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BPRD was founded in 1944 by Dr. Trevor Bruttenholm under the direction of President Roosevelt. Technically a private military contractor, the BRPD is funded by a number of wealthy donors and backers who support their mandate. The BPRD was initially based in New Mexico at Hobbs Army Airfield. Dr. Bruttenholm and his allies travelled extensively in Europe and in the Pacific, though primarily they were focused on Adolph Hitler's obsession with the occult and preventing him-- or his allies, such as the Harbingers-- from gaining mystical advantages. They were frequent adversaries of the Thule Society and HYDRA's mystical investigations teams.

Domestically, the BPRD worked with heroes such as Kent Nelson and Alan Scott, who were attuned to the mystical and magical. Kent Nelson's assistance was pivotal when zealots of the Harbingers attempted to summon the Ogdru Jahad, lesser Old Gods from the distant realms of Nullspace.