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Research into 1930s female crime bosses earns Creighton undergrad trip to NYC

Mar 6, 2022
3 min Read
Elizabeth Peller

The world of woman-led organized crime in 1930s Australia will get an airing March 12 when Creighton University English and theater major Elizabeth Peller presents a research poster at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  

Along with four other Creighton students, she’ll be part of the inaugural BIG EAST Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium, scheduled to run concurrently with the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament.  

“My project is about the Razor Wars of Sydney in the 1930s,” Peller says. “It was a time of violent, organized crime, and two women emerged as leading and competing mob bosses: Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine."

Through my research, I discovered the slanted view of these women the newspapers presented. They were sensationalized and caricatured.
— Elizabeth Peller

“My main focus is to show their full humanity. I wrote a historical play about them, which we performed here at Creighton, because I wanted to show their complexities in a way that has never been done before.”