Edwardian Women Police Mugshots from the 1900s Reflecting Social Struggles

As we leaf through the delicate pages of history, we often encounter stories lost in the shadows of grand events. One such understated narrative is that of Edwardian women who found themselves on the other side of the law in the 1900s. Their tales, however, have been immortalized through a series of compelling police mugshots, capturing a segment of society often overlooked in historical discussions.

The Dawn of Modern Criminal Documentation

The turn of the 20th century was a period of significant transformation within the criminal justice system. One of the era’s innovations was the systematic use of mugshots as part of police records. The Bertillon system, which involved a standardized process of photographing criminals, had gained widespread popularity. This method was not merely about capturing an individual’s appearance; it was believed to be a tool for studying criminal behavior through physical characteristics.

In this era, women’s mugshots were a rarity, reflecting the societal expectations of the time. Women were associated with domestic roles, and female criminality was often downplayed or sensationalized by contemporary standards.

Stories Captured in Sepia Tones

The mugshots present a gallery of women from various walks of life, each with a unique story often encapsulated in just a single frame. Their crimes ranged from theft, fraud, and embezzlement to more violent charges. However, beyond their criminal acts, these mugshots of Edwardian women tell deeper stories.

Many of these women turned to crime out of desperation, driven by poverty, abuse, or discrimination. Some were repeat offenders, suggesting a lack of social support systems necessary to guide them back to integration with society. Others appear as one-time offenders, their expressions varying from apparent defiance to evident shame or fear, highlighting the personal turmoil and societal pressures of their situations.

#1 Alice Caush arrested for larceny, 31st October 1903.

#2 Annie Anderson arrested for alleged theft of a watch, 25th August 1903.

#3 Catherine Buck arrested for stealing sheets, 3 February 1905.

#4 Catherine Mackenzie arrested for larceny, 15th February 1904.

#6 Charlotte Branney arrested for larceny, 5th January 1904.

#7 Isabella Scott arrested for larceny, 27 September 1904.

#8 Jane Forbes arrested for larceny, 26th January 1905.

#9 Jane Thompson alias Gordon arrested for stealing a pair of boots, 13th July 1904.

#10 Kate Stobbs arrested for stealing from her landlady, 11th June 1903.

#11 Mabel Smith arrested for larceny, 28th September 1903.

#12 Mary A. Butts arrested for larceny, 20th December 1904.

#13 Mary Johnson arrested for larceny, 8 August 1904.

#14 Mary Scott alias Wilson arrested for stealing clothes, 14th December 1903.

#15 Nora Jane McCartney alias Marcella Turnbull alias Bulman arrested for larceny, 4 April 1905.

#16 Sarah Patterson arrested for trying to steal money from a gas meter, 14th March 1904.

#17 Susannah Adamson arrested for stealing a man’s purse, 15th February 1904.

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Written by Heather Brown

Heather Brown is a writer and historian with a passion for all things vintage. She shares her knowledge of the past through her blog, with a particular focus on historical photos and the stories they tell.

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