11.04.2013

Mugshot ladies

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I love looking at the grittier side of the past, and not just the less that starlet quality fashions, but history and especially criminal history. Going even deeper into that branch of interest is women in crime, because it's just not something you hear about too much. 

These Australian women were arrested between 1915-1930 when these photos were taken. Their crimes ranged from theft, prostitution, murder, swindling, and public drunkenness.

The quality of these shots is incredible, many of the women have expressionless faces, but a few have a hint of a smirk or glare. Considering the poverty background of these individuals I wouldn't be surprised if a mugshot was the only photo some of them would ever pose for. 

Of course the clothing also catches my eye, not just in an appealing way, but because they're so riddled with imperfections. They're not the beaded silk dresses and elaborate deco coats we're used to seeing, they're dresses are wrinkled, their collars wilted, and their furs worn. 

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36 comments:

Connie said...

Oh Solanah. These are so beautiful. I love that Ms. D. Mort was arrested in 1921 looking like a school marm and again in 1829 with a much looser look. I wonder what Her crime was. Let's hear it for Bad Girls!

Whitney said...

Wow, these are incredible. Where did you find them?

Jennifer M. said...

Wow, those are really cool photos. You really get a sense of the desperation on some of their faces and stubborn smugness on others. I am going to have to look into them further. You have piqued my curiosity. By the way I love your new design!

Rouge Velours said...

J'adore ces photos anciennes qui sont en effet remarquables.
Ces femmes n'étaient pas douces mais il est toujours intéressant de conserver ces clichés.

Bece Mariah Kidder said...

I love the every day examples of the fashion and not the picture perfect version that is normally seen. Thanks!

Caroline Åsgård said...

I love the woman who is posing!

Joanna said...

Amazing how detailed the photography is. You really get a good glimpse into the everyday vintage lady.

Jessica Cangiano said...

I am often struck, more commonly when I see vintage mugshots of ladies than of chaps, how even when their faces are solemn or, conversely, expressing a strong emotions, it is their eyes that seem to speak the so very loudly. The may be sad or relieved, worried, filled with tears, pensive, uncertain, smug, or countless other things, but nearly always, there is something deep, gripping and obvious to the keen observer written in their eyes which had no doubt just seen a rather unpleasant day.

♥ Jessica

Betty2Tone (Laura) said...

I never feel 100% put together, so now I'm just going to straight up go for the "vintage criminal" look ;)

Jade Sheldon said...

I'm always so fascinated by mugshots like these...

Sara Strauss {Sincerely, Sara} said...

These are great! You're right -- it's so interesting seeing the imperfections! All we see of this time period is the glitzy clothing from movies, but these women definitely aren't glitzy, they're real.
~Sara
Sincerely, Sara

Sarah said...

What a neat post, where on earth did you find these? I am surprised at how many knee-length hemlines there were in these pictures, I always thought of the knee-length as more of a 50s look. Cool post though :-)

Sara said...

These are fantastic!

eloisemaree said...

Are these photographs from Crooks Like Us by Peter Doyle by any chance? Now there's a wonderful book full of 1920s mug shots :) x

mags said...

Really interesting, and a reminder not just to look at the past through rose tinted spectacles.. Loving the cat header!

Kate-Em said...

These are such interesting photographs, there is so much to study in each one. Some of them look like they have had very hard lives. I found the clothes and hairstyles absolutely fascinating.

Kačenka said...

Wow! These are so interesting!

Erika said...

A fascinating piece of history! I know a swedish author has recently written a book about the "women of crime" ( their lives, before and after the arrest/jail).

Love that all the ladies are photographed with their hats on in the full length picture - for of course when measuring a womans height one must include her hat! =) J.Wright with her grandmotherly appearance really sparkled my curiousity. I wonder what she did...

Emma McFarland said...

The second photo is Nellie Cameron, she was featured in an Australian series called Underbelly:Razor about Sydney gangs, drugs and prostitution in the 20s. It's well worth a watch. I loved it.

Youn Chung said...

These are so fascinating!! And beautiful... though I feel sort of conflicted about saying that because I'm sure most of them weren't taken under the happiest of circumstance. Either way, thanks so much for sharing!!

Lisette said...

Such amazing photos. I love the one of "P. Neill". She looks pretty embarassed - like she's normally the good girl, decided to do one wild thing at a party and of course got caught her first time.

ceska said...

Great post Photos speak some aspects of the 'History' that not often spoken about in the mainstream.

LandGirl1980 said...

What an AMAZING post!!! Love all of these and now I feel a need to know who did what and what became of them!

Jessica Verhoeven said...

Hey, that's funny, I just blogged about some classic men's mugshots!
Very nice to look at as well.

Interesting post!
x

luckylucille said...

OMG these are so awesome.

Magpie said...

This is really interesting! It's hard not to start imagining what their lives were like...

Ahuva Brown said...

absolutely love these photos. i like how they still look so put together even though they've just been arrested.

rudegurl32 said...

Such interesting photos!
thanks for sharing :)

Susan said...

Great shots, finally some ordinary ladies with wrinkled dresses and wilted collars :-)

Mischa Erickson said...

What an incredible collection. I'm loving their expressions and outfits, and especially their with/without hat shots. So neat to see what these clothes looked like on real ladies, young and old. I recently saw an exhibit of paintings of vintage women mugshots. It is strange how those somehow stick with you longer than those of men.

Paige said...

what a cool post! You're right, you never really think about women in crime.

-Paige, kaydove.com

Mei-li said...

hello Solanah ( i don't really know your first name but that's what I got from following you on instagram )

this post is really interesting ! especially the clothes as you said. Is there the same women twice ? the one with the long nose ? she has her fringe down on the second picture.

I'm giving you a link to my little blog because I put some pictures of the new episode of Agatha christies 's Poirot; The character of Ariadne Oliver has such greats outfit in them !!!
http://yellowgreenwatering.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/agatha-christies-poirot-dead-mans-folly.html

have a lovely week !!!!!

Rhia said...

Quite fascinating photos! And these women are still very fashionable for their time, some of them are even trying a bit of a pose. Would love to know why they were arrested.

Greetings
Rhia from
http://www.evildressmaker.com/

wardrobeexperience said...

this is a collection of amazing pictures ... wow ... i have to look through them again ... these ladies and her clothes are like creature from a different world.

Simona said...

Love it! And the quality of them are remarkable!

XO,

Simona

mary van note said...

These are so awesome!