Belle Levy, one of the first private investigators licensed by New York state, created a detective agency in the 1920s that cracked cases across America. Levy, the daughter of NYPD Lieutenant Ray Rosenfeld, married Charles Levy at age seventeen. She spent several years designing children’s clothes, but at age twenty-five she began working for a detective agency. In 1927 she formed her own agency, the Colonial Detective Service, hunting down missing relatives, cheating spouses, and other miscreants. A skilled investigator, her favored methods involved bumping into her targets seemingly by accident and striking up conversations to get as much information as she could. She maintained offices throughout Manhattan and employed other women as agents for cases across the country. Though we have no record of her death, articles and court records attest to her work as an active investigator at least through 1958. Asked in 1950 about her favorite cases, she said she liked the ones with happy endings, such as one where a man suspected his wife of sneaking off to cheat on him. It turned out she was secretly going to expensive salons to look her best…because she was afraid of losing her husband’s interest.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Belle Levy." (Viewed on June 1, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/levy-belle>.