Fonds F1472 - Emilio Picariello fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Emilio Picariello fonds


  • 1904-1963, predominant 1922-1923 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2 cm of textual records. -- 16 photographs

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Emilio Picariello, 1879-1923, was born in Capriglia, Avellino, Italy. In 1904 he married Marianino Maria Marucci, 1883-1976, who was born in San Marco, D'Cavoti, Italy. They had seven children, Stefano "Steve", 1905-1971, Angelina Rose "Julie", Carmine Mario, 1914-1966, Luigi "Louie", Charles "Chuck", Albert, 1918-1985, and Florence Eleanor "Helen" (Matson), ca. 1922-. The family moved to Fernie, British Columbia in 1911, and subsequently to Blairmore, Alberta, where Emilio's family moved into and ran the Alberta Hotel. He also owned and operated many other businesses in Blairmore. After prohibition became law in Alberta in 1916, he became a bootlegger, running illegal alcohol across the Alberta-British Columbia border through the Crowsnest Pass, and over the foothills from Sweetgrass, Montana. On the afternoon of September 21, 1922 his son, Steve, age 16, suspected of transporting liquor, refused to stop when ordered to do so, and was shot in the hand by Alberta Provincial Police (APP) Constable Steve Lawson. That evening, Emilio and Florence Lassandro (or Filumena Losandro), Mrs. Picariello's housekeeper and nanny to her children, went to see Lawson to get information as to Steve's condition and whereabouts. They were involved in a confrontation with Lawson during which the policeman was killed. Emilio and Florence were convicted of murder and hanged at Fort Saskatchewan jail on May 2, 1923. They are buried in an Edmonton cemetery. There are still doubts about their guilt. For further information see Neil Watson's entry, "Filumena (Florence) Sanfidele Lassandro Costanzo", in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. XV, at


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Purchased from Helen Matson and gift of Gerald Vaughn, 1982-1989.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

  • The fonds consists of letters to his wife while in prison (1922-1923); marriage certificate (1904); wife's passport (ca. 1930); family photographs (1910s-1963); and a notebook with some business accounts (1924-1926).
  • The letters were written to his wife and family while in prison waiting to be hanged for the murder of police officer Steve Lawson. Some of the letters were written on the reverse side of letters from Picariello's lawyers and bank.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

No restrictions on access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

The material is primarily in English, with a small portion in Italian.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

No finding aid, but the letters, marriage certificate, passport and some of the photos have been digitized.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • Records of Chief Detective J.D. Nicholson, who investigated the Lawson murder, are in the Alberta Provincial Police fonds at Glenbow (M 4843, files 30-31).
  • Records of J. McKinley Cameron, the lawyer who represented Picariello and Lassandro, are also held by Glenbow (M-6840-[344, 354-370]).

Related descriptions

Notes area


Title based on contents of records.


NA-5067 is a copy of PA-2945

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Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Tuesday, May 08, 2018




Accession area