Monday, June 10, 2013

A Sad One from 1914

A so-called 'Bertillon' mugshot---pre-fingerprint technology.  Bertillon  was a French detective who devised a system for taking cranial measurements etc to establish identity.

Don't have the card in front of me so I can't check the name of the woman here (usually with Bertillon cards it's on the back--along with crime one has been accused of).  Her occupation listed as 'waitress' but something in her look tells me it's a case of 'Maggie, A Girl of the Streets.'

Almost too much disparate information to process here.  The slightly collapsed look of mouth/chin: a reminder of how awful people's teeth still were, even at the beginning of the 20th c.

And, yes: an American mugshot--from either California or Oregon as I recall--but still one can't help gawping at the date: August 14, 1914.  World War One had just begun in Belgium and the north of France and was starting in on its third surprisingly bloody and horrible week.