John G. Hudson, OP 19215, December 1887, ink, photographs, cards, 5.75 x 6.625 inches
W.B. Cherrington, Bertillon Officer (n.d.)
Collection of the Ohio History Connection
DescriptionThere are two cards that represent Mr. John G. Hudson; both seem to have been produced by the Ohio Penitentiary for two separate reasons. They both display the Bertillon measurements and descriptive characteristics on the front, but the card produced in 1888 has filing holes at its base and contains additional, non-Bertillon-specific information on the back, such as last residence. This sort of information is more in keeping with the traditional American manner of registering prisoners that focused on the place of residence and the names and addresses of family members to establish identity. The presence of the filing holes and the absence of the penitentiary’s name, suggest that this card may have been made for one of the centralized identification bureaus instituted around the turn of the twentieth century, in places such as New York and Illinois, to identify criminals across state lines.
The older card, produced in 1887, does not contain information on Mr. Hudson’s crime, sentence, or occupation, and is marked “No Slip,” which suggests that the paperwork that habitually arrived with the prisoner was missing. Given the similarity of the placement of the folds on Mr. Hudson’s clothing, it would appear that the photographs on these two cards are prints from the same negative. No profile image appears, which is not necessarily surprising given the early dates on these cards, a time when the Bertillon system was just being implemented in Ohio.
Researchers: Alison Langmead and Aisling Quigley