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Collection Overview
Creator: Brooks, Elmer V. H. (1906-1984).
Title: Elmer V. H. Brooks papers
Dates:1924-1998 (Bulk 1937-1968)
Call Number:M129
Location:59/4, FF5/D1
Volume:0.45 cubic ft. (1 box)
Scope and Content Abstract:

The Elmer V. H. Brooks Papers document the day to day activities of a Boston policeman from 1937-1968. There is also documentation of his days in the Navy (1923?-1926), as well as the work of his wife, Eileen Brooks, in the Boston Police Wives Association.

The collection contains original handwritten day books carried by Brooks while he policed the streets from 1938-1963, and his weekly activity reports from 1968, the year he received the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. Also included are legal documents, letters of commission from the Boston Police Department, and newspaper clippings documenting some of Brooks' more high profile cases, such as the Coconut Grove fire. Memorabilia includes pins, tie tacks, a badge, and a pair of his ceremonial white gloves. The collection also contains photographs documenting Brooks' stint in the Navy, his police career, and his family.

Records related to the Boston Police Wives Association include two banquet programs; a copy of a 1952 edition of "Roll Call," the Boston Police Wives Association's newsletter; and photographs of Eileen Brooks with Massachusetts Governor Robert Bradford as he signs two bills to aid police officers and their families.

Historical Abstract:

Elmer V. H. Brooks was born in Briceville, Tennessee in 1906. By the time he reached fifth grade, he was supporting his family by working in a local coal mine. In the early 1920's, however, he joined the Navy to escape the dangers of the mines. He was attached to the USS Colorado for several years before receiving an honorable discharge in 1926. Brooks then hitchhiked to Boston and married Eileen M. Brooks later that year.

Elmer Brooks began his career in law enforcement in 1937 as a patrolman at District 13, Jamaica Plain. The father of five was then 31 years old. Brooks was promoted to detective in 1951, and his long police career involved him in many of Boston's most famous events, such as the Coconut Grove fire, the Brinks Robbery, and the case of the "Boston Strangler." In 1961 he was promoted again to Sergeant. In 1968 Detective Brooks received the ultimate honor, being named Boston's outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. He retired in 1970, honored by his peers as a "cops cop." His badge number, 510, was retired with him in recognition of his 33 years of dedicated service to the people of Boston. He died in 1984.

Brooks' wife, Eileen M. Brooks also distinguished herself as an advocate for Massachusetts policemen and their families. In 1944, she helped form the Boston Police Wives Association (BPWA), which advocated for better salary conditions for policemen and their families in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She also served as president of the organization and editor of the organization's newsletter, "Roll Call."

Arrangement:Arranged in one alphabetical sequence.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Brooks, Elmer V. H., 1906-1984
  • Brooks, Eileen M.

  • Boston Police Department
  • Boston Police Wives Association

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Processor:Finding aid prepared by David Barnett, February 19, 2007