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Tag: Mugged! Facing Life at Leavenworth

You can grow a mustache, but you can never leave

Did you catch Mugged! Facing Life at Leavenworth at the  National Archives at Kansas City this summer?

The exhibit may be closed now, but you can learn more about the prison, its inmates, and its records in this new article from Prologue. And it’s not too late to see some more mug shots from the exhibits. Check out the album on the National Archives Facebook page.

Located twenty-five miles north of Kansas City, the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth opened its doors in 1895 as the nation’s first Federal penitentiary. Since it was a Federal prison, the National Archives at Kansas City has many of its records.

The prison is still in use today. While mustaches may not be in fashion for modern inmates, a hundred years ago there plenty of hats, facial hair, and startled expressions. Among the many featured mug shots of prisoners are many fine examples of facial hair: the three below feature mustaches.

Charles E. Billingsley, #7183. Billingsley was sentenced to seven years and five months for violating the National Banking Law in 1908. Mrs. Billingsley made every attempt to obtain a pardon for her husband by asking men of status to write to the warden of Leavenworth testifying to his character. Mr. John Thomas of the Code Commission of Oklahoma wrote, “I am not personally acquainted with Mrs. Charles Billingsley, but her letter is a cry from the heart of the disconsolate wife-the sorrow oppressed mother-who, in her loneliness seeks to ameliorate the condition of her life’s mate, now suffering the penalties denounced by law against those who violate its provisions.” Billingsley served until 1913. RG 129, National Archives at Kansas City.

Charles E. Billingsley, #7183. Billingsley was sentenced to seven years and five months for violating the National Banking Law in 1908. Mrs. Billingsley made every attempt to obtain a pardon for her husband by asking men of status to write to the warden of Leavenworth testifying to his character. Mr. John Thomas of the Code Commission of Oklahoma wrote, “I am not personally acquainted with Mrs.

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