Louis Adolphe Bertillon - Encyclopedia


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LOUIS ADOLPHE BERTILLON (1821-1883), French statistician, was born in Paris on the 1st of April 1821. Entering the medical profession, he practised as a doctor for a number of years. After the revolution of 1870, he was appointed inspector-general of benevolent institutions. He was one of the founders of the school of anthropology of Paris, and was appointed a professor there in 1876. His Demographic figuree de la France (1874) is an able statistical study of the population of France. He died at Neuilly on the 28th of February 1883.

His son Alphonse Bertillon, the anthropometrist, was born in Paris in 1853. He published in 1883 a work Ethnographic inoderne des races sauvages, but his chief claim to distinction lies in the system invented by him for the identification of criminals, which is described byhim in his Photographie judiciaire, Paris, 1890 (see Anthropometry). He was officially appointed in 1894 to report on the handwriting of the bordereau in the Dreyfus case, and was a witness for the prosecution before the cour de cassation on the 18th of January 1899.

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