ONE DAY IN MAY OF 1924, during the era of Prohibition, a local tough named Joe Howard entered Heinie Jacobs's saloon at 2300 South Wabash in Chicago. He was in high spirits, having just hijacked a truckload of beer, and wanted to celebrate with his newfound wealth. What happened next was subject to various versions written after the events by people who were not there, but it appears that after indulging too much in a forbidden beverage, Howard did what all bullies do—he looked around for the weakest person he could find. His gaze fell on a short, chubby, otherwise ordinary man with a sad, droopy face that would never stand out in a crowd, much less be taken for anyone of importance. It may indeed have been his very undistinguished countenance that made him appear a helpless mark. Approaching, Howard slapped his unsuspecting victim across the face several times...
“Greasy Thumb”—The Man Who Made the Chicago Mob
James S. Pula is Professor of History Emeritus at Purdue University Northwest. The author and editor of more than a dozen books on the Polish diaspora, his work has been honored with the Mieczysław Haiman Award for sustained scholarly contributions to Polish studies, the Distinguished Service Award from the American Council for Polish Culture, three Oskar Halecki Prizes for various books on Polish American topics, the Rudewicz Medal for immigration research, and the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
James S. Pula; “Greasy Thumb”—The Man Who Made the Chicago Mob. Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (1998-) 1 October 2022; 115 (2-3): 149–178. doi: https://doi.org/10.5406/232833188.8.131.52.07
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