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Doing Hard Time: Historic Nebraska Mug Shots

A Mug Shot

Photography revolutionized crime investigations. Beginning in the mid 1800s, police photographed the faces of known criminals. Called "mug shots" (after the British slang word "mug" meaning "face") these images replaced drawings and descriptions on wanted posters. Scientists even studied mug shots to see if physical traits could predict criminal behavior.

The Nebraska State Penitentiary used photography beginning in 1867 to record the likeness of the state's most infamous residents. The Omaha police photographed suspects when arrested. Whether the people depicted were guilty or innocent, behind every photograph is a human story. This glimpse back at some of the thousands of photographs in the Nebraska State Penitentiary and Omaha Police Court Collections at the Nebraska State Historical Society and their accompanying tales offer insights into how earlier Nebraskans ran afoul of the law, and how some attitudes about crime and punishment may have changed.

Mrs. H. C. Adams


Minnie Bradley

Larceny from a person

Mattie Brown

Larceny from a person, 1 year

Frank Carter,
"Omaha Sniper,"
Murder, 1st. degree, death

Herbert Cockran


James Collins

Burglary, 5 years

Nora Courier

Horse stealing

Frank Dinsmore

Murder, life

Ruby Fox

Escaping from custody
1 year

Myrtle Hetrick

Escaping from custody
1 year

Amos Holloman

#11191, 12838, 15252

Charles Hutchinson

Murder, 2nd degree, 12 years

Nannie Hutchinson

Murder, 2nd degree, 10 years

 Alberto Interciago

Assault to wound
1-20 years

Albert Johnson

Grand larceny,
1 year and 6 months

William Lee

6 mo. to 2 years

George Leonard


Jennie Lester

Enticing to illicit intercourse, 1-3 years

Bertha Liebbeke

Grand larceny, 3 years

Jim Ling

Keeping an opium joint

Lola Lopez

Manslaughter, 4 years

Alv Lytle

Bank robbery, 12-15 years

Bert Martin

Horse theft

Charles Martin

Safe blowing and burglary

James Pappas

Arson, 5 years

George Ray

Manslaughter, 10 years

John Reid

Manslaughter, 7 years

F. P. Johnson


Mary Shannon

Mayhem, 2 years

Stephen Shock

Grand Larceny, 2 years

Jake Vohland

Chicken theft, 1 year

James White Water


Thomas Whitney

Obtaining money under false pretenses

Goldie Williams





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Last updated 28 August 2012

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