Prison Fingerprint Display from Panama Pacific Exposition | 1915
Here we a rare fingerprint display from the Panama Pacific Exposition that took place in San Francisco circa 1915. This was the advent of systematic fingerprinting as we know it. This piece is wild and rare. I'm going to cut right into it.
Here is an explanation of the fingerprint exhibit from the article: "State of New York at the Panama-Pacific international exposition, San Francisco, California, February twentieth to December fourth, 1915."
"One of the features of this exhibit that attracted attention from thousands of visitors was the daily demonstration of the Bertillon and fingerprint methods of identification. Finger impressions were taken here and filed according to the classifications peculiar to these systems. A clear explanation was given by the demonstrator in charge, one copy being given to the subject without any marking to indicate by whom made except the imprints. Instructions were given the visitors to mail the form back to the booth from any part of the world in a plain envelope without address, name or other marking. Upon receipt of same and classification the original form would be located and both forwarded to the interested subject, thus proving to him the efficiency of the system as used in the prisons.
Approximately 10,000 sets of finger impressions were taken during the Exposition period. Impressions were taken of prominent officials and business and professional men of the country."
So Mr. Schriber had his fingerprints taken in San Francisco and sent in a set of the fingerprints (sans his identity) when he got home. Several weeks later, Mr. Schriber reached into the mailbox to find the envelope from the New York Prison System. Lo and behold, he's sees the very contents you see framed. He walks back in his house, sits in his favorite chair, and smiles as he gazes at the materials.
"The system works," he thought.
Suddenly, the front door explodes into bits from a battering ram and a swarm of agents run into the house screaming at Mr. Schriber. They grab him and drag him out of the house while he screams bloody murder. And he spends the rest of his days locked up in an unknown prison for an unknown crime........
Ok, I'm joking. But he did receive the materials. Lucky for us, Mr. Schriber (a prominent lawyer in St. Paul, MN) preserved and framed everything described in the process above, including the envelope. I've looked everywhere and I can't another example from the fingerprint exposition.
The rare prison display measures just under 24" tall, and just over 12" wide. There is patina everywhere, including great wear on the black frame, staining on the matting, and discoloration of the paper from age. The backing holds fine but could be replaced. Please see all pics as they are part of the description.
I ship FedEx to street addresses in the continental USA only (no PO Boxes). Free shipping on the rare criminal justice collectible.
Stick'em up! Good luck finding another one of these rarities. So cool, and such a unicorn.