In the last few years I have profiled about 200 people on IR who have been famous Illinoisans. Pictured at right is one of the least famous, but most effective crime fighters who ever served the people of Chicago. He was so secretive and not famous that this photo from the Chicago Daily News archives might be the only known photograph of him in the files of Chicago newspapers during the Prohibition era. His name was Alexander Jamie, a former Chief Investigator for the Prohibition Bureau of the Department of Justice. Jamie was married to the sister of Eliot Ness, who became far more famous than his older brother-in-law due to a book he wrote with Oscar Fraley in 1957 that led to a TV series starring Robert Stack as Ness. If you have seen the movie called "The Untouchables" with Kevin Costner and Sean Connery, feel free to enjoy the movie as an action drama. But please don't confuse that movie with real Chicago history.
There was no character in real life like the Chicago Police Officer played by Connery and the real Eliot Ness certainly did not murder Frank Nitti by throwing him off the federal court house roof during the 1931 trial of Al Capone for income tax evasion. The real Nitti was killed by fellow mobsters on the West Side 12 years later in 1943 and Ness was in Washington, DC at the time. The dramatic license of the movie was rather extreme considering that it was written by Cook County native David Mamet. Mr. Jamie, the brother-in-law of Mr. Ness, should get much more credit than he did for the take down of Capone. Jamie for a time worked for The Secret Six, a group of Chicago business leaders who for selfish economic reasons wanted Chicago to live down the horror of the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre. They reasoned that unless families felt safe coming to Chicago with their children, their plans for the 1933 World's Fair would collapse. The chairman of the Fair was Rufus Dawes, brother of Chicago Chamber of Commerce President William Dawes, and brother of former U.S. Vice President Charles Dawes of Evanston. No one could feel safe until Capone was gone. Read more about the Secret Six and Alexander Jamie by clicking here.