Present from the Past: Kingston Pen Mug Shots


Old picture of an inmate

Library and Archives Canada has made available online four volumes of records from Kingston Penitentiary. Their official title is Kingston Penitentiary Inmate History Ledgers, but to most of us they are "books of mug shots."  They are a fascinating record of bad guys from about 1912 - 1919. Along with the photos, there are physical descriptions of the inmates--including their scars and tattoos--and in some cases, a newspaper clipping about the crime has been pasted next to the mug shot. The inmates’ names are searchable on the LAC website.  If you're in the mood to browse, try our handy-dandy shortcuts that allow you to explore an alphabetical list of inmates or to browse each book page-by-page. Among the names you will find Norman "Red" Ryan, who was known as "the Jesse James of Canada," Joseph Cleroux, who appeared in Merilyn Simonds' book The Convict Lover, and Thomas Longeway who stole--among other things--a quantity of Christmas cake.


Image:Kingston Penitentiary inmate history description ledger, detail, [online] Library and Archives Canada, entry for Kost. Rovanfsky, Lyons Gray, Thomas Longeway, Edward Allan, series R942-101-5-E, MIKAN number 4348731.

1 Comment

Thanks for this link. The photos are fascinating, and the details of occupations and crimes. Sad to see one fellow received a 7 year sentence for "buggery" which may have been just plain old being gay (George L. Wright, page 028).