Sam'l Geyer, OSR 1108, 8/27/1901, ink, photographs, cards, 5.875 x 6.5 inches
R.U. Hastings, Bertillon Officer (n.d.)
Collection of the Ohio History Connection
DescriptionConvicted of Grand Larceny in Putnam County, Ohio, Mr. Geyer first came to the Ohio State Reformatory at age 23, but was remeasured at age 24. The first measurements are to be found in black, while the second are color-coded in red—a very common occurrence at the OSR, where many prisoners were below Bertillon’s minimum age of 20. As this is not the case here, it is unclear why Mr. Geyer, a railroad switchman, was subjected to measurement twice. One notes that his weight had not been registered at his first measurement, perhaps occasioning this second round. It is remarked that he is slightly lame in his left hip joint.
The duplicate card of Mr. Geyer has many of the abbreviations of the Bertillon system spelled out, suggesting that it is a copy made for someone not entirely familiar with the process. For example, whereas the first card states “Cic rect 1.7 Vert base of P left ant.” for the first scar noted on the back of the card, this card has it spelled out more thoroughly, “Cic rect of 1.7 Vert at base of Pollex left ant.” “Cic” is the abbreviation for scar, from “cicatrice” in French, “rect of 1.7 Vert” suggests a vertically-oriented, rectilinear scar that is 1.7 centimeters long at the base of his left thumb (“Pollex”). Especially in profile, it is striking how different a face can look in two independently-taken photographs, as is the case here.