Mob Mafia Boss Joe Adonis Testifies at 1951 Kefauver Investigation Original Press Photo

Joe Adonis was a New York mobster, born Giuseppe Antonio Doto (1902-1971), who was influential in the rise of the modern Cosa Nostra.

Organized-crime boss Joe Adonis was born Giuseppe Antonio Doto in the small town of Montemarano, Italy, near Naples. In 1915 he sneaked aboard an ocean liner docked in Naples on its way to the US. He hopped off in Brooklyn, where he had relatives (his cousin was a Vito Genovese family capo named Alan Bono). Adonis soon hooked up with a gang of street toughs who would later become major mob leaders, including Lucky Luciano. Adonis and Luciano formed a strong bond, and in the early 1920s the two borrowed money from fellow gangsters to start their own bootlegging racket. The operation was quite successful, especially in the theater district on and around Broadway, and Adonis soon began associating with some of the theatrical district's most prominent actors, writers and producers. Known to be excessively vain, he soon changed his name from Giuseppe Doto to Joe Adonis, supposedly after the Greek god of love. He became an enforcer for gang boss Frankie Yale and his partner Lucky Luciano became a hitman for Brooklyn mob boss Giuseppe Masseria. When Yale was murdered, Masseria took over his rackets. This soon led to an internecine bloodbath known as the Castellamarese War, with Masseria's gang pitted against that of Salvatore Maranzano. Luciano and Adonis fought on the side of their boss Masseria, but when the tide starting turning against the gang leader, Luciano held secret talks with Maranzano about switching sides. When he did, Adonis went with him. In April of 1931 Adonis, Bugsy Siegel, Genovese and Albert Anastasia approached Masseria in a restaurant in Coney Island and opened fire, killing him instantly.

Maranzano now headed the strongest Italian gang in the city, and organized the other Italian gangs into "families" with himself as the top boss. Luciano and his allies quickly chafed under Maranzano's rule, however, and when Luciano learned that the somewhat paranoid Maranzano had secretly ordered his murder, he decided to return the favor. On September 10, 1931, several of his gunmen burst into Maranano's Manhattan office and shot him dead.

Luciano now was the "top dog" among the Italian gangs, and revamped Masseria's organization into a national crime syndicate (sometimes called The Commission, The Outfit or The Organization), and, as a reward for helping kill Masseria, gave Adonis a seat on the syndicate's "board of directors". His territory now encompassed the prime Broadway and midtown Manhattan areas, and in addition to his bootlegging and gambling rackets he began buying legitimate businesses. He also began acquiring a "stable" of politicians and police officers on his payroll, which he used to protect his rackets and those of his friends and associates, especially Luciano.

Offered is an 8.5” x 7.5” Associate Press photo stamped on the back from March 13 & 14, 1951.  This photo shows Mobster, Joe Adonis at the Federal Courthouse in NYC on March 12, 1951 as he arrived to testify at the Kefauver committee that was investigating organized crime in the early 1950s.  

Great image of one of the flashier mob bosses in the 1950s.

Item: 13197

Price: $149.00
Mob Mafia Boss Joe Adonis Testifies at 1951 Kefauver Investigation Original Press Photo