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   Volume III, Issue 2
December 2006   

Alumna Celeste Morello on the Philadelphia Mafia

Historian criminologist and Villanova alumna Celeste Morello conducts her research on an edgy topic, the Philadelphia Mafia. On October 24, Morello returned to the University to discuss her three-volume series, Before Bruno: the History of the Philadelphia Mafia.

Morelloís Before Bruno trilogy is the history of the Mafia in the Philadelphia area from 1880 to 1959 when Angelo Bruno became local Mob boss. The publications took 15 years of research, during which time she personally interviewed dozens of members of the Philly Mafia.

During tours of Italy and Sicily, she became familiar with the Sicilian-American experience and how cultural values and practices of Sicilian immigrants to the Philadelphia area are expressed and transformed. This convergence of cultures can also be found in her other books, Philadelphia Italian Market Cookbook†and Beyond History: the Times and Peoples of St. Paulís Roman Catholic Church, 1843 to 1993.

A Norristown native, Morello earned a double bachelorís degree from Chestnut Hill College in 1980, a masterís in sociology/criminology at St Josephís University in 1994 and another masterís in history at Villanova University in 2000. A full crowd, including many Falvey librarians who assisted Morello during her graduate studies, attended her book talk in the library first floor lounge.

Contributed by Sarah Hidding, Laura Hutelmyer and Jacqueline Mirabile; photograph by Natalie Tomasco