This collection comprises mug shots of Colorado inmates from 1871-1970s. Many of the earlier images are labeled on the reverse with information including the photographed party's name, crime, sentence, and various details of physical appearance (eye color, hair color, height, weight, etc.).
The collection illustrates a history of a largely-disenfranchised and underrepresented Colorado population. Individuals photographed for mug shots may well not have been photographed elsewhere, especially in the earlier years of the state. These photos also provide macro-view of changes in how Coloradans looked, dressed, and presented themselves over the decades.
This collection is significant to Colorado history because it sheds light on a population that generally left a sparse documentary record. At the same time, the romanticized version of "Old West" history is peopled with horse-thieves, gunslingers, card-sharps, and madams, all of whom are visible, as real historic personages, in this collection. The collection thus brings a level of reality to Colorado's romanticized history.
Colorado State Archives
1313 Sherman St
Denver, CO 80203