Vintage Mugshots from the 1920s

Believe it or not, these fascinating, really kind of artistic photographs are actually mugshots (back when they took a picture of more than your mug) from the 1920s. Even criminals were dapper back then.

The photos come from the Sydney Justice and Police Museum, and some include descriptions of the crooks’ crimes, such as “hotel barber, meaning one who books into a hotel, boarding house or residential and robs (or ‘snips’) fellow patrons, usually in the dead of night.”

For more pics of criminals and a description of their crimes, check out Twisted Sifter

Found via A Headlong Dive via Leo M.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

AlexJBaldwin January 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Seriously stylish petty larcens

Tim January 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Mugshots? I thought they were fashion poses! Look at the folded arms, hands in pockets, crossed legs. Wonderful.

aanic January 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm

These criminals are better dressed than most guys are now. Just shows how far style has fallen.

Ernie January 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Just wondering why the one guy got his photo taken in the toilet?

Cummo January 28, 2012 at 7:45 am

@Ernie – The handwritten inscription on this unnumbered Special Photograph reads ‘Frederick Edward Davies stealing in picture shows and theatres Dets Surridge Clark and Breen Central 14-7-21′. Police held sneak thieves in particularly low regard, which may account for the decision to photograph Davies in front of the police station’s toilet stalls.

Bill M January 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

These are some tough looking Hombres…. Maybe you can do a modern day tough guy look contest. .. It is good to see men with swagger… i am tired of the metrosexual.

Kmack January 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm

When you see a mug now a days it looks like something off faces of meth, what a difference

Ray Cheshire January 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

Am I right in assuming these are American photographs of American criminals? I only ask as I noticed the dating system is like our British system dd/mm/yy unlike the current US one which is mm/dd/yy. When did it change? Or do the US Police use a different dating system?
Just curious.

Ray Cheshire January 30, 2012 at 11:30 am

Whoops! Just noticed it was Sydney as in Australia. That explains it.

Matt V January 31, 2012 at 7:23 am

I was just comparing these guys to my wardrobe. Indeed, they are sharply dressed. I don’t think you could actually dress like this today without some amount of ridicule, which is really sad. Now to think about how I can dress better. Doesn’t help that I work from home and can be sloppy at most times.

AJ February 2, 2012 at 9:56 pm

seeing these shots makes me wanna be a crook, but no one dresses that stylish now days so… no crook for me.

Loki February 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

One reason they are so well dressed is that getting your picture taken was still a very rare thing back in those days so even if it was a mug shot for police records etc. it could very well be one of only a few times (if not the ONLY time) you would be photographed so you were going to look your best.

StardogChampion May 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm

The man in the 2nd picture down looks a lot like the actor Robert Patrick, from the later X-Files seasons and the movie ‘The Faculty.’

Mike May 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Love these photos, I took them and animated them and wrote some music for the sequence. Check it out:

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