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Franklin Gowen, president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, circa 1885.
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Head and shoulders, black and white.

Credit: Courtesy of the Hagley Museum and Library

An aggressive opponent of organized labor, Franklin Gowen hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to infiltrate the Ancient Order of Hibernians and then misused his influence to insure the trial and execution of 20 so-called “Molly Maguires.” Gowen stepped down as president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in the mid-1880s. In 1889 he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

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