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KNOXVILLE — John Dillinger, perhaps the nation’s most infamous Depression-era bank robber, will be the subject of this year’s Charles O. Jackson history lecture at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Elliott Gorn, author and professor of history and American civilization at Brown University, will discuss “John Dillinger’s America,” at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, in Room 103 of the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy. The event is free and open to the public.

“Elliott’s portrait of Dillinger provides a fascinating window on America during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and it also tells us something about the roots of our modern-day fascination with crime and celebrity,” said Ernest Freeberg, professor of history at UT Knoxville. “It also reminds us of a time when many Americans felt more anger at the banks than they did at the outlaws.”

During the early 1930s, news reports carried the sensational details of the latest bank robberies committed by Dillinger and other well known criminals such as Bonnie and Clyde, “Baby Face” Nelson and “Pretty Boy” Floyd. After several escapes from jail and running gun battles with police, Dillinger was killed in a shoot-out with federal agents outside a movie theater in Chicago in 1934.

Gorn’s most recent book is titled “Dillinger’s Wild Ride — The Year that Made America’s Public Enemy Number One.”

The lecture is made possible by an endowment from Charles O. Jackson, a UT Knoxville history professor from 1969 until his death in 1997.


Ernest Freeberg, UT Knoxville Department of History  (865-974-7090,

Charles Primm, UT Knoxville Media Relations  (865-974-5180,