The Melvin Purvis collection consists of correspondence, printed material, photographs, and film and video.
The bulk of the collection is correspondence, and most of the correspondence consists of letters between Purvis and J. Edgar Hoover documenting Purvis' years at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The letters deal with Purvis' assignments, transfers, salary, and special reports. Beginning in 1931, Hoover's letters are more personal, reflecting his interest in Purvis' health and social life as well as his FBI career. Hoover's letters date from 1927 to 1941.
Additional correspondence in the collection consists of letters from John Marshall, Harold Nathan, John Garibaldi Sargent, Charles Peck Sisson, Harold Mantelle Stephen, and a letter from Homer Stille Cummings from 1935 accepting Purvis' resignation from the FBI.
Printed material includes clippings and articles about Purvis and his career, including an article about the shooting of John Dillinger. These articles are dated 1932-1938 and were published in Progress, the Chicago American, and the London Evening Standard. Also present is a clipping from a Charlotte, North Carolina newspaper noting Purvis’ marriage; two Dodge Economy advertisements featuring Purvis; materials regarding the “Junior G-Man” board game; and Alston Purvis’ page proof for The Vendetta: FBI Hero Melvin Purvis’s War against Crime, and J. Edgar Hoover’s War against Him. Other items are articles pertaining to crime investigation; publications include the Washington Star, the Evening Star, and the Congressional Record.
Photographs in the collection include images of Purvis, his wife, and J. Edgar Hoover.
Film and video in the collection consists of a VHS tape regarding Greater Boston: Health Care and The Vendetta (2005).