Historic Superimposed Image of John Paul Jones was the Brainchild of American Diplomat Horace Porter: Update to Rogers, 2005

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An earlier article presented evidence that, contrary to published reports, the first modern forensic photographic superimposition was conducted in 1907 to confirm the probable identification of American hero John Paul Jones. In the time since that 2005 Journal of Forensic Identification article was published, evidence was discovered in the manuscript collections of the Naval Historical Center in Washington, D.C. that the original idea for superimposition should be credited to Horace Porter, an American patriot who conducted the successful search for the body of John Paul Jones in Paris more than a century after his death. Porter's idea for the superimposition followed in an earlier, less scientifically rigorous tradition of superimposing drawings over paintings or photographs rather than using two photographic images. Nevertheless, without his original suggestion, the superimposition of the two photographs would not have been conducted. We are pleased to add to General Horace Porter's credentials by documenting his initiation of the scientific and technical aspects of the first forensic photographic superimposition, conducted by Charles West Stewart and anonymous printers at the U.S. Government Printing Office in 1907.

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