Bureau of Identification, 1907
Rosaline Frances

The annual report says that in 1907 101 criminals were photographed and measured by the "Bertillon System" and duplicate copies of the identification cards were sent to the National Bureau of Criminal Identification at Washington D.C. and to the Bureau of Identification at Albany, N.Y.

The "Bertillon System" of criminal identification was invented by French criminologist Alphone Bertillon in the 1880s and involved photographing suspects from the front and right and gathering precise physical measurements and descriptions of unique characteristics such as scars, moles or tattoos.

The National Bureau of Criminal Identifcation was established by National Chiefs of Police Union in Chicago in 1896 in an attempt to create a national clearinghouse for identification of criminals. This Bureau later moved to Washington D.C. and became the forerunner of the FBI. Individual states also maintained their own clearinghouses and shared records among themselves. The Bureau of Identification in Albany was one of the largest in the country in 1907. The NOPD adopted the Bertillon system as early as 1896.

Rosaline Frances was arrested on November 18, 1907, for petty larceny. A news clipping in her Bureau of Identification file tells her story:

Theresa Smith, a cook in the employ of Mrs. Jarvey, of 1511 Nashville Avenue, will not be so anxious about having her friends remain about her room. Sunday night she was visited by Rosalie Francis [sic], another domestic, who lives on Liberty and Calhoun Streets, and as it was late and windy Theresa kindly invited her friend to remain with her and sleep in her room on the premises for the night. Rosalie was glad of this and snored loudly until the early morning, when she awoke and saw that Theresa was fast alseep and going to her host's trunk, she took a pocket-book which contained $26.10 and slipped out of the place.
Miss Smith reported the theft to the police, who arrested Miss Frances the next day. Perhaps Miss Smith later forgave her friend, however, and declined to press charges, because Miss Frances was discharged from custody on December 2.

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