July 22, 1934: Bank robber and jail breaker John Dillinger was killed by FBI agents at the Biograph Theater in Chicago in 1934. The infamous criminal captured the attention of the press, the public and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and is featured in the Newseum’s FBI exhibit “G-Men and Journalists.” This includes some of the artifacts featured here, such the death mask kept by Hoover.
Due to his rapid succession of armed bank robberies and police and civilian killings, Dillinger was labeled “Public Enemy No. 1” by Hoover. Dillinger’s exploits consistently made front-page news around the country and he was considered a “Robin Hood”-type figure by many. To throw off authorities, he received a face lift while in hiding to conceal his identity and apparently used acid to remove fingerprints. His whereabouts on July 22, 1934 were revealed in a deal between brothel owner Anna Sage who was being threatened by authorities with deportation.