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William J. Helmer
AKA Bill Helmer

How great is this guy? Well, let's just say the books that he puts out speak for themselves! You don't have take my word for it.
As a matter of fact, Johnny Depp was reading Helmer's Dillinger collaboration with Girardin during the filming of Public Enemies, which is a film based on another book. I guess Depp needed a much more indepth and accurate view of John Dillinger in order to play his character correctly, other than the one based on the movie.

Helmer/Girardin's book (with special research by Mattix) and Johnny Depp holding it.

The photogallery can be viewed at:,0,151018.photogallery

William J.Helmer has spent many years doing Magazine work, freelance writing. He holds a Master's degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin and had a stint on the National Commission on the causes and prevention of Violence. He settled down for a while in Chicago becoming Senior Editor at Playboy magazine. He then authored and co-authored many a book on the gangster and desperadoes of the 20's and thirties. He now lives in Bourne,Texas.

Always with a twisted sense of humor, Helmer bought this cemetary plot at Rosehill that was adjacent to  Reinhardt Schwimmer, the unlucky optometrist killed in the 1929 St.Valentine's Day Massacre.

For sale! Bill Helmer is selling his cemetary plot at Rosehill cemetary in Chicago. It is the plot right next to St. Valentine's day massacre victim Rienhart Schwimmer.

If interested please contact me at
Here is a listing of books by and co-authored by Bill Helmer. All very good and worth reading if your into the gangster and bankrobber of the 20's and 30's.

Books by and Co-authored by Bill Helmer

When her husband was murdered on the orders of Chicago mobster Frank Nitti, Georgette Winkler—wife of one of Al Capone's "American Boys"—set out to expose the Chicago Syndicate. After an attempt to publish her story was squelched by the mob, she offered it to the FBI in the mistaken belief that they had the authority to strike at the racketeers who had killed her husband Gus. Discovered 60 years later in FBI files, the manuscript describes the couple’s life on the run, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre (Gus was one of the shooters), and other headline crimes of that period. Prepared for publication by mob expert William J. Helmer, Al Capone and His American Boys is a compelling contemporary account of the heyday of Chicago crime by a woman who found herself married to the mob.
Available via Amazon

During Prohibition, Chicago’s Beer Wars turned the city into a battleground, secured its reputation as gangster capital of the world, and laid the foundation for nationally organized crime. Bootlegger bloodshed was greater there than anywhere else.
The machine-gun murders of seven men on the morning of February 14, 1929, by killers dressed as cops became the gangland "crime of the century.

While researching a book on Depression-era outlaws, Playboy editor William J. Helmer stumbled upon a 600-page manuscript on John Dillinger. Written in the 1930s by G. Russell Girardin but never published, Dillinger: The Untold Story is a remarkable contemporary account of Dillinger's life and crimes, based in part on information given to Girardin by the outlaw's lawyer, Louis Piquett, not long after Dillinger's death. Though a series of articles by Girardin and Piquett appeared in the Hearst newspapers at the time, the big book manuscript remained yellowing on the shelf for half a century until Helmer met Girardin and agreed to help get it into print. Here at last is the inside story on the famous 'wooden gun' jailbreak, Dillinger's ties to 'The Lady in Red' and the East Chicago policeman who was her lover and one of his killers, the charges that some of Dillinger's bank robberies were prearranged with the banks, and Dillinger's contacts with Al Capone's Chicago Syndicate. Packed with illustrations and new information from FBI files and other sources, Dillinger: The Untold Story is an authentic slice of American history and a feast for true crime buffs. Taken from

The Gun That Made The Twenties Roar copyright 1969 by The Gun room press
This book is a must for all gangster and gun enthusiasts.It shows the beginnings of the Thompson from it's inception to it's bloody past from gangster warefare and to later glory in the korean war.

The Quotable Al Capone
The Chicago typewriter co and Mad Dog Press.1990 by Mark Levell and Bill Helmer.
Lists many quotes Capone is noted for and has dates and lists of Public enemies,gangs and crimes in Chicago.

By William Helmer with Rick Mattix
In the stormy decades between 1920 and 1940, America's cities as well as its rural areas were introduced to a new breed of lawlessness the Gangster. Public Enemies: America's Criminal Past details hard-to-find statistics, narratives, and lore, as well as the vivid personalities that roamed the country during this period.
Filled with more than 70 illustrations and editorial cartoons that capture the attitudes of the era, Public Enemies reveals the nature of U.S. crime and criminals during this time, with particular attention to Prohibition bootleggers, Depression Era outlaws, and the first nationwide "war on crime." Great Book!!!!

