Mug Shots

Vintage: Mugshots of Prisoners (1900s)

Vintage: Mugshots of Prisoners (1900s)

“Some years ago I discovered a cache of glass negative mug shots taken in the early 20th century; each negative was inscribed with the man’s name and alleged crime. In order to research the life of each man pictured in the 500 negatives, I spent the next three years traveling back and forth from New York to the small Northern…
Vintage: Nebraska Mug Shots (Late 19th Century)

Vintage: Nebraska Mug Shots (Late 19th Century)

The Nebraska State Penitentiary used photography beginning in 1867 to record the likeness of the state’s most infamous residents. The Omaha police photographed suspects when arrested. Whether the people depicted were guilty or innocent, behind every photograph is a human story. This glimpse back at some of the thousands of photographs in the Nebraska State Penitentiary and Omaha Police Court…
Biography: Pioneer of Mug Shot – Alphonse Bertillon

Biography: Pioneer of Mug Shot – Alphonse Bertillon

Alphonse Bertillon (1853 – 1914) was a French police officer and biometrics researcher who applied the anthropological technique of anthropometry to law enforcement creating an identification system based on physical measurements. This system, invented in 1879, became known as the Bertillon system, or bertillonage, and quickly gained wide acceptance as a reliable, scientific method of criminal investigation. In 1884 alone,…
Vintage: Mugshots of Prisoners in West London (1890s)

Vintage: Mugshots of Prisoners in West London (1890s)

These photographs were taken in 1880 and 1890 at Wormwood Scrubs prison in West London by unknown photographer. These portraits are unusual compared with the standard of prison photography at the time, in that they combine the profile and frontal portrait in one photograph. The prisoners hold up their hands to show any identifying features, such as tattoos or missing…
Vintage: Mug Shots of Al Capone (1930s)

Vintage: Mug Shots of Al Capone (1930s)

On March 27, 1929, as Al Capone left a Chicago courtroom after testifying to a grand jury investigating violations of federal prohibition laws, Capone was arrested by FBI agents on charges of having committed contempt of court by feigning illness to avoid an earlier appearance. In May 1929, Capone was sentenced to a prison term in Philadelphia, having been convicted…