career

Worth became a bounty jumper, enlisting into various regiments under assumed names, receiving his bounty, and then deserting. When the Pinkerton Detective Agency began to track him, like many others using similar methods, he fled to New York City and went to Portsmouth.

After the war, Worth became a pickpocket in New York. In time, he founded his own gang of pickpockets, and then began to organize robberies and heists. When he was caught stealing the cash box of an Adams Express wagon, he was sentenced to three years in Sing Sing prison. He soon escaped and resumed his criminal career.

Worth began to work for the prominent fence and criminal organizer Fredericka "Marm" Mandelbaum. With her help, he expanded into bank and store robberies around 1866 and eventually began to plan his own heists. In 1869, he helped Mandelbaum break safecracker Charley Bullard out of the White Plains Jail, through a tunnel.

With Bullard, Worth robbed the vault of the Boylston National Bank in Boston on 20 November 1869, again through a tunnel, this time from a neighboring shop. The bank alerted the Pinkertons, who tracked the shipment of trunks Worth and Bullard had used to ship the loot to New York. Worth decided to move to Europe with Bullard.

Exploits in Europe

Bullard and Worth went first to Liverpool. Bullard took the identity of "Charles H. Wells", a Texas oilman. Worth was financier "Henry Judson Raymond" (a name he "borrowed" from the late founder editor of The New York Times) ,[6] the name he would use for years afterwards. They began to compete for the favors of a barmaid named Kitty Flynn, who eventually learned their true identities. She became Bullard's wife, but did not disfavor Worth. In October 1870, Kitty gave birth to a daughter, Lucy Adeleine, and seven years later had another daughter named Katherine Louise. The paternity of these two girls is left up to debate. It is possible that Kitty herself did not know, but Bullard and Worth claimed each child all the same. William Pinkerton (son of Allan Pinkerton and a detective with Pinkerton) believed Worth fathered both of Kitty's daughters.

When the Bullards went on their honeymoon, Worth began to rob local pawnshops. He shared the loot with Bullard and Flynn when they came back, and together, the three moved to Paris in 1871.

In Paris, the police force was still in disarray after the events of the Paris Commune. Worth and his associates founded an "American Bar", a restaurant and bar on the ground floor, and a gambling den on the upper floor. Because gambling was illegal, the gambling tables were built so that they could be folded inside the walls and the floor. A buzzer would be sounded from downstairs to alert the customers before any police raid. Worth formed a new gang of associates, including some of his old comrades from New York.

When William Pinkerton (by then president of the Pinkerton Detective Agency) visited the place in 1873, Worth recognized him. Later the Paris police raided the place numerous times, and Worth and the Bullards decided to abandon the restaurant. Worth used his place for the last time to defraud a diamond dealer, and the three moved to London.[7]

London master criminal

In England, Worth and his associates bought Western Lodge at Clapham Common. He also leased an apartment in Mayfair and joined high society. He formed his own criminal network and organized major robberies and burglaries through several intermediaries. Those who worked in his schemes never knew his name. He insisted that his subordinates not use violence.

Eventually, Scotland Yard learned of Worth's network, though they were initially unable to prove anything. Inspector John Shore made Worth's capture his personal mission.

Thomas Gainsborough Lady Georgiana Cavendish
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Thomas Gainsborough (1787), stolen by Worth in 1876.

Things began to go wrong when Worth's brother John was sent to cash a forged check in Paris, for which he was arrested and extradited to England. Worth managed to exonerate him and get him sent back to the United States. Four of his associates were arrested in Istanbul for spreading more forged letters of credit, and he had to use a considerable amount of money to buy off the judges and the police. Bullard became increasingly violent, as his alcoholism worsened, and he eventually left for New York, followed soon afterward by Kitty.