New  By Steven Nickel with Bill Helmer

Book Description
Lester Joseph Gillis-better known to the public and press of the 1930s as Baby Face Nelson-was one of a succession of public enemies beginning with John Dillinger and progressing to Bonnie and Clyde, Ma Barker, Machine Gun Kelly, and Pretty Boy Floyd. For decades their stories were largely myths, containing a combination of popular folklore and carefuly crafted FBI fables.
In recent years historians have generated a more factual look at the life and times of the various Depression-era desperados. Until now Baby Face Nelson has remained as enigmatic and one-dimensional as he was then, portrayed by J. Edgar Hoover and newsmen as a trigger-happy punk who looked like a choirboy and killed without a conscience. Finally the full story of his short life can be told.
Using new information that comes from the formerly classified files of the FBI, the Nelson who emerges from the pages of Baby Face Nelson: Portrait of a Public Enemy is a more paradoxical and interesting figure than one might expect. Obviously addicted to crime in his youth and evidently intoxicated with violence near the end of his life, he came from an ordinary, honest middle-class family. In a surprising departure from the gangster norm, Nelson and his wife remained fiercely devoted to one another, and between holdups they often lived a quiet domestic life with their two children and, at times, Nelson's mother.
The main focus of this biography is on Nelson's remarkable criminal career, from sensational bank robberies and blazing gun battles up to his death at the age of twenty-five. Many misconceptions are corrected and some of the abuses of the FBI are exposed. from

Also written by Bill Helmer.

Helmer, William J.  2000 "The Madman in the Tower." In Texas Crime Chronicles. New York: Warner Books.(Book about Charles Whitman the mad sniper who killed students with a rifle from a tower in Texas).

On this webpage are photos and headlines from whom I consider to be one of the best 20's 30's Gangster/Desperadoes historians there is , Mr.Bill Helmer.

Al Capone mugshot  (Ap wire/FBI photo courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)
Al Capone hiding handcuffs after receiving bad news that his  final appeals have expired, thus returning him to Atlanta pen.
(AP wire photo courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Cartoon dipicting Uncle Sam getting the goods on Capone.
(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Capone Stating that he is through with the rackets and plans to leave Chicago for Florida March 17,1930. (Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

British Newspaper on Al Capone.He made the news worldwide.
(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Kings of Gangsterdom!Who will be king today and rubbed out tomorrow.(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Capone in Florida training with the boys.Many prizefighters stopped by to go a few rounds and train with Capone.
(Capone's Chicago photo courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

June 1930 the Fox Lake massacre occurs.
(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Machine guns were becoming the fashion for Chicago.
(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Machine gun Jack McGurn keeps an eye over his boss Al Capone and his son Sonny.
September 9th 1931 at Comiskey park between the Chicago white sox and the Chicago cubs.It was a game to raise funds for charity.The cubs won 3-0.

 ( photo Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

War erupts among Sicilians gangsters in Chicago.
(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)
Capone's favorite pose ( minus his scars).
(AP/UI wire photo courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

An ad for the Lexington Hotel home to Al Capone and his minions. (Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

February 14, 1929. (CPD photo Courtesy of  Mr. Bill Helmer)

The views below are headlines from some of the papers on this event.
(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Author Bill Helmer on one of his many t.v. appearances

(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

(Courtesy of  Mr. Bill Helmer)

(Courtesy of  Mr. Bill Helmer)

(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)
Rare shot of Mae Capone taken with a telephoto lens at Alcatraz. (Capone's Chicago museum photo courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Headline for Dec.20th 1932 Frank Nitti is shot.
(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)
April 7,1933 truth comes out Nitti is shot at unarmed by Detective in a setup.(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

A page from Peter Von Frantzius catalog.He was a sporting goods owner who also sidlined as the armourer to the underworld. His specialty was the Thompson sub machine gun. (Courtesy Mr. Bill Helmer)

A  letter envelope with the Unione Siciliana  markings and Chicago address. (Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Prohibition Ends! after 1360 victim's.(Courtesy of Mr. Bill Helmer)

Here are some items dealing with John Herbert Dillinger supplied to us by Mr. Bill Helmer  

From "The John Dillinger Died for you Society"

Many theaters presented shows on Dillinger on how crime doesn't pay.
(the theaters found that it did pay to present these types of shows).

Ad for Colt .45 automatics

Cartoon on Melvin Purvis describing his duties against crime

Dillinger killed in Chicago.

Newspaper claiming jealousy between woman caused his demise.

The end of Dillinger  

This exceptional page was possible through the kindness and generosity of Mr. Bill Helmer. His knowledge in this field is unsurpassed, and I'm always pleased when he communicates with me. Many thanks Bill!
Bill has authored and co-authored many interesting books on gangsters and bankrobbing desperadoes of the 20's and 30's.