Guide to the Orlando Winfield Wilson Papers, [ca. 1928-1972]

Processed by The Bancroft Library staff
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 1997
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Additional Form Available:
This finding aid has been filmed for the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United States (Chadwyck-Healey Inc.).


History --History, University of California --History, UC Berkeley Geographical (By Place) --University of California --University of California Berkeley

Guide to the Orlando Winfield Wilson Papers, [ca. 1928-1972]

Collection number: BANC MSS 73/179 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
ca. 1973
Encoded by:
James Lake
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Orlando Winfield Wilson Papers,
Date (inclusive): [ca. 1928-1972]
Collection Number: BANC MSS 73/179 c
Creator: Wilson, O. W. (Orlando Winfield), 1900-1972
Extent: Number of containers: 2 cartons, 3 boxes, 2 volumes and 1 oversize folder
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Letters written to him and by him; biographical material; manuscripts of his writings; copies of his speeches and statements; reprints and tear sheets of his articles and book reviews; personalia; awards and diplomas; memorial tributes; clippings; subject files. Relating to his career in police administration at Wichita, Kansas and Chicago, the development of the criminology program at the University of California, Berkeley, his consultant assignments and his writings in the field of police administration.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Orlando Winfield Wilson papers, BANC MSS 73/179 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Material Cataloged Separately

  • Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library -
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1973.030-.031--PIC
  • Tapes have been transferred to the Phonotape Collection of The Bancroft Library (for location, see Container List)

Brief Biographical Sketch

Orlando Winfield Wilson, criminologist, police administrator and educator, was born on May 15, 1900 in Veblen, South Dakota. He started police work in 1921 as a patrolman with the Berkeley, California Police Department, working his way at the University of California as one of August Vollmer's "college cops." Graduating with an A.B. in 1924, he resigned from the Berkeley force in April 1925 to become chief of police in Fullerton, California. In 1928, on Vollmer's recommendation, he became police chief of Wichita, Kansas, a position he held until 1939 when he returned to Berkeley as professor of police administration at the School of Criminology, serving as dean, 1950-60. During this period he also did intermittent police consultation and advisory work, conducting a number of police surveys and directing reorganization of departments in several cities. In World War II, he served in the army in a variety of posts. In 1960 he went to Chicago at the request of Mayor Richard J. Daley, to head a blue-ribbon committee seeking a new police commissioner. The committee, after searching the country for a candidate, chose its own chairman, and Wilson accepted the job with the assurance that he would have the support he considered necessary to rebuild the department which had been rocked with graft and incompetence. Retiring in 1967 with a distinct record of achievement, he returned to California, living in Poway until his death on October 18, 1972.

Scope and Content

His papers were given to The Bancroft Library by his widow, Ruth Elinor Wilson, in May 1973. Covering the period 1928 to 1972, they include correspondence, biographical material, MSS of his writings, copies of speeches and statements, reprints and tear sheets of his articles and book reviews, personalia, awards and diplomas, memorial tributes, photographs and snapshots, clippings and subject files. The papers, in general, relate to his career in police administration at Wichita, Kansas, and Chicago; the development of the criminology program at the University of California, Berkeley; his consultant assignments; and his writings in the field of police administration. They are described in greater detail in the Key to Arrangement which follows. A list of the major correspondents represented in the collection follows the Key.
Some material relating to his work in Wichita was given by Mrs. Wilson to the Kansas State Historical Society, and his library went to the Chicago Police Training Academy and to the San Diego Police Department.

Key to Arrangement

Box 1

Letters written by Wilson, 1928-1972 and n.d.

Additional Note

Carbon copies of outgoing letters addressed primarily to colleagues; a few to his daughter; and originals of a few letters written to his wife, Ruth. Obviously an incomplete file. Most of the letters for the period 1928-1939 are addressed to August Vollmer. Letters in general relate to his work as police chief, Wichita, Kansas; his consultant assignments; the development of the criminology program at the University of California, Berkeley; and family affairs. A few letters refer to his position as police superintendent, Chicago. Arranged chronologically.
Boxes 1-3

Letters written to Wilson

Additional Note

Letters from colleagues in the field of police work, members of the faculty and administration at the University of California, Berkeley, professional organizations and journals, his publishers and members of his family. Wilson obviously saved only a small part of what must have been an extensive correspondence file. Letters have, for the most part, been arranged alphabetically by name of person or organization. A list of the major correspondents represented in the collection follows the Key to Arrangement. Unlisted letters, which are arranged alphabetically in a "Miscellany" and letters from unidentified correspondents are in Box 3. Some letters have been grouped by subject as follows: miscellaneous letters re Wilson's appointment and tenure as police superintendent, Chicago; miscellaneous letters from foreign police officers and organizations; and letters of condolence addressed to Mrs. Wilson.
Ctn. 1

Biographical material


MSS of his writings - primarily typed copies of papers and articles, including one about August Vollmer and others on developments in police administration

Physical Description: (1 folder)

Speeches and statements - MSS, photocopies, mimeographed and/or printed copies; arranged chronologically, 1950-1967, with undated copies at the end. Many of them are addresses delivered during the period he was superintendent of the Chicago Police.

