Pioneers: Frances Glessner Lee


And. Hello. And welcome back from wonder media network. I'm Jenny Kaplan. And this is encyclopedia were Manica. Today. Let's talk about the woman you can thank for the advent of modern friends science, and the vast cornucopia of CSI style TV ships known as the mother of forensic science meet our pioneer of the day Francis. Glasner lee. Brandis was born in Chicago in eighteen seventy eight to a wealthy high-society family. She and her brother were schooled at home by private tutors. But only her brother was allowed to go to college. Instead Francis did what was expected of her and married. A Chicago lawyer, but the marriage quickly ended in divorce though she found her passion relatively early it wasn't until later in life that Francis pursued her real interest. George bursts McGrath, a friend of her brothers from Harvard. I introduced Francis to the concept of forensic science. He was studying to become a doctor at Harvard Medical School at the time and developed particular interest in death investigations, when George visited the Glasner family in Chicago. He and Francis would discuss his studies, and it soon became apparent that Francis shared, his fascination, but over the years when Francis expressed interest in becoming more involved in the study of forensic pathology she was completely discouraged by the men and her family. It wasn't until a full year after her brother's death in nineteen thirty that Francis finally started following her dreams embarking on a journey to discover, how detectives might better uncover clues at that point, she was fifty two years old. But the family fortune. She inherited Francis decided to endow the Harvard department of legal medicine, and the George bursts McGrath library. Also at Harvard. It was the first department of Rennick medicine in the country. Francis, also endowed, the Harvard association in police science, an organization that still active today. The Francis questioner. Lee homicide division is named in her honor the Harvard association and police science was a driving force in changing over from the antiquated coroner system to professionalize system based on forensic pathology in the US during the nineteen forties and nineteen fifties Francis hosted semi annual homicide investigation seminars that were major events for the crime solving community during each week long conference. Detectives prosecutors and other criminal. Investigators came together from across the country to learn about and discuss the newest developments in. The week ended with the lavish banquets thrown by Francis at the Ritz Carlton. These seminars became famous for something called the nutshell studies of unexplained death that were presented by Francis each year. The nutshell studies were built by hand by Francis herself. They were intricately and meticulously constructed dioramas of actual crime scenes, complete with working doors, windows and lights each of the twenty Dollhouse size models was based on an especially tricky case, and each was designed to test the abilities of investigators to collect all relevant evidence. The model showed multiple causes of death and were based on cases where Francis herself had been able to attend the autopsy and crime scene as a result, the attention to detail in the models is astonishing. The models had working mouse traps and rocking chairs and real life and seen accurate food in the kitchens. Plus, the corpses accurately represented the discoloration or bloating that was present at the crime scene each. Element was created by Francis herself. And a single model cost three thousand forty five hundred dollars to create investigators were given ninety minutes to study each scene. Eighteen of the original dioramas are still used for training homicide investigators today. So the solutions Marquette is tightly held secrets their house at the Maryland office of the chief medical examiner. But you may also be able to find them elsewhere. They're often loaned out on display as they're now considered works of art for her contributions to the advancement of friends excites. Francis was made an honorary captain in the New Hampshire. State police nineteen forty-three making her the first woman to join the international association of chiefs of police and finally in, perhaps the greatest active Omayad incredible. Pioneer Francis was reportedly the inspiration for Jessica Fletcher in murder. She wrote the night on the issue. Late all time in live. It kills them. What makes you think it was? What makes you think it was always is your insurance company? How tune in tomorrow for the story of another incredible pioneer. We'll be talking about a woman who won the Nobel peace prize special. Thanks. The one and only Liz Caplan, my sister and the incredible researcher behind this amazing collection of women. Talk you tomorrow.

Coming up next