Apr 16, 2019 - Sale 2505

Sale 2505 - Lot 83

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 7,500
(CRIME.) Unpublished photographs of Al Capone and henchmen, in a scrapbook compiled by one of the Untouchables. 8 photos and hundreds of newspaper clippings mounted on more than 127 loose-leaf scrapbook pages. 4to, 11 x 8 1/2 inches, bound with string within cloth-backed boards repurposed from an I.R.S. "Record of Receipts and Sales of Intoxicating Liquors" ledger; some leaves and clippings loose, moderate wear and toning. Vp, 1926-33

Additional Details

This collection includes 8 photographs, all apparently of criminals lined up for group mug shots circa 1930. Each is about 6 x 9 inches, and tipped on either side of a worn piece of loose-leaf paper. Some of the photographs have captions on verso. One reads simply "Al Capone," and has two full-length portraits of the mob boss developed together--one in a suit, and one in overcoat and fedora. Mounted on the verso of the same sheet is a group portrait of 5 known Capone associates (this one has appeared in print). All 5 men were rounded up in the same Chicago raid on 1 November 1932: William White, Murray Humphries, Marcus Looney, Charles Frichetti, and William O'Donnell. The other six photographs are less well captioned or not easily tied to specific incidents, though one does included known Capone associate George Braughn, who was arrested in Chicago on 14 March 1929.
The photographs have apparently been removed from the accompanying loose-leaf scrapbook of newspaper clippings dated 1926 to 1931, all relating to Prohibition-related crime: rumrunning, speakeasies, and related gang activities. Most of the clippings are from California newspapers. Typed on one page are arrest reports for three men nabbed in Los Angeles with 100 cases of liquor in June 1926.
The scrapbook and photographs were all apparently assembled by Lyle B. Chapman (1890-1966), a special agent in Los Angeles through at least 1928 before serving in Chicago as a core member of Eliot Ness's "Untouchables" team, the group which pursued Capone. The scrapbook has "Chapman" inscribed in red ink on the cover, and laid in is a carbon copy of a typed 28 April 1933 letter from Chapman to the Illinois District Attorney, Dwight H. Green, discussing the employment of a handwriting specialist "in the case of Al Capone, et al": "At the time Eliot Ness, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, was in control of the investigation of the case, and the matter was taken up with him regarding the employment of a handwriting expert." The timeline of the Los Angeles clippings and Capone photographs appears to fit Chapman's career.