Although mug shots were helpful in aiding police with criminal identification, alone they could not definitely prove someone’s identity. At the end of the 19th century, two important systems of identification emerged which law enforcers hoped would be capable of proving identity beyond a shadow of a doubt: fingerprinting and the Bertillon method. These techniques not only had a profound effect on the future of criminal identification, but also influenced the history of mug shots.

Of course these were not the only methods of criminal identification that were explored during the nineteenth century. Click on the links below to explore some of the techniques beyond mug shots that were experimented with: 

Rogue's Gallery

Chelsea Nichols, March 2010. Unless otherwise stated, all images and information found on this website are property of the New Zealand Police Museum.