So... why are we discussing
Salvatore Maranzano now?
One decade ago, in the July 2009 issue of Informer, Mafia historian David Critchley discussed a widely circulated mug shot photo that had been passed off as Maranzano. Critchley noted that the image had made the rounds since initial publication in a 1990 book. It had been copied into books, magazines and websites, always captioned as Maranzano and never credited to any specific source. Critchley revealed that the same photo had been printed with an article on British vice criminal Salvatore Messina in an August 1967 London newspaper. He confirmed that the photo was of Messina, not Maranzano, by locating Messina's mug shot in a Scotland Yard resource.
There seem to be no official U.S. government mug shots of Maranzano for the simple reason that Maranzano was not arrested. He was sought by law enforcement on more than one occasion, but never photographed until after his murder. During the police investigation of the killing, two known photographs were taken of the dead Mafia leader. These did not provide much in the way of facial detail. The only other known image of Maranzano was a coroner’s sketch that roughly showed a profile of his face and pinpointed the wounds inflicted on his body.
For the July 2009 issue, Informer attempted to blend the crime scene photos and sketch into an image of the living Maranzano. But there was no method of gauging the accuracy of the result.
Then, early this past April, Informer received an email from a Canadian researcher, who believed he was on the verge of obtaining an actual image of Maranzano. [UPDATE: It has since been proven that this photo too is NOT of Salvatore Maranzano.]
Peter Kalm discovered an old magazine that contained an article and a photograph of Maranzano and told Informer of his find. We initially were skeptical that any published image of the Mafia leader had managed to escape notice for nearly eighty eight years. But on April 25, Kalm shared the magazine article and photograph. We noted there were obvious similarities between the image and the crime scene photos, coroner’s sketch and our own blended image of Maranzano.
As he provided the materials, Kalm wrote, “Maranzano has intrigued me since I saw the movie The Valachi Papers years ago. Sadly, it is probably too late for anyone to write a book about his life since there is no one around who remembers him and also so little information about him still exists.”
In case there are some who do not already know, Maranzano was a bootlegger and Mafioso in the New York area during the late 1920s. He rose to command a successful gangland rebellion against reigning boss of bosses Giuseppe Masseria in 1930-31 and took for himself the boss of bosses position. His term in office was merely a few months, as he was assassinated by gunmen working for Salvatore "Charlie Luciano" Lucania in September 1931.
We considered how best to publicize Kalm’s discovery and to make known his vigilance, good fortune and extreme generosity. He indicated that he was uninterested in any personal publicity but hoped the appearance of the photograph would reignite Maranzano research.
It seemed to us that the most appropriate method of bringing the image to the public was to package it in an entire Informer issue that discussed all that we know about Maranzano. While it falls somewhat short of Kalm’s wish for a Maranzano book, we hope it will serve as a foundation for future research.
This issue contains a number of articles that approach the issue from different perspectives. These articles contain some overlapping data, but each is written to address a specific question about Salvatore Maranzano:
- What can we learn from recent discoveries? (Preview.)
- Why was Maranzano important in U.S. Mafia history? (Preview.)
- What did Maranzano certainly NOT look like? (Preview.)
- What was Maranzano up to in Dutchess County, New York? (Preview.)
- Why did Maranzano select Coll to kill "Lucky"? (Preview.)
- What was revealed about Maranzano by those who knew him? (Preview.)
- Where were significant locations of Maranzano’s life and career? (Preview.)
- When did Maranzano related events occur? (Preview.)
- Did Maranzano become a United States citizen? (Preview.)
- How has Maranzano been depicted in motion pictures? (Preview.)
- What happened on Sept. 10, 1931? (Preview.)
- What was in the memorandum book? (Preview.)
- What do we know about Maranzano in Sicily? (Preview.)
- Was there really a post Maranzano purge? (Preview.)
84 pages including covers and eight and a half pages of advertisements.