THE MOB MUSEUM ADDS LETTER WRITTEN BY WHITEY BULGER, OTHER
ARTIFACTS TO COLLECTION
The Mob Museum, The National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, announces the addition of new artifacts to its collection. One of the artifacts, a handwritten letter from convicted Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, was written just 37 days before his murder in a West Virginia prison. Other new items include weapons confiscated from imprisoned gang members and a Gambino crime family hitman, a trumpet that belonged to a Prohibition-era jazz trumpeter and two authentic 1920s flapper dresses.
James “Whitey” Bulger Letter
This letter was addressed to Andrew Campbell of Illinois and dated Sept. 23, 2018, just five weeks before Bulger was murdered in his cell at the Hazelton federal penitentiary in Bruceton Hills, West Virginia. Bulger was a prolific letter-writer while in prison, often replying to letters asking him questions about his past and opinions on various subjects. Campbell, from whom the Museum acquired the letter, reports having written 10 to 12 letters before receiving a reply. In the letter, Bulger references his advanced age (he was 89) and increasingly ill health, and also notes he preferred robbing banks because the banks were insured and the workers were instructed not to resist. He wrote, “I robbed 20 banks with handguns, pump shotguns and never fired weapon or hurt anyone.” This letter soon will be on display on the Museum’s first floor.
Roy DeMeo Machete and Ice Pick – Roy DeMeo, a hitman for New York’s Gambino crime family during the 1970s and early ’80s, owned a large collection of sharp weapons, including a machete and ice pick now on display on the second floor. DeMeo and his crew were linked to more than 100 murders. Many of his victims were dismembered and buried in a Brooklyn landfill. While these weapons were DeMeo’s, the Museum does not have evidence that they were used in any murders. The Museum has a certificate of authenticity signed by Roy DeMeo’s son, Albert DeMeo.
Prison-made Weapons – Guards confiscated these makeshift weapons from inmates in Los Angeles-area jails and prisons. Inmates create lethal weapons using materials found in the facilities, including metal bed frame parts, mop handles, wire, plastic spoons and toothbrushes. This collection of weapons was collected by Richard Valdemar, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant who specialized in cases involving Hispanic gangs and the Mexican Mafia. Valdemar donated them to the Museum and they are now on display on the second floor.
Paul Mares Trumpet – Once owned by Paul Mares, a New Orleans native who became one of the top jazz trumpeters of the Prohibition era, this trumpet is now on display in The Underground speakeasy. Mares gained renown in the early 1920s playing in Mob-controlled Chicago nightclubs, later forming the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, one of the era’s most influential white jazz bands. In 1923, his band recorded five songs with jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton that are considered the first interracial jazz recordings. Mares died in 1949. Conn likely manufactured this Cavalier-brand trumpet in the early 1930s. The trumpet is on loan from the New Orleans Jazz Museum.
Flapper Dresses – Two Prohibition-era flapper dresses from the Museum’s textile collection are always on display in The Underground speakeasy. For the next six months, two dresses acquired from collector Karen Brenner will be on exhibit:
Velvet Flapper Dress: This flapper dress is made of velvet, which became available to the masses in the 1920s. The blue chiffon and floral-patterned gold cut velvet were fashionable textures and patterns during the Prohibition era.
Art Deco Flapper Dress: This Art Deco-inspired flapper dress reflects two key elements of 1920s fashion. It uses silver and white designs to draw one’s eye to the shoulders and hips, emphasizing the lithe female body characteristic of the era. It also embodies the design principles of the machine age – sleek, mechanical and modern.
For more information, please call (702) 229-2734 or visit themobmuseum.org.
ABOUT THE MOB MUSEUM
The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides a world-class, interactive journey through true stories—from the birth of the Mob to today’s headlines. The Mob Museum offers a provocative, contemporary look at these topics through hundreds of artifacts and immersive storylines. Whether you like it or not, this is American history. It debuted a major renovation in 2018, including a Crime Lab, Use of Force Training Experience, and Organized Crime Today exhibit as well as The Underground, a basement-level Prohibition history exhibition featuring a speakeasy and distillery and sponsored by Zappos. Since opening in 2012, The Mob Museum has accumulated numerous accolades, including being named one of TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 U.S. Museums,” one of Las Vegas Weekly’s “Twenty Greatest Attractions in Las Vegas History,” one of Hotel.com’s Top 7 “Travel Brag Landmarks,” one of USA Today’s “12 Can’t Miss U.S. Museum Exhibits,” “A Must for Travelers” by The New York Times, one of “20 Places Every American Should See” by Fox News and Budget Travel magazine, “Best Museum” by Nevada Magazine and is a multi-year winner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” rankings. The Mob Museum has been awarded accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded U.S. museums. General admission is $26.95 for adults ages 18 and over with special pricing for online purchase, children, seniors, military, law enforcement, Nevada residents, and teachers. The Museum is open daily; visit the website for up-to-date operating hours. For more information, call (702) 229-2734 or visit themobmuseum.org. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/themobmuseum or Twitter @themobmuseum.