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. You can click on any of the photos to read more about the people and their crimes.

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.

Crime and Punishment in the 19th - 20th Centuries

An anarchist

Emma Goldman

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

Charles Buffano

Charles Buffano

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

Edward McCarthy

Edward McCarthy 1896

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


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

Mrs. Clark Schilder

Isma Martin

Isma Martin

Poor lady was really beaten!

Washington DC conspiracy

Nathan Silverman

Click on the photo to read about this 1938 scandal.

Georgia prisoners

Georgia Chain Gang

Working on a roadbed.


William Glyndon, cleared of murder after 31 years

William Glyndon & F.A. Heald, Iowa 1909

In 1915 Sing Sing, prisoners learned knitting

Sing Sing Prison
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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