SOME KEY FACTS REGARDING THE DILLINGER "DEATH MASK"
The origin of the "Death Mask" of John Dillinger has been discussed by many over the years and copies are still found at auctions. There are actually two FBI reports on this matter revealing the facts surrounding obtaining the mask. The FBI received one original of two made at the morgue and this mask was shipped by the Reliance Dental Manufacturing Company in January, 1935. These facts , and more, are revealed in two reports; one by SA Deveraux and one by SA Sackett.
Deveraux's report of the preliminary investigation regarding the origin of the mask is here, wherein the Bureau orders more investigation as seen by the last page.
AND WHAT ABOUT COPIES?
The Dillinger file reviewed actually only revealed one instance (1935) of four copies of the death mask ever given away to police authorities by the FBI. This incident is seen in this report. We don't know of course if the recipients, in turn, duplicated their copies.
One thing we haven't determined is how many times was the original mask, kept by the above dental company, reproduced? As noted, they made two; kept one and gave one to the Bureau.
Adding to the possible duplication numbers is the decision by the FBI in 1935 to change their mind of providing copies of the mask to various police chiefs and departments. However, Bureau administrators DID ALLOW training classes to arrange duplication if they wanted. We found no record of how many of these masks may have been duplicated by early National Academy training classes or when that practice ceased. That decision and practice is shown here.