Theory of criminal types, 19th century

Theory of criminal types, 19th century

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Theory of criminal types. 19th-century illustration of 56 German female criminals responsible for a range of different crimes. These women were part of a larger group (83 in total: 59 Germans, 16 Americans and 8 Italians) whose cases were studied by doctors (some of the criminals were insane) and criminologists. This illustration is from 'L'Homme Criminel', a French edition of 'L'Uomo Delinquente' (1876) by Italian criminologist and physician Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909). Considered the father of criminology, his work was based on phrenology, anthropology, and evolutionary theory (atavism). His now-discredited theory (also rejected by many at the time) was that criminality was inherited and that criminals could be identified by physical traits.

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