Crime and Punishment in the 19th - 20th Centuries

Created on Jul 12, 2017 by Kathy Pinna

Discover photos of U.S. citizens who committed crimes in the 1800's and early 1900's.

Most of the crimes for which they were arrested are very different from current offenses - selling liquor (for which you could be imprisoned for life), anarchy, fighting for women's rights, pickpocketing, train robbing - and at least one is still rampant today: murder.

There's even a photo of the first documented serial murderer in the United States. Click on any of the photos to read more about these notorious people and their crimes.

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Photos of our notorious ancestors moment please

Arrested for selling liquor for the 4th time

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Mary Bedell
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shared on 04/23/2012

She could have gotten life - but she was acquitted.

A suffragette in prison

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Another suffragette

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Sent to Occoquan prison for 60 days


Capote's "In Cold Blood" was based on these men

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An anarchist

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She was sent to jail for inducing men to not register for the draft in WW 1

Charles Buffano

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Teresa Alejo
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shared on 11/13/2009

He escaped from jail in 1935, was returned and released in 1941. His family is still looking for him!

Edward McCarthy

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A pickpocket, he was also known as Hair Lip Kelly.


Before DNA, law agencies used "death masks" for ID

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Isma Martin

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Poor lady was really beaten!

Washington DC conspiracy

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Click on the photo to read about this 1938 scandal.

Georgia prisoners

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Working on a roadbed.

William Glyndon, cleared of murder after 31 years

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Patty Anderson
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shared on 03/27/2013

In 1915 Sing Sing, prisoners learned knitting

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Note: Some of these mug shots may seem to be of the dead. They aren't - they had been beaten while or after being arrested. We've identified the two photos taken of actually dead outlaws. It was common practice in earlier times to take photos of dead outlaws.

Have photos that you'd like to see included? Share your photos or see photos of women who were arrested while trying to obtain voting rights on the next page.

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