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Menswear & Mugshots from the 1920s

January 25, 2012

Blown away by the haunting beauty and the alluring attire of these vintage mugshots from the 1920’s. It’s wild to think about opium dealers and burglars wearing peak lapels and knit ties but the photos don’t lie. Rap sheets confessing delinquencies out of a McCarthy novel like, “consorts with prostitutes’ and frequents hotels and wine bars in the vicinity of the Haymarket,” add to the imagery.

Not only are the images from the The Sydney Justice & Police Museum eerie and beguiling but some of the felonious charges are truly from another time, as one culprit is charged with being a, “hotel barber, meaning one who books into a hotel, boarding house or residential and robs (or ‘snips’) fellow patrons, usually in the dead of night.”

You can explore more of these with criminal details at Sifter.


15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 9:15 am

    They sure don’t make criminals like they used to! But criminals or not, it’s impressive to see such pride taken in one’s appearance.
    Well done, JS- Cheers.

    • January 25, 2012 9:53 am

      Much appreciated.

    • scott landon permalink
      February 3, 2012 5:54 pm

      They might have been bad asses but all there pants are a little to high. A bit pain full, may be that’s where the badness came from.

  2. January 25, 2012 9:15 am

    This is truly a unique (and awesome) post.

  3. January 25, 2012 9:27 am

    Followed through on the link – truly enjoyed the reading!!

  4. Rob permalink
    January 25, 2012 11:30 pm

    Certainly different to the modern ideal body – with their narrow chests and broad backside appearance.
    Obviously fashion among the crimial classes in Australia was not a high priority, except maybe for the con-artists or others who needed to look important and at the top of their game.
    Interesting to contrast with the sartorial elegance of organised crime in the USA at a similar time – how about some pics of Dillinger and Capone and their groups?

  5. January 26, 2012 7:20 pm

    Awesome post!!! How’d you like to run into Walter Smith in a dark alley?!

  6. Asher permalink
    January 27, 2012 5:40 pm

    Apparently, the Micks couldn’t stay out of the clink.

  7. February 1, 2012 10:03 am

    Such great photographs! Awesome post.

  8. February 27, 2012 3:20 pm

    Does #13 in the link below look familiar? Your number 2 picture is a woman! Came across this today and was tickled.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Mike permalink
    May 26, 2012 2:30 pm

    Love these photos, I took them and animated them and wrote some music for the sequence. Check it out:


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