Dillinger, John Herbert, 1903-1934

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John Herbert Dillinger (June 22, 1903 – July 22, 1934) was an American gangster of the Great Depression. He led a group known as the "Dillinger Gang" which was accused of robbing 24 banks and 4 police stations. Dillinger escaped from jail twice. He was charged but not convicted of the murder of an East Chicago, Indiana, police officer who shot Dillinger in his bullet-proof vest during a shootout. It was the only time Dillinger was charged with homicide.

Dillinger courted publicity. The media ran exaggerated accounts of his bravado colorful personality and cast him as a Robin Hood. In response, J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the Bureau of Investigation (BOI), used Dillinger and his gang as his campaign platform to evolve the BOI into the Federal Bureau of Investigation, developing more sophisticated investigative techniques as weapons against organized crime.

After evading police in four states for almost a year, Dillinger was wounded and went to his father's home to mend. He returned to Chicago in July 1934 and sought refuge in a brothel owned by Ana Cumpănaș. She informed authorities of his whereabouts. On July 22, 1934, the police and G-men closed in on the Biograph Theater. Federal agents, led by Melvin Purvis and Samuel P. Cowley, moved to arrest Dillinger as he exited the theater. He drew a gun while attempting to flee, but was killed. This was ruled as justifiable homicide.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Chicago Daily News crime research collection, 1932-1995. Indiana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Facsimile historical newspapers collection, 1876-1969. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn History: Paoli, Indiana, 1987-1989 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
referencedIn General Records of the Department of Justice. Photographs of Agency Personnel. 1953-1993. National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Criminal history files., 1928-1982 (bulk 1928-1955). Minnesota Historical Society
referencedIn King, Jeffery S., 1940-. Jeffery King crime files, 1933-1996 1933-1936. American University, American University Library; Bender Library
referencedIn National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized. 1675 - 1958. Motion Picture Films From G-2 Army Military Intelligence Division. 1918 - 1947. A TRIP PAST THE STATUE OF LIBERTY THROUGH THE U.S.A National Archives at College Park
referencedIn St. Paul gangster history research collection., 1981-1995. Minnesota Historical Society
referencedIn Etheridge, Mamye. Clippings scrapbook, [193-]. Alabama Department of Archives and History
referencedIn Purvis, Melvin Horace, 1903-. Melvin Horace Purvis papers, 1934 July 30-1943 Aug. 20. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Secret Service. 1863 - 1999. Administrative Records National Archives at College Park
referencedIn Donald S. Leonard Papers, 1925-1966 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Records of District Courts of the United States. 1685 - 2009. Criminal Case Files. 1928 - 1988. The United States of America v. John Dillinger National Archives at Chicago
referencedIn Graham, W. B. W.B. Graham papers, 1933-1936. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn History of Indiana, 1971-1980 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
referencedIn John Toland Papers, 1944-1965 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Finney, Emma Walk,. Oral history interview, 1989 Nov. 2 [sound recording]. Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division
referencedIn United States. District Court (Minnesota : 3rd Division). Transcript, trial of Evelyn Frechette, et al., 1934 May 15-22. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Maccabee, Paul, 1955-. St. Paul gangster history research collection, 1981-1995. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Cejnar Family. Cejnar Family Papers, 1917-1962. Indiana State Library - ISL
referencedIn Samuel P. Cowley papers, 1934-1975 Utah State University. Merrill-Cazier Library. Special Collections and ArchivesManuscript Collection
referencedIn Camacho, Arturo, 1901-. Oral history interview, 1983 May 13 [sound recording]. Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division
creatorOf Records of District Courts of the United States. 1685 - 2009. Criminal Case Files. 1928 - 1988. The United States of America v. John Dillinger. 7/4/1934 - 7/11/1934. Order to Arrest John Dillinger National Archives at Chicago
referencedIn [Letter] 1934 May 2, Minneapolis, Minnesota [to] Billie. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Poulsen, Ellen, 1953-. Ellen Poulsen research collection on the women of the Dillinger gang, 1933-1935. American University, American University Library; Bender Library
referencedIn Minnesota. Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Criminal history files, 1928-1982 (bulk 1928-1955). Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
referencedIn Dayton Police Department Historical Records, 1876-2010, 1910-1970 Wright State University, Special Collections and Archives
referencedIn Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 1896 - 2008. Motion Picture Films and Video Recordings. 1936 - 1985. YOU CAN'T GET AWAY WITH IT National Archives at College Park
Relation Name
associatedWith Camacho, Arturo, 1901- person
associatedWith Cejnar Family. person
associatedWith Dayton Police Department corporateBody
associatedWith Etheridge, Mamye. person
associatedWith Finney, Emma Walk, person
associatedWith Fox, Charles Wilson, 1823-1880 person
associatedWith Graham, W. B. person
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
associatedWith King, Jeffery S., 1940- person
associatedWith Leonard, Donald S. (Donald Sparling), 1903-1976 person
associatedWith Maccabee, Paul, 1955-. person
associatedWith Minnesota. Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. corporateBody
associatedWith Poulsen, Ellen, 1953- person
associatedWith Purvis, Melvin Horace, 1903- person
associatedWith Toland, John. person
associatedWith United States. District Court (Minnesota : 3rd Division). corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation corporateBody
memberOf United States. Navy corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Chicago IL US
Indianapolis IN US
Subject
Crime
Occupation
Criminals
Activity

Person

Birth 1903-06-22

Death 1934-07-22

Male

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 34208626