tv American Artifacts Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death CSPAN April 8, 2021 5:03pm-5:54pm EDT
attorney and historian tommage boston hosted by baylor university law school. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. >> american history tv on c-span3 every weekend documenting america's story, funding for american history tv comes from these companies who support c-span3 as a public service. ocme of maryland located >> we are presently in the office of the chief medical examiner for the state of maryland located in baltimore, a state-wide agency. and these are the natural studies of unexplained death which were made in the 1940s between 1943 and 1948, by
frances glessner lee. really the only woman to make a major contribution to the field of forensic science. what she did is absolutely revolutionized everything. everything we have come to know in a "csi" type crime scene, whether in population culture, television, movies or in real life, is all due to frances glessner lee and what she did at harvard university in boston. this is a diorama model made around 1943 by frances glessner lee to train homicide detectives to practice crime scene investigation. this is one of the tallest ones called barn. one of the earliest ones she made. and represents a fellow who is hanging from a rope. his name was eben wallace. mr. wallace was an argumentive type of person, according to the
information that's in the front of the cabinet. a local farmer was found dead by his wife emelda. mrs. emelda wallace was questioned and gave the following statement. mr. wallace was hard to get along with it. when things didn't go the way he wanted, he would go out to the barn threatening suicide. mr. wallace would stand on a bucket and put a noose around his neck, but she would always manage to persuade him mott to do it. on the day of july 14th, 4:00, they had a dispute. mr. wallace made his usual threats but she didn't follow him to the barn right away. when she did go to the barn, she found the premises normal. yesterday she used it and left it out by the pump. the rope has been kept fastened to the beam just the way it was found. it was part of the regular barn hoist. this is what there is. and if you look at the hoist,
the rope, the rope is wrapped around the beam. so you can't actually pull it up and down. she did not -- in other words, she did not tie him there and then pull him up to do that. you couldn't do that. the rope doesn't move. they're all based on real cases. she said that the facts are true. everything you see depicted actually happened, although not necessarily in the same scene. and they are intentionally ambiguous. she didn't want to have something. you look at it. you get one look. boom, i got it. i know what happened. they really require some time to think about. and they're not meant to be solved. and that's a point that's difficult for people. the human mind has a, you know, this drive to solve things. we want an answer. and we look and we want to know who did it and all these things. it's totally beside the point. in some cases, first of all, these aren't all homicