City of Chicago Police Bureau criminal photographic card, 1907. The system used on this card is based upon the system devised by Bertillon. Phillip A Siemmans/Simmons(?), no. 63456.
Alphonse Bertillon was a police officer who devised an anthropometric technique to law enforcement. Bertillon determined that by taking detailed measurements of offenders, along with a front-facing and profile photograph, police authorities could create a record of unique identifiers that could be used to track and prosecute suspects and repeat offenders. Bertillon’s method was adopted in Paris in 1882 and was soon adopted throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
These record cards are based on the Bertillon method and feature sections for physical descriptors, measurements, and facial peculiarities that may help with identification of offenders, along with the photographs or “mug shots”.