When I checked in on Jezebel yesterday a post on female criminals from the 1870s, and their subsequent mugshots, immediately caught my eye. The vintage photos shown were from the Newcastle City Gaol and House of Correction in England and were taken between 1871 and 1873. These women weren't serial killers or arsonists, they were mostly petty criminals caught for shoplifting. The article was of extra interest to me because a couple of years ago I bought three such vintage mugshots at Brimfield(the world's largest open air flea market). The mugshots I found (shown below) were of women arrested in Chicago, IL at the turn of the 20th century (a pretty rough time for a poor woman in Chicago I'd imagine). The criminal cards I bought have a front and profile view of the woman and on the back their stats/crime are hand-penned, quite detailed in one case . . . I absolutely love them. What were these womens' lives like? Did they get arrested again or did they end up getting a job in the labor force? Did they ever get married and have children or did they die of cholera? I'm always on the hunt for more vintage mugshots of female criminals to add to my small collection.
On a related side-note: I read Erik Larson's TheDevil in the White Citya few years ago and was completely fascinated with his historically accurate descriptions of Chicago in the 1890s during the difficult construction of the Chicago World's Fair. . . The book also has a completely true, creepy-yet-fascinating sub-plot about serial killer Dr. H. H. Holmes. Holmes used the fair to lure his victims to their deaths. He built his "World's Fair Hotel" with money he made from scams and constructed a gas chamber in the basement as well as a dissection table and crematorium to dispose of his victims' bodies. I totally and completely recommend this book, just don't read the Holmes chapters right before bed!
** I thought I'd also include my own mugshot for this post. . . . I created it a few years ago using Photoshop and Anna Nicole's 1989 mugshot for the background.