Mug shot.
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Mug shot.

This 1903 police department arrest record reflects the faith in data and science espoused by some Progressives. The reputedly scientific measurements instituted by French anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon claimed to detect innate criminality and other character flaws, many associated with particular ethnic and racial groups, through physical evidence. Although it bore the stamp of scientific approval, this and other contemporary techniques for differentiating people based on race or physical characteristics incorporated widely held beliefs that Southern Europeans, Asians, and African Americans were inherently and biological different from and inferior to white Anglo Saxons. These beliefs, in turn, lent credence to the rise of Jim Crow and immigrant exclusion.

Source: American Social History Project.