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Al Capone's Sister Gets Married
On November 17, 1930, a marriage license was taken out for a young couple to be married. One John Maritote, a labourer, and a girl by the name of Mafalda Capone were to be wed. Many reports had John as John Romano, or as employed at the library.
Shortly after the reports broke out that Al's one and only little sister was getting married, newspapermen tried to get the scoop on the upcoming wedding. Speculations abound on the reasons for this union. Just because John Maritote was related to gangster Frank Maritote, rumors were started that this matrimonial union was simply gang related. The people talking in whispers taking aim at John and Mafalda, stating that they just met and didn't even know each other.
In mid November, a reporter made his was to 7244 Prairie Avenue and rang the door bell. He wanted to get the real scoop from the one actually getting married. This newspaper story appeared in the Des Moines Tribune on November 21,1930.
The door opened. A young, dark haired plump woman in a house appeared. In her hand she was holding a rose and plucking the petals. The reporter inquired "Can I see Miss Mafalda Capone?"
"I'm Mafalda" the girl answered. "Your wedding?" she was asked. "When is it going to be? Is it to be a pretentious church wedding, with bridesmaids, flower girls, and all that, or just a simple ceremony in the home?" The girl mucked a rose petal, hesitated and then answered. "We ain't announcing the date. It's going to he a home wedding. Nothing fancy. Only the imme-diate relatives and friends."
"But the hope chest and the presents, and the handsome dowry and the $50,000 home?''The reporter quickly inquired
(Burlington Free Press, November 18,1930)
Another petal spiraled down ward. "Say, you ain't falling for all that?" demanded the bride-elect. "But I suppose," she added. "we'll get wedding gifts like every other married couple. But I have not seen any yet."
"This talk about your wedding being a marriage of convenience, uniting two outstanding groups of public enemies—the bridegroom has been quoted as saying that he hardly knew you and that he was in love with another girl." A pair of slim fingers plucked another petal from the rose. The almond-blossom lips met in a pout.
(Des Moines Tribune, November 21,1930)
"Just becuase I'm Al Capone's sister," said Mafalda, "Is no reason why I have to stand for all these dirty cracks. It you want to know, John and I have been sweethearts since our childhood. And I'll say one thing his name isn't Roman as some of the newspapers have said and he don't work in no public library. "As a matter of fact," here another rose petal was loosened. As Mafalda went on,—"he's a business man and he ain't in the racket, either. And another thing, these pictures of me in the newspapers--they're all wrong. Do I look like a blowsy old burlesque queen? Do I look as if I was 50 years old and fat? Ain't it bad enough to be Al Capone's sister without having the papers print pictures of some old hen and calling it you? How would you like it yourself?"
The rose by this time was about shorn of its petals and Mafalda was gradually closing the door. "I'll let you know when the marriage comes off," she promised. But we haven't set no date and I don't know where we'll spend our honeymoon. This is a private affair, not any gangland peace move."
Mafalda may have been playing the reporter. She loved the attention her romance was getting but got easily rubbed the wrong way whenever a question was asked, especially one that she didn't like.
The wedding took place on December 15, 1930, at St. Mary's church in Cicero.
St. Mary's church in Cicero. (Wikipedia)
Bride and Groom Mafalda and John Maritote. The flower girl is Theresa Maritote and the boy is Roger Maritote. We can see Mae Capone'S head between Mafalda and John.
(Mario Gomes Collection)
December 14, 1930. It started it off with 5 arrests. 3 gun toting hoods outside the church and two at a reception held at 1600 South Austin. These men were to prevent any disruption of the wedding ceremony. Pat Roche sent detectives there in earnest keeping an eye out for big Al himself and keeping track of the known gangsters in attendance. For the most part, many there were to be very disappointed. Al made sure to stay away from the ceremony. Not only because he knew it would ruin his kid sister's special day, but exactly because he wanted it to be HER special day with the emphasis solely on her. He felt his presence there would only be a distraction to her wedding with arrests and people, reporters flocking to him.
The ceremony officially began at 2:00pm. The first sounds of 'oohs' and 'Ahs' was when the first sedan arrived with the bridegroom with his best man and six ushers in attendance. The bridegroom and best man were dapper Italians with a gardenia on each lapel. The crowds outside were overflowing to catch a glimpse of this famous wedding. Even little school children made their way under legs of the crowds to get closer to see what was happening.
Next the sedans carrying the bevy of bridesmaids, young Italian girls in identical costumes of turquoise blue and shell pink had arrived. They all wore pink duvetyn hats with turquoise satin bands, turquoise moire slippers. Each carried a colonial bouquet of pink roses and sweet peas, with a paper frill, tied in pale blue tulle.
Ralph's wife and Mae Capone were also dressed in similar colors as the bridesmaids, sporting pink, silver and turquoise chiffon gowns and pink duvetyn hats with turquoise bands. Their flower bouquest consisted of valley lillies, roses and yellow button chrysanthemums.
The last sedan with the bride made it's much anticipated arrival.
Mafalda appeared in her sleeveless ivory satin gown draped over her body and fitted at the knees. The train or veil was at least three yards long behind her. She wore long white gloves and carried in her arms a bouquet of white gardenias and lillies of the valley. The real stars of the wedding were Roger and Theresa Maritote. The flower girl and boy. The little man was in a white satin suit with a white top hat, the girl was almost an exact copy in dress of Mafalda's apparel. Ralph Capone was there dressed to the nines with gloves and his famous silk top hat. He was the one who gave his sister away during the ceremony.
After the ceremony, a reception was held at Ralph Capone's Cotton Club.
But who took this photo?
Ralph Capone's personal picture of Mafalda's wedding. This exact photo shown here was Ralph Capone's photo that he hanging in his home in Wisconsin. The photo measures approximately 16" X 20". It was framed by Albert LaMarche, a picture framing business in Ironwood.
Ralph Capone had randomly found a photographer in Cicero Directory. Emil Babka was the chosen man to take all the wedding photos at the church and reception.
While the press sent their photographers at the church for the latest Capone scoop the Capone family had their own photographer to hire for the wedding. One who would be allowed at the festivities to immortalize this joyous family occaision. But whom?? Shortly before The Capone / Maritote wedding ceremony was to begin, a phone call was placed to Emil Babka's photographic studio in Cicero. When the phone call came, Emil asked the caller who was getting married and he was just told it was Al's sister. He thought it must be someone important. He was picked up by two men in a limousine carrying all his supplies and equipment for the special mission. After he left, his daughter Vera heard on the radio that it was Al Capone's sister getting married. Both his daughter and wife Rose began to get worried. When Emil finally got back to his relieved family he said he saw many prominent politicians at the wedding and that even the mayor was there. He found the cake interesting, it was some kind of a ship. He said he was treated very well by everyone there. The men who drove him back had even brought chocolates for Emil's wife Rose.
Cicero photographer Emil Babka.
He was the official photographer employed by the outfit to take the photos at Mafalda's wedding and reception.
(Photo courtesy of Vera Julia Babka Kotiza)
Rose Herda Babka was Emil's wife. She was worried once she understood by what she heard on the radio was that Emil had been escorted by two Capone henchmen to photograph Al Capone's sister's wedding.
(Photo courtesy of Vera Julia Babka Kotiza via Lorna Stein)
Emil's daughter, Vera Babka, was also worried when she heard on the radio that her dad went to work at a Capone wedding.
(Photo courtesy of Vera Julia Babka Kotiza via Lorna Stein)
John Maritote and Mafalda Capone Maritote in front of their ship cake called 'The Honeymoon Special'. The massive cake cost $2100. The reception was held at Ralph Capone's Cotton Club in Cicero. (Mario Gomes Collection)
My special thank-you to Lorna R. Stein. This webpage is entirely dedicated to the memory of Emil Babka, Rose Herda Babka, and Vera Julia Babka Kotiza. Without their memories all this history would have been gone forever.