skip navigation

Justinfo Subscribe to Stay Informed

Add your conference to our Justice Events calendar


NCJRS Abstract


Subscribe to Stay Informed
Want to be in the know? JUSTINFO is a biweekly e-newsletter containing information about new publications, events, training, funding opportunities, and Web-based resources available from the NCJRS Federal sponsors. Sign up to get JUSTINFO in your inbox.

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Library collection.
To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the NCJRS Abstracts Database.

How to Obtain Documents
NCJ Number: NCJ 145593     Find in a Library
Author(s): C L Chapman
  Journal: Journal of Forensic Identification  Volume:43  Issue:6  Dated:(November/December 1993)  Pages:585-602
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 18
  Annotation: This is a biography of Alphonse M. Bertillon.
Abstract: Alphonse M. Bertillon is credited with devising a scientific approach for the identification of criminals known as the Bertillon System of Identification (Signaletic Instructions). He is sometimes credited with significant involvement in establishing the science of fingerprints, but, in fact, he opposed their use right up to his death in 1914. Yet, his efforts to create a means for reliable personal identification did, indirectly, foster the development of fingerprint identification. The Bertillon System of Identification is divided into three parts: (1) the Anthropometrical, which involves measuring, with precision and under prescribed conditions, some of the most characteristic dimensions of the bony structures of the body; (2) the Descriptive or Morphological, an observation of the body shape and movements along with noticeable characteristics of mental and moral qualities; and (3) the Signalment by Peculiar Marks, or Pathological Signalment, the observation of the peculiarities occurring on the surface of the body resulting from disease, accident, deformity, or artificial disfigurement. Descriptions and illustrations of measurement procedures are included in the article. Although Bertillon endeavored to maintain support for his methods, other discoveries, including fingerprinting, eventually removed the need for an anthropometric measurement system to establish personal identification. Bertillon had dramatically altered and improved police practices with his system of identification, but resisted an even better revolution. Bertillon did not avoid fingerprints, but seems never to have accepted the theory of fingerprints being permanent and individually unique. Five-item bibliography
Main Term(s): Police
Index Term(s): Criminology
Type: Biography
Country: United States of America
Language: English
  To cite this abstract, use the following link:

* A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's web site is provided.