Eli Moses, OSR 3415, 3/11/1908, ink, photographs, cards, 5.75 x 6.25 inches
R.U. Hastings, Bertillon Officer (n.d.)
Collection of the Ohio History Connection
DescriptionMr. Moses, a railroad laborer imprisoned for the crime of horse stealing, has his “Descent” noted on the back of the card as “Ojibwa Indian.” The specificity of that description, especially in juxtaposition to the racially-charged “Color” descriptor, “Red,” would suggest that “Descent” was something asked of the prisoners and then transcribed, rather than something assumed by the Bertillon Officer. His complexion is described as “copper,” again suggesting that the field “Color” on these cards was a marker for race, not a visual description. Also note that the back of the card has been stamped, “DEAD,” which is a mark found sporadically throughout the records at the Ohio History Connection, suggesting that there had been some attempt to maintain the accuracy of the cards over time.
Researchers: Alison Langmead and Aisling Quigley