Law Enforcement and Pop Culture
Toy Badge: Melvin Purvis G-Men Girls Division Badge, ca. 1936. 2006.493.20. Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, DC.
Melvin Purvis G-Men Girls Division Badge
In the mid-1930s a phenomenal 'G-Man' craze (a term for special agents of the U.S. government, especially the FBI) erupted in the U.S. despite the Great Depression. Due to publicity generated daily by the news media throughout the U.S., every kid in the country wanted to be a 'G-Man' and to play 'G-Man.' Toy manufacturers responded with incredible ingenuity, creating and manufacturing realistic and imaginative toys of every description and dimension for the 'Junior G-Man.' Purvis got into the act in around 1936 by leaving the FBI and working with Post Cereals in Battle Creek, MI, to develop and market a line of 'Junior G-Man Corps' badges, toys, and other premiums. Around 1937, Purvis and Post Cereals also started the 'Secret Operator Law and Order Patrol.'