In 1876, Worth personally stole Thomas Gainsborough's recently rediscovered painting of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire from a London gallery of Thomas Agnew & Sons with the help of two associates. He liked the painting and did not try to sell it. The two men who assisted in the robbery, Junka Phillips and Little Joe, grew impatient. Phillips tried to get him to talk about the theft in the presence of a police informer, and Worth effectively fired him. Worth gave Little Joe money to return to the United States, where he tried to rob the Union Trust Company, was arrested, and talked to the Pinkertons. They alerted Scotland Yard, but they still could not prove anything.

Worth kept the painting with him even when he was traveling and organizing new schemes and robberies. Eventually, he traveled to South Africa, where he stole $500,000 worth of uncut diamonds. Back in London, he founded Wynert & Company, which sold diamonds at a lower price than its competitors.

In the 1880s, Worth married a Louise Margaret Boljahn, while still using the name Henry Raymond. They had a son Henry and a daughter Beatrice. It is possible his wife did not know his real identity. He smuggled the painting to the United States and left it there.

Mistake and capture

In 1892, Worth decided to visit Belgium, where Bullard was in jail. Bullard had been working with Max Shinburn, Worth's rival, when police captured them both. Worth had heard that Bullard had recently died.

On 5 October, Worth improvised a robbery of a money delivery cart in Liège with two untried associates, one of them the American Johnny Curtin. The robbery went badly, and the police captured Worth on the spot. Two others got away.

In jail, Worth refused to identify himself, and the Belgian police made inquiries abroad. Both the New York Police Department and Scotland Yard identified him as Worth, although the Pinkertons did not say anything. Max Shinburn, now in jail, told the police everything he knew. In jail, Worth heard nothing about his family in London, but received a letter from Kitty Flynn, who offered to finance his defense.

Worth's trial took place 20 March 1893. The prosecutor used everything he knew about Worth. Worth flatly denied that he had anything to do with various crimes, saying that the last robbery had been a stupid act he had committed out of a need for money. All the other accusations, including those by British and American police, were mere hearsay. He claimed that his wealth came out of legal gambling. In the end, Worth was sentenced to seven years for robbery and was sent to Leuven prison.

During Worth's first year in jail, Shinburn hired other inmates to beat Worth up. Later, Worth heard that Johnny Curtin, who was supposed to have taken care of his wife, had seduced and abandoned her. She had gone insane and been committed to an asylum. The children were in the care of his brother John in the United States.

Release and last years

Worth was released early for good behavior in 1897. He returned to London and stole £4,000 from a diamond shop to get funds. When he visited his wife in the asylum, she barely recognized him. He traveled to New York and visited his children. Then he proceeded to meet with William Pinkerton, to whom he described the events of his life in great detail. The manuscript that Pinkerton wrote after Worth left is still preserved in the archives of the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Van Nuys, California.

Through Pinkerton, Worth arranged the return of the painting Duchess of Devonshire to Agnew & Sons in return for $25,000. The portrait and payment were exchanged in Chicago on 28 March 1901. Worth returned to London with his children and spent the rest of his life with them. His son took advantage of an agreement between his father and Allan Pinkerton and became a career Pinkerton detective.

Adam Worth died on 8 January 1902. He was buried in Highgate Cemetery in a mass pauper's grave under the name of "Henry J. Raymond". A small tombstone was erected to mark his resting place in 1997 by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.[8]

In popular culture


According to Vincent Starrett, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used Worth as the prototype for Sherlock Holmes' adversary, Professor Moriarty: "The original of Moriarty was Adam Worth, who stole the famous Gainsborough, in 1876, and hid it for a quarter of a century. This was revealed by Sir Arthur in conversation with Dr Gray Chandler Briggs, some years ago."[9]


Michael Caine played Adam Worth in the film Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976). Though Worth is correctly portrayed as a criminal mastermind, the events of the story are not based on true events.


In the eighth season of the CBS series Criminal Minds, Adam Worth is used as a pseudonym for the season's main villain, John Curtis (Mark Hamill).

The third season of the TNT series Leverage used Adam Worth as a target for the team.

In the SyFy series Sanctuary (2007), Adam Worth is one of the main villains, although his character is Irish and includes elements of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).


