History of Our Great Emblem

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Click on each emblem to see a larger, more detailed version.

Figure 1 -- Click for large versionAt the Associations first Convention in 1915, Sgt. C. H. Stone, of the Nevada State Police, moved that the official emblem of the Association be composed of a pair of Bertillon head calipers, showing a fingerprint between the branches. Sgt. H. M. Smith, of the Bureau of Identification, Tacoma, Washington, then offered an amendment that the fingerprint be one of Sir Francis Galton's (often referred to as the "Father of Fingerprints"). This was seconded and carried unanimously. The print chosen is that of Galton's right fore finger as it appears in the front of his book, "Finger Prints," published in 1892.

Figure 2 -- Click for large versionFrom 1915 to 1918 the emblem appeared as shown in Figure 1. The Association was then known as the "International Association for Criminal Identification," hence the initials "IACI." At the 4th Annual Convention in 1918 the Constitution and By-laws were changed and the word "Criminal" was dropped from the Association's title. As a result the emblem was changed to reflect the new initials "IAI."

From 1918 to 1941 the emblem shown in Figure 2 was used. As you can see, it was a line drawing representing Galton's fore finger with the initials "IAI" at the top. In 1941 the emblem was again changed to portray Galton's actual fingerprint, and the initials were moved.

Figure 3 -- Click for large versionIn 1968-69 there was a committee established to look at changing the emblem altogether. After much discussion, and to its credit, the committee decided to keep the emblem as we see it today.

Over the years, since 1941, the depiction of Galton's fingerprint has been "cleaned up" on at least two occasions, to improve the quality of the reproduced print. Otherwise, our emblem has not changed since 1941. This then, as shown in Figure 3, is the present day great symbol of the International Association for Identification, recognized around the world.