Surprising Facts about Fingerprinting

Fingerprint records. Photographed on 24 November 1924, in the Fingerprint Division of the Bonus Bureau, Washington DC, USA.

I knew that fingerprinting was new in America in the 1920s, when my mysteries take place, so I was careful not to place too much reliance on such new technology, technology that was slow to catch on in many parts of the country. But I recently learned some surprising facts about fingerprint identification. Such as–

The first country to use fingerprint classification for law enforcement was–surprise!–Argentina in 1892.

The first fingerprint bureau was established in British India! In 1897 in Calcutta. England adopted the practice and established a fingerprint branch at Scotland Yard in 1901.

The U.S. Army was the first place in America to use fingerprints for identification, in 1905, but not for criminal identification.

In the U.S., the use of fingerprints first resulted in a criminal conviction in 1911.

My books, set in 1924 and 1925, coincide with the year Congress established the Identification Division of the FBI in 1924.

I was not surprised to learn that most of the actual identification work was done by women.



Published in: on August 30, 2017 at 1:28 pm  Comments (1)