Historic Nebraska Mug Shots
Nebraska State Penitentiary
People rarely smiled in 19th century photographs. Long exposure times are often blamed for the lack of happy faces. By the end of the 19th century, advances in photographic technology reduced exposures to seconds, but having a photograph taken by a professional remained a serious and sometimes sober occasion. Smiling faces in Victorian-era photographs are rare; George H. Ray grinning in a prison mug shot is truly unusual. Ray served 10 years for manslaughter in the late 1890s.