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New York City Police Department rogues gallery, July 1909.

A rogues gallery (or rogues' gallery) is a police collection of pictures or photographs of criminals and suspects kept for identification purposes. The term is also used figuratively by extension for any group of shady characters or the line-up of 'mugshot' photographs that might be displayed in the halls of a dormitory or workplace.

Contents

History

In 1850, Allan Pinkerton founded the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Pinkerton devised the Rogues’ Gallery[citation needed] — a compilation of descriptions, methods of operation, hiding places, and names of criminals and their associates.

Inspector Thomas Byrnes of the late-19th-century New York City Police Department popularized the term with his collection of photographs of known criminals, which was used for witness identification. Byrnes published some of these photos with details of the criminals in Professional Criminals of America (1886).[1]

In fiction

The word Rogues gallery is also been used in fiction most commonly in comics but has been used for television or movies as well. It is believed to have started with the group of villains the Rogues. A team up of colorful villains that opposed the Flash. It would be then used for other superheroes such as Batman and Spider-Man as well. Ever since then it is common to call an assortment of enemies that oppose an certain fictional hero a rogues gallery.

See also

References

  1. ^ Byrnes, Thomas. Professional Criminals of America (1886) ISBN 1-5857411-3-2
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