bertillon card

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Photograph of John Welshouse Affixed to Bertillon Measurement Card

From the Inmate Case File of John Welshouse, Inmate No. 4816.

The Bertillon Card for John Welshouse, an inmate of the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, states he was examined on January 26, 1914.  A system of physical identification pre-dating the use of fingerprints, Bertillon Measurements used anthropometrics, such as the length and width of the head and the degree of forehead slope to create an individual’s unique profile.  Welshouse’s file indicates that he was convicted in New Orleans, Louisiana for violation of the White Slave Act, although his sentence was later commuted.  

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Photograph of Julian Hawthorne Affixed to Bertillon Measurement Card

From the Inmate Case file of Julian Hawthorne, Inmate No. 4435

Dated March 26, 1913, this is the Bertillon Measurement Card for Julian Hawthorne, son of American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Also an author and journalist himself, Hawthorne was sentenced to 1 year in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for his involvement in a stock fraud scheme.  Hawthorne maintained his innocence and later wrote about his experience in prison in his work The Subterranean Brotherhood.

A system of physical identification pre-dating the use of fingerprints, Bertillon Measurements used anthropometrics, such as the length and width of the head and the degree of forehead slope to create an individual’s unique profile.

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Logan P. Martin: Convicted Counterfeiter and Aspiring Poet?

Photograph of Logan P. Martin Affixed to Bertillon Measurement Card

From the series: Logan P. Martin, Inmate No. 4642

The Bertillon measurement card of Logan Martin indicates that he was examined on October 22, 1913. Affixed to this measurement card is Martin’s prison photograph, known commonly as a “mug shot.” His inmate case file indicates that he was convicted in convicted in Baltimore, Maryland for counterfeiting.  A poem written by Martin is also included in his case file.

A system of physical identification pre-dating the use of fingerprints, Bertillon Measurements used anthropometrics, such as the length and width of the head and the degree of forehead slope to create an individual’s unique profile.

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Photograph of Chin Wah Affixed to Bertillon Measurement Card

The Bertillon measurement card of Chin Wah indicates that he was examined on February 17, 1915. Affixed to this measurement card is Wah’s prison photograph, known commonly as a “mug shot.” His inmate case file indicates that he was convicted in Brooklyn, New York for manufacturing and smoking opium.

A system of physical identification pre-dating the use of fingerprints, Bertillon Measurements used anthropometrics, such as the length and width of the head and the degree of forehead slope to create an individual’s unique profile.