  1. ^ Macintyre. "Chapter Two". A Fine War. p. 7.
  2. ^ Nash, p. 258
  3. ^ The American Magazine, p. 211
  4. ^ Macintyre. "Chapter Two". A Fine War. p. 6.
  5. ^ Macintyre. "Chapter Two". A Fine War. p. 7.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Macintyre. "Chapter Six"
  8. ^ "Jewish Amer. Society for Historic Preservation". Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  9. ^ Starrett, Vincent (1993). The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. New York: Otto Penzler Books. p. 141. ISBN 1883402050.


  • "The American Magazine". American Illustrated Magazine. New York: Colver Publishing House. 1905.
  • Macintyre, Ben (1997). The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief. Delta. ISBN 0-385-31993-2.
  • Nash, Jay Robert (2004). The Great Pictorial History of World Crime. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 1-928831-21-4.
1876 in art

Events from the year 1876 in art.



was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1892nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 892nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 92nd year of the 19th century, and the 3rd year of the 1890s decade. As of the start of 1892, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.



was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar, the 1893rd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 893rd year of the 2nd millennium, the 93rd year of the 19th century, and the 4th year of the 1890s decade. As of the start of 1893, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Ben Macintyre

Benedict Richard Pierce Macintyre (born 25 December 1963) is a British author, historian, reviewer and columnist writing for The Times newspaper. His columns range from current affairs to historical controversies.

Bounty jumper

Bounty jumpers were men who enlisted in the Union or Confederate army during the American Civil War only to collect a bounty and then leave. The draft of 1863 allowed individuals to pay a bounty to someone else to fight in their place rather than be drafted. Bounty jumpers commonly enlisted numerous times in the army, collecting many bounties in the process.

Characters of Sanctuary

The characters in the Canadian science fiction-fantasy television series Sanctuary are predominantly "abnormals": advanced humans or creatures, and the show centers on bringing other abnormals to the Sanctuary in the fictional Old City, for the purpose of protecting the public, as well as the abnormals themselves. Most of the Sanctuary team are abnormals, despite looking human: Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) has longevity, John Druitt (Christopher Heyerdahl) and Ashley Magnus (Emilie Ullerup) can teleport, and Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) is a werewolf. Even Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) was twice turned to an abnormal temporarily: firstly in the episode "Warriors", then later in the episode "Metamorphosis". Several of the actors who play their respective characters have been nominated for Leo and Constellation Awards.

Charles W. Bullard

Charles W. Bullard was an American criminal. Known as Piano Charley, he became a notorious safecracker. His name derived from his skill as a musician.One of his criminal partnerships was with Adam Worth. In 1869, together with Fredericka Mandelbaum and others, Worth helped Bullard to escape from prison where he was serving a sentence for stealing $100,000 worth of goods from the Hudson River Railway Express. For the escape, Mandelbaum and her associates rented an office across the street from the prison and tunneled into Bullard's cell, bribing two guards to keep them quiet.Later that year, on November 20, Bullard and Worth worked together to rob the vault of Boylston National Bank in Boston. They escaped with an estimated $200,000. However, aware of the intense police interest in the crime, they were forced to move to England and live under false names.

Fredericka Mandelbaum

Fredericka "Marm" Mandelbaum (1818 – February 26, 1894) was a New York City entrepreneur and operated as a criminal fence to many of the street gangs and criminals of the city's underworld, handling between $1–5 million in stolen goods between 1862 until 1884. Like her principal rival John D. Grady and the Grady Gang, she also became a patron to the criminal elements of the city and was involved in financing and organizing numerous burglaries and other criminal operations throughout the post-American Civil War era.

Harry and Walter Go to New York

Harry and Walter Go to New York is a 1976 American period comedy film written by John Byrum and Robert Kaufman, directed by Mark Rydell, and starring James Caan, Elliott Gould, Michael Caine, Diane Keaton, Charles Durning and Lesley Ann Warren. In the film, two down-on-their-luck con men try to pull off the biggest heist ever seen in late nineteenth century New York. They are opposed by the greatest bank robber of the day, and by a crusading newspaper editor.

Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery is a place of burial in north London, England. There are approximately 170,000 people buried in around 53,000 graves across the West Cemetery and the East Cemetery at Highgate Cemetery. Highgate Cemetery is notable both for some of the people buried there as well as for its de facto status as a nature reserve. The West Cemetery is designated Grade II on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

Ian Tracey

Ian Tracey (born June 26, 1964) is a Canadian actor. Over the years, Tracey has participated in more than seventy films and television series. Tracey has starred in series such as Da Vinci's Inquest and Intelligence, both CBC television series produced by long-time colleague Chris Haddock. He is also known for his role as the title character in 1979's Huckleberry Finn and His Friends.

Lena Kleinschmidt

"Black" Lena Kleinschmidt (1835 – after 1886) was a German-born New York criminal who, as a prominent jewel thief during the late 19th century, was an associate of fence Fredericka "Marm" Mandelbaum and Adam Worth. Among others in Mandelbaum's "clique", she and con artist Sophie Lyons served as protégés early in their careers of shoplifting and pick pocketing.

She was eventually arrested after being caught with Christene "Kid Glove Rosey" Mayer attempting to steal two pieces of silk containing 108 yards with a value of $250 from the McCreery & Co. store at the corner of 11th Street and Broadway on April 9, 1880. During their arrest, police found in their possession property recently stolen from Le Boutillier Brothers on 14th Street.

Convicted and sentenced to five years at Blackwell's Island on April 30, Kleinschmidt fled while out on a $500 bail. She was soon rearrested and returned to New York, where she was convicted after pleading guilty and sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonment along with Mayer on April 30. She was released after her sentence expired on September 30, 1883.

Lena eventually moved to Hackensack, New Jersey, and, while posing as the wealthy widow of a South American mining tycoon, became known as a local hostess giving elaborate dinner parties in the style of Mandelbaum. Although having no visible means of support during this time, twice a week she would visit New York "replenishing her coffers". Her charade ended when a guest allegedly recognized a jeweled (or emerald) ring which she had worn during one of her dinner parties which had been previously stolen.

Ludwig the Bloodsucker

Ludwig the Bloodsucker was an American mythical figure and possible urban legend in New York City during the mid-to late 19th century. A longtime Bowery character, he was described as having vampire-like qualities. He was a "squat, swarthy German, with an enormous head crowned with a shock of bristly black hair. Huge bunches of hair grew out of his ears, and his unusual appearance was accentuated by another tuft which sprouted by the end of his nose" and supposedly had "hair growing out of every orifice". Ludwig was said to have preyed upon drunken customers of barroom brawls near Bismark Hall and the House of Commons and is claimed to have "quaffed human blood as if it were wine".

Organized crime

Organized crime is a category of transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals who intend to engage in illegal activity, most commonly for profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist groups, are politically motivated. Sometimes criminal organizations force people to do business with them, such as when a gang extorts money from shopkeepers for "protection". Gangs may become disciplined enough to be considered organized. A criminal organization or gang can also be referred to as a mafia, mob, or crime syndicate; the network, subculture and community of criminals may be referred to as the underworld. European sociologists (e.g. Diego Gambetta) define the mafia as a type of organized crime group that specializes in the supply of extra-legal protection and quasi law enforcement. Gambetta's classic work on the Sicilian Mafia generates an economic study of the mafia, which exerts great influence on studies of the Russian Mafia, the Chinese Mafia, Hong Kong Triads and the Japanese Yakuza.Other organizations—including states, churches, militaries, police forces, and corporations—may sometimes use organized-crime methods to conduct their activities, but their powers derive from their status as formal social institutions. There is a tendency to distinguish organized crime from other forms of crime, such as white-collar crime, financial crimes, political crimes, war crime, state crimes, and treason. This distinction is not always apparent and academics continue to debate the matter. For example, in failed states that can no longer perform basic functions such as education, security, or governance (usually due to fractious violence or to extreme poverty), organized crime, governance and war sometimes complement each other. The term "Oligarchy" has been used to describe democratic countries whose political, social and economic institutions come under the control of a few families and business oligarchs.In the United States, the Organized Crime Control Act (1970) defines organized crime as "[t]he unlawful activities of [...] a highly organized, disciplined association [...]". Criminal activity as a structured process is referred to as racketeering. In the UK, police estimate that organized crime involves up to 38,000 people operating in 6,000 various groups. Due to the escalating violence of Mexico's drug war, a report issued by the United States Department of Justice characterizes the Mexican drug cartels as the "greatest organized crime threat to the United States".

Professor Moriarty

Professor James Moriarty is a fictional character in some of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Moriarty is a machiavellian criminal mastermind whom Holmes describes as the "Napoleon of crime". Doyle lifted the phrase from a Scotland Yard inspector who was referring to Adam Worth, a real-life criminal mastermind and one of the individuals upon whom the character of Moriarty was based. The character was introduced primarily as a narrative device to enable Doyle to kill Sherlock Holmes, and only featured in two of the Sherlock Holmes stories. However, in adaptations, he has often been given a greater prominence and treated as Sherlock Holmes' archenemy.

Sanctuary (TV series)

Sanctuary is a Canadian science fiction-fantasy television series, created by Damian Kindler and funded largely by the Beedie Development Group. The show ran for four series from 2008 to 2011; a fifth series was planned but never made.

The show is an expansion of an eight-webisode series that was released through the Internet in early 2007. Seeing the success of the web series, Syfy decided to buy the broadcast rights to the series and pay to re-stage the series in a season of thirteen episodes.The show centers on Dr. Helen Magnus, a 157-year-old teratologist (born August 27, 1850), and her team of experts who run the Sanctuary, an organization that seeks out extraordinarily powerful creatures and people, known as Abnormals, and tries to help and to learn from them while also having to contain the more dangerous ones.

The series premiered on October 3, 2008, in both Canada and the United States and on October 6 in the United Kingdom. The premiere drew in more than 3 million viewers, making it the highest rated original series premiere for Syfy since Eureka debuted in July 2006. The premiere two-parter, "Sanctuary for All", was a combination and rewriting of the first four webisodes and was followed by "Fata Morgana", based on Webisodes 5-8. Amanda Tapping, with all of the original cast from the web series, made the transition to the television series. A second season of 13 episodes aired in 2009–10, and Sanctuary was renewed for a third season of 20 episodes on December 12, 2009.

The second season premiered on Friday, October 9, 2009, in the 10 pm timeslot. In Australia, the program debuted on Pay Television's Sci Fi and on free-to-air channel ABC2, where Season 1 started on March 1, 2010, each Monday at 9:30 pm. Season 2 commenced on July 12, 2010, in the same timeslot. Season 3 premiered Friday, October 15, 2010, on Syfy in its original 10 pm timeslot. In January 2011, Sanctuary was renewed for a fourth season, which finished airing on December 30, 2011. On May 21, 2012, Syfy announced that Sanctuary will not be returning for a fifth season and that the show has been cancelled. On October 8, 2012, PPI Releasing announced that it would distribute the series in U.S. syndication, starting fall (autumn September/October) 2013.

Sanctuary (season 3)

The third season of the Canadian science fiction–fantasy television series Sanctuary, premiered on Syfy in the United States on October 15, 2010 and consists of 20 episodes. Created by Damian Kindler, the series was adapted from a series of webisodes released in 2007. The increased number of episodes in this season allows the producers to include numerous story arcs. The second half of the third season premiered on April 15, 2011 until it was moved to Monday nights on April 25, 2011.

Sanctuary (season 4)

The fourth season of the Canadian science fiction–fantasy television series Sanctuary was commissioned by Syfy in January 2010.

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