Guide to the Max H. Roder Journals

MSN/MN 0800


Collection Summary

Title: Max H. Roder journals
Dates: ca. 1927-1959
Collection No.: MSN/MN 0800
Creator: Roder, Max H., 1892-1988
Extent: 30 vols; 3 containers; 1.5 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: Twenty-eight annual journals of the daily calendar type, recording the professional activities of agent Max. H. Roder of the U. S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1931-1959.

Selected Search Terms

Roder, Max H., 1892-1988
United States. Federal Bureau of Narcotics -- History
Drug traffic -- Investigation -- United States -- History

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection

Preferred Citation: Max H. Roder Journals, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Roder journals were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2007, via ebay. Arranged and described 2010, by Amy Holt. Finding aid 2012, by George Rugg.

Biographical Note

Max H. Roder (1892-1988) was a German native who immigrated to the United States in 1905. He worked as a Federal narcotics agent for 34 years, and was with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from its formation in 1930 to 1959. While best known for fighting American and international drug traffickers and harassing addicts, the FBN—an agency of the Treasury Department—was broadly charged with enforcing all laws regulating habit-forming drugs, legal and illegal, in the United States. Through 1937 Roder worked out of the Bureau's office in Philadelphia; thereafter he was stationed in New York, where he came to function as liaison to the NYPD's precinct captains.

Scope and Content Note

Roder's journals contain regular daily entries for nearly three decades, from April 1931 to April 1959. Each volume contains entries for one calendar year; the volume for 1939 is lacking. The nature of the journals' content is quite consistent over time. Roder records the events, hour-by-hour, of each working day, from office routine to work in the field: meetings with informants, surveillances, wiretaps, arrests. Some fieldwork is described as undercover. The entries convey the facts with a minimum of narrative flourish. Names, addresses and phone numbers are specified, as are agents worked with, autos used, and expenses incurred during the day. The journals doubtless facilitated report writing, reimbursements, and perhaps testifying in court (as Roder was subpoenaed with some frequency). The collection also includes two partially filled volumes independent of the journals, containing addresses and other work-related information.

Arrangement Note

The 28 journals are arranged chronologically, followed by two notebooks of memoranda.

Container List