1948. Self-published, [ca. 1950–1953]. Octavo (31 × 22 cm). Blue buckram boards containing 240 leaves of typescript to rectos only, with tipped-in original photographs throughout and frequent corrections and edits to typescript in pencil and dense notes in pencil to versos of select leaves. Six large photographs of fingerprint specimens with manuscript captions laid in.
A typed manuscript of an unpublished Soviet criminology textbook, by an unnamed author likely connected with the Criminology Institute of the Ministry of State Security of the USSR (a precursor to the KGB). Written in the late 1940s or early 1950s, the text offers detailed instructions for classification of the identifying features of human appearance, appended with dozens of headshots of unidentified individuals to serve as examples. It starts with classifications of anatomical features such as face shape, profile, eyes, nose, mouth, forehead, height, etc. and continues with so-called functional features such as posture, gait, facial expressions, gestures, everyday habits, hair and clothing style etc. The author also provides photographs of a variety of physical deformities, discussess alcoholism and drug addiction as well as tattoos and other unique identifying markers (with several photographs of tattoos). One photograph in the text is credited as NIIK MGB SSSR, an acronym for Criminology Institute of the Ministry of Sate Security of the USSR (1946-1953), reinforcing the author’s possible connection with this institution. The MGB was preceded by the infamous NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs; 1934-1941), which carried out the Stalinist Purges. After Stalin’s death, the MGB was restructured once again into the equally infamous KGB (1954-1991). Judging by the number of notes, handwritten corrections, and formatting instructions in the text, the item was an editing copy. The latest text footnoted in the manuscript is dated 1950, so the item must have been produced sometime between 1950 and 1953, the year MGB was restructured. It seems that this specific text was never published, making this item an entirely unique copy. Book ID: P6759