Physical Description: (2 folders)

Articles by Wilson - reprints and tear sheets

Physical Description: (1 folder)

Book reviews by Wilson - primarily reprints


Personalia - passports, identification records, medical record, membership cards and badges, UC personnel papers, etc.


Awards, diplomas, etc.

See also oversize folder.


Diary entries - a few scattered pages


Papers relating to his army service, World War II

Physical Description: (2 folders)

Insurance, retirement, and miscellaneous financial papers


Memorial tributes


Photographs and snapshots - Transferred to Pictorial Collections

See also v. 2 below.


Clippings - (4 folders) - Included is a file of clippings re Wichita, Kansas Police Department

See also v. 1 below.

Ctn. 2

Subject files


Americans for Effective Law Enforcement - copies of brochures, reports, minutes of meetings, etc.


California. University, Berkeley. School of Criminology.

Additional Note

Reports, memoranda, etc., re proposed courses, suggested projects, changes in the academic status of the School and its relationship to the School of Social Welfare; announcements of graduate and undergraduate curricula; copy of the Cline Report and copies of the School's reply to the Report. (4 folders)

Chicago. Police Dept.

Additional Note

Memoranda from the mayor's office and departmental memoranda; organizational charts; agenda for staff meetings; reports and publications, etc. (7 folders)

See also v. 1 and 2 below and microfilm and tapes.

August Vollmer - copy of a translation of an original article about Vollmer which appeared in a French magazine; clippings; information about August Vollmer Memorial Scholarship Fund, etc.


Wichita, Kansas. Police Dept. Statistics re scholastic attainments of police force; copies of general orders issued by Chief Wilson; radio interview with Wilson; samples of forms used; copy of resolution granting Wilson leave of absence, etc.



volume v. 1

"The Wilson Years 1960 to 1967 ... Highlights in the Career of ..."

Additional Note

Prepared on behalf of the Chicago Police Department personnel by the Public Information Division on the occasion of Wilson's retirement. Photocopies of clippings and articles and a colored photograph of Wilson.
volume v. 2

"7 Years of Progress: a Pictorial Record ... O. W. Wilson's Seven Years with the Chicago Police Department 1960-1967" - Transferred to Pictorial Collections

oversize Oversize folder

Diplomas, certificates, etc.

reel Microfilm

Minutes of meetings of Chicago Police Dept.

Additional Note

2 sets, as follows: set 1 -cine filming of meetings, Apr. 8, 1960-Dec. 24, 1964 (1 neg. and 1 pos.); set 2 -comic filming of meetings, Mar. 15, 1960-Dec. 24, 1964 (1 neg. and 1 pos.) The film is housed in the Microfilm Division.
tape Tapes

Tapes have been removed from the collection and assigned the following call numbers in the phonotape collection:


P/T 407 Wilson's speech to the Chicago Police Dept., Mar. 12, 1960


P/T 408 A Salute to O. W. Wilson. Radio program, WGN, Chicago, July 29, 1967, on occasion of Wilson's retirement from the police force.


P/T 409 Interview with Wilson, conducted by Dave Andre, WGN radio, Chicago, July 1967.

Partial List of Correspondents


Adler, Mortimer Jerome, 1902-


2 letters, 1970. Writing as director of the Institute for Philosophical Research; re civil police project.


The American Journal of Police Science


2 letters, 1952. From Ordway Hilton, editor. Requesting a biographical sketch of August Vollmer.


Americans for Effective Law Enforcement Inc.


25 letters, 1969-1972. Primarily from secretary-treasurer Alan S. Ganz and president Fred E. Inbau. Many of them transmit minutes of board meetings, financial reports, etc.

See also subject files, carton 2.


Ashworth, Ray

See International Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc.


Baker, Bruce R.

See Berkeley, Calif. Police Department.


Bancroft Library


6 letters, 1971-1972. Re the August Vollmer Historical Project.


Barrows, David Prescott, 1873-1954

See California. University, Berkeley.


Berkeley, Calif. Police Dept.


8 letters, 1928 and 1971. From Clarence D. Lee, John A. Greening and Bruce R. Baker.

See also Holstrom, John D.


California. University. President


7 letters, 1939-1952. From Robert Gordon Sproul. Re Wilson's appointment as professor of police administration, salary, etc.


California. University. Regents


20 letters, 1938-1959. Most of them form letters re salary as professor of police administration and dean of School of Criminology.


California. University, Berkeley


25 letters, 1939-1960. From A. M. Kidd, Paul L. Kirk, David P. Barrows, Joel H. Hildebrand, Clark Kerr, Joseph P. Harris, Glenn T. Seaborg and others. Re development of criminology program at UC, Wilson's courses in police administration, proposed changes in criminology program, etc.

See also subject files, carton 2.


Chicago. [various offices]


11 letters, 1960-1973. From president of the Chicago Civil Service Commission, corporation counsel, president of the Chicago Crime Commission, Mayor Richard J. Daley, etc.

See also Franklin M. Kreml; Virgil W. Peterson; International Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc.; miscellaneous letters re Chicago police (box 3); subject files (carton 2); v. 1 and 2; and microfilm and tapes.


Daley, Richard J., 1902-

See Chicago. [various offices]


Dixon, Sir Arthur L.


Letter, Apr. 23, 1958. Re the use of dogs in the Metropolitan Police Force, London.


Genthner, Bruce [son-in-law]


11 letters, 1958-1960


Genthner, Sally Jo (Wilson) [daughter]


38 letters, 1957-1963


Greening, John A.

See Berkeley, Calif. Police Dept.


Harris, Joseph P.

See California. University, Berkeley.


Harvard University. Bureau for Street Traffic Research


Letter, Jan. 31, 1936. Offering Wilson appointment as research fellow.


Hildebrand, Joel Henry, 1881-

See California. University, Berkeley.


Holstrom, John D.


4 letters, 1968-1972. Letter, Apr. 23, 1971, refers to proposed Berkeley charter amendment to partition the Berkeley Police Department. One is a letter of condolence addressed to Mrs. Wilson.


International Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc.


5 letters, 1960. Several refer to IACP assistance to Chicago police. Some letters by Ray Ashworth, director, Field Service Division.


Kelley, Douglas M.

See California. University, Berkeley.


Kerr, Clark, 1911-

See California. University, Berkeley.


Kidd, Alexander Marsden, 1879-

See California. University, Berkeley.


Kirk, Paul Louis, 1902-1970

See California. University, Berkeley.


Kreml, Franklin Martin, 1907-


5 letters, 1960-1961. Re Chicago police.


Lee, Clarence D.

See Berkeley, Calif. Police Dept.


Leonard, Vivian Anderson, 1898-


Letter, Jan. 23, 1970. Letter of introduction for a student.


McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.


27 letters, 1949-1972. Re publication of Wilson's book, Police Administration. Included is a letter of condolence addressed to Mrs. Wilson.


McLaren, Roy C.


5 letters, 1969-1972, from a former student who went into the field of police administration. Includes a letter of condolence addressed to Mrs. Wilson.


Menninger, Karl Augustus, 1893-


2 letters, 1943-1948


Parker, Alfred Eustace, 1899-


2 letters, 1971. Re his book, The Berkeley Police Story.


Peterson, Virgil W.


5 letters, 1969-1972. Include letter written while executive director of the Chicago Crime Commission. Letters written after his retirement refer to his lecture course on organized crime at University of Chicago, his writing, etc. Letter of condolence to Mrs. Wilson also included.


Seaborg, Glenn Theodore, 1912-

See California. University, Berkeley.


Sproul, Robert Gordon, 1891-

See California. University. President.


Thomas (Charles C.) Publisher


4 letters, 1968-1971


U.S. Agency for International Development


4 letters, 1971-1972. Some refer to translations of Wilson's book, Police Planning, for police assistance programs.


Vollmer, August, 1876-1955


69 letters, 1928-1942. Written primarily while chief of police, Berkeley, Calif., and professor of police administration, University of California, Berkeley. Letters discuss mutual problems in running police departments, developments in professional training of policemen, courses offered in professional schools, mutual friends in the field, etc.

See also Bancroft Library correspondence; Wilson's article on Vollmer, carton 1; and subject files, carton 2.


Wichita, Kansas. City Manager


2 letters, 1928 and 1939. Letter, Mar. 12, 1928, answers questions raised by Wilson re the police force; 1939 letter relieves Wilson of duties as chief of police.


Wilson, Henry H. [son]


7 letters, 1959-1971. Also included is a letter written by his wife, Flo.


Wilson, Ruth [Mrs. O. W. Wilson]


Drafts of letters written during Wilson's illness and one letter, ca. Mar. 1960, addressed to Wilson.


Wiltberger, William Alden


Letter, Dec. 18, 1935. Copy of a letter written to August Vollmer, while director of the Police School, San Jose State College.