Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 2012 Issue of Informer

July 2012 Contents
Editorial

On the rare occasions when the underworld of the Milwaukee area receives attention from historians, that attention generally seems focused on regional Prohibition Era rumrunning or on post-Prohibition organized crime. Milwaukee is inevitably depicted as merely a junior partner of the Chicago Outfit.

Indeed, Milwaukee crime history often blurs with that of the Windy City located ninety miles to its south. But Milwaukee has been much more than a satellite in a Capone-centered universe. The Brew City’s crime history is as distinct and rich as the history of the law-abiding, hardworking Americans who have made up the vast majority of its population. There is much of interest and much of value in the study of the region’s criminal past.

In this issue of Informer, we strive to look at Milwaukee and its southeastern Wisconsin region in a different way. Our lead feature, the debut of crime historian Joshua Henze, turns the clock way back to explore the early roots of Milwaukee organized crime. Henze shows that the history of Milwaukee’s Sicilian underworld society rivals that of any northern United States city. (Preview)

Gavin Schmitt follows with an exhaustive examination of decades of Mafia meddling in the history of Fond du Lac’s successful Grande Cheese Company (Preview). Joshua Henze then returns with an article on Milwaukee-area counterfeiting organizations from the early years of the 20th Century (Preview). Bill Feather completes our coverage of southern Wisconsin crime history with an early Milwaukee-Madison-area Mafia membership chart (Preview).

You will also find in this expanded issue:
• Part 3 of the Gunmen of the Castellammarese War series. This installment focuses on Girolamo “Bobby Doyle” Santuccio (Preview).
• Ellen Poulsen’s review of Patrick Downey’s latest work, Legs Diamond: Gangster (Preview).
• In The Warner Files, columnist Richard Warner provides some reading recommendations for those interested in the New York underworld (Preview).
• An obituary of “Goodfella” Henry Hill (Preview).

108 pages including advertisements and cover
Published July 24, 2012

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The Early Milwaukee Mafia

July 2012 Contents
Feature Article

Vito Guardalabene and the
Early Milwaukee Mafia, 1903-1921
By Joshua R. Henze

"Very early on Tuesday morning, May 4, 1920, thirty-eight-year-old Giovanni Guardalabene, older son and successor to aging local Mafia boss Vito Guardalabene, said goodbye to his wife Angela. Giovanni and his taller, slimmer brother Angelo left the home they shared in Milwaukee’s Third Ward Italian district and headed to their city posts as garbage collection inspectors. It was a cool, spring morning of thirty-nine degrees..."

Forty-eight pages including seventeen and a half pages of notes, seven photographs and three maps.

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The Mob and Wisconsin Cheese

July 2012 Contents
Feature Article

The Underworld's Interest
in Wisconsin's Cheese
By Gavin Schmitt

"With the utterance of the term 'Mafia,' many images spring to mind. Few, if any, are related to cheese. However, the history of one highly regarded cheese manufacturer in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, a city about sixty miles northwest of Milwaukee, is entwined with the history of the American Mafia. And the company appears to owe its birth as much to events on the rough streets of Chicago gangland as to the more publicized cheese-making traditions of the small village of Montelepre, Sicily..."

Ten pages including one and a quarter pages of notes and six photographs.

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Milwaukee Counterfeiters, 1908-09

July 2012 Contents
Feature Article

Counterfeiters Captured
in Milwaukee, 1908-09
By Joshua R. Henze

"Defendant Carlo Zarcone rose from his chair in the third-floor U.S. District Courtroom of Milwaukee’s Federal Building, 161 Wisconsin Street. It was noon on January 14, 1909, and Zarcone was about to be sentenced on a counterfeiting conviction. The Sicilian immigrant must have been intimidated by his surroundings. The room’s two-story-high walls were adorned with carved oak panels and Romanesque arches stood over the doors, the windows and the judge’s bench..."

Fifteen pages including six pages of notes and nine photographs.

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Gunmen of the Castellammarese War - Part 3

July 2012 Contents
Feature Article
Third in a series

Gunmen of the Castellammarese War, Part Three
Ex-boxer Girolamo ‘Bobby Doyle’ Santuccio

By Lennert van ‘t Riet, David Critchley and Steve Turner

"Best known to his criminal associates as 'Bobby Doyle,' Santuccio took part in the permanent removals of Masseria allies Joseph Pinzolo, Alfred Mineo and Steve Ferrigno. His later life was something of an anticlimax and, like his wartime contemporaries Domingo and Rannelli, Santuccio died without fanfare..."

Eighteen pages including three pages of notes, eleven photographs and one map.

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Milwaukee Mafia Chart

July 2012 Contents
Mafia Membership Chart

Milwaukee-Area Mafia Chart
By Bill Feather

Chart provides background data on dozens of documented and suspected organized criminals in the Milwaukee area in the 1920s-50s era.

Four pages.

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Book Review: Legs Diamond

July 2012 Contents
Book Review

Legs Diamond bio well-served
by Downey wit, eye for detail
By Ellen Poulsen

"In this targeted biography, Downey perfects his unique style of prose, which points out the ironies of cops, gunmen, molls and the jailhouse through witty one-liners. His writing harkens back to a time when crime books had personality..."

Two and a half pages.

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Obituary: Henry Hill

July 2012 Contents
Obituary

Obituary: Henry Hill

"Henry Hill, whose early life of crime was chronicled in the 1985 book Wiseguy and the popular 1990 film Goodfellas, died June 12, one day after his sixty-ninth birthday. Hill passed away at West Hills Hospital in the West Hills District of Los Angeles, California..."

One page including photograph.

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The Warner Files: New York Reading List


July 2012 Contents
Column

The Warner Files:
A Reading List on the New York Underworld
By Richard N. Warner

"In the previous issue, I gave out some recommendations for books dealing with the Chicago Outfit. In this issue I’m going to pick on New York. There’s considerably more to choose from..."

Two pages.

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