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The use of finger-marks for identification
Francis Galton "Personal Identification and Description" p.177-191 in The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, Volume XVIII, 1889, p.188.
A San Francisco photographer, Mr. Tabor, made enlarged photographs of the finger-marks of Chinese, and his proposal to employ them as a means of identifying Chinese immigrants, seems to have been seriously considered. I may say that I can obtain no verification of a common statement that the method is in actual use in the prisons in China. The thumb-mark has been used there as elsewhere to form a manual impression in attestation of deeds, such as a man might make with a common seal, not his own, and say, "This is my act and deed; " but I cannot hear of any elaborate system of finger-marks having ever been employed in China for the identification of prisoners. It was, however, largely used in India, by Sir William Herschel, many years ago, when he was an officer of the Bengal Civil Service. He found it to be most successful in preventing personation, and in putting an end to disputes about the authenticity of deeds. He described his method fully in "Nature," in 1880 (Vol. xxiii, p. 76), which should be referred to; also a paper by Mr. Faulds in the next volume. I may in addition allude to articles in the American journal "Science," 1886 (Vol. viii, pp. 166 and 212).
Also published in Nature, Volume XXXVIII, June 28, 1888, p.201