Bring back some good or bad memories


January 7, 2015

Unseen Vintage Chicago Crime Photos From Between the 1900s and 1950s

Created from the Chicago Tribune's vast archives, Gangsters & Grifters is a collection of photographs featuring infamous criminals, small-time bandits, smirking crooks, pickpockets, hoodlums, and wise guys at shocking crime scenes.

These vintage glass-plate and acetate negatives were taken in the early 1900s through the 1950s, and have been largely unseen for generations. That is because most have never been published, only having been witnessed by the photographers and police in the mere moments after an arrest, crime, or even murder.

John Dillinger, center, handcuffed to Deputy Sheriff R.M. Pierce during Dillinger's murder trial hearing in Crown Point, Indiana. Though his trial was scheduled for March 12, 1934, Dillinger would escape from the Crown Point prison on March 3.

An undated photo shows Al Capone, center, in a Chicago courtroom.

Defense attorney Clarence Darrow argues for life sentences for Richard Loeb, 18, and Nathan Leopold Jr., 19, on trial for the murder of 14-year-old Robert "Bobby" Franks. In hopes of avoiding the death penalty, Darrow pleaded both defendants guilty.

Coroner Herman N. Bundsesn, right, and Lt. Col. C.H. Goddard, look at machine guns allegedly used in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, in which seven men with supposed ties to organized crime were gunned down in a Chicago garage.

Lts. Frank Ballou and Samuel Peterson test out a new metal bulletproof shield. The shield's inventor, Elliot Wisbrod, is the man holding it.

Joseph Schuster, center, a paroled convict, stands in a police lineup. Schuster was identified by robbery victims as the shooter in the killing of off-duty policeman Arthur Sullivan.

Mary Wazeniak, a 34-year-old mother from Poland, was the first women in Illinois convicted of selling fatal moonshine. Her moonshine, which she sold from her home-turned-saloon, is known to have killed one person, earning her the nickname "Moonshine Mary," with the press.

Diver James P. Bodor, 23, finds a shotgun on Aug. 5, 1949 after dragging the bottom of a channel at 107th Street and Archer Avenue.

Check out more of these 34 vintage photographs on Chicago Tribune.



Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10