Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service mugshot books
Held at: Philadelphia History Museum [Contact Us]15 South 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Philadelphia History Museum. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Before 1830, there was no formal police system in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Instead, the city was patrolled by nightly watchmen who were managed by the constables of each ward. In December of 1830, an ordinance was passed establishing a patrol that would be on duty during the daytime as well as the nighttime.
"...in 1841, a full-scale Police Department was created under the direction of the Mayor. The Marshal Bill (Act of May 3, 1850) established a Philadelphia Police District, which embraced the City and the adjoining Districts of Spring Garden, Kensington, the Northern Liberties, Richmond, Penn, Southwark and Moyamensing. A forerunner of the City-County consolidation of 1854, this new organization solved problems that had arisen through the demarcation of police powers at City and District boundaries. With the Consolidation, a County-wide Department of Police was established...After 1857, the Department of Police was headed by a Chief appointed by the Mayor; in 1859 a Detective Division was formed within the Department and in the following year a River and Harbor Police [unit] was added to it. In 1864, the office of Fire Marshal was created within the Department, where it remained until 1937. In pursuance of the Bullitt Bill, the Department was transferred in 1887 to the then-established Department of Public Safety as the Bureau of Police. With the adoption of the City Charter of 1951 and the abolishment of the Department of Public Safety, the present Police Department was organized." (City of Philadelphia Department of Records)
Quoted text from: City of Philadelphia Department of Records. "Police Department." 2000. Accessed October 10, 2014. http://www.phila.gov/phils/docs/inventor/graphics/agencies/A079.htm.
This collection consists of 12 mugshot books, also called rogues' galleries, containing black and white identification photographs of criminals and suspected criminals in Philadelphia. In addition to the person's name, the photographs often have notations about the person's age, height, weight, hair and eye color, and some note known aliases and crimes committed. At least one volume has an alphabetical listing of the criminals. A maquette for the statue "The Policeman's Friend" is also part of this collection.
A rough inventory of the collection is provided below. Additional information is available on-site: "The Policeman's Friend" - 00.28.1- Maquette for the statue, a policeman and female child approx. 3 ' tall. Brass colored painted fiberglass. Model for statue in front of Police Headquarters in Philadelphia "Mug shot, Philadelphia Police" - 00.28.2 - Log book (mug book) with arrest record and photographs of criminals and notations of their aliases and crimes. Number 8 on front. "RG9", Alphabetical listing of criminals in front, 3075-3906, no dates. "Detective Service/ Automobile Thieves/ Bureau of Police" - 00.28.3 - Philadelphia Police. Mug shots, no dates, mixed numbers between 8647-39166, at some point labeled "RG 2." [Album] "7" - 00.28.4 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service. Mug shots, no dates, numbers between 2428-3071, labeled "RG 5" at some point, album number on spine. "Album No. 11" - 00.28.5 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service. Mug shots, 1899-1902, no numbers, labeled "RG 7" at some point, title on cover. "Pickpockets/ Detective Bureau" - 00.28.6 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service. Mug shots, 1897-1911 mixed, no numbers, labeled "RG 10" at some point, title on cover. "Detective Service, Album 10" - 00.28.7 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police. Mug shots, 1900-1901, numbered 4747-5470, labeled "RG 12" at some point, title on cover. [Arrest record] - 00.28.8 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service. Mug shots, 1902-1904, numbered 6299-7120, labeled "RG 4" at some point, no title. [Arrest record] - 00.28.9 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service. Mug shots, April-December 1902, numbered 5806-6253, labeled "RG 11" at some point, no cover, no title. [Arrest record] - 00.28.10 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service. Mug shots, 1906-1907, numbered 7945-8768, labeled "RG 8" at some point, no title. "(Servant Thieves)/ Detective Bureau" - 00.28.11 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service, mug shots, 1908, numbered 9538-10287, labeled "RG 3" at some point, no title. "(Burglars)" - 00.28.12 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service, mug shots, 1907-1911, numbered 8769-9537, labeled "RG 6" at some point, no title. [Arrest record] - 00.28.13 - Philadelphia Bureau of Police, Detective Service, no dates, arrest numbers mixed between 82-1300's, labeled "RG 13" at some point, no title.
Another mugshot book from 1890 (accession 99.98.971) is also available on-site.
Gift of Judy A. Dempsey, 2000 (accession 00.28)
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Philadelphia History Museum directly for more information.
- Philadelphia History Museum
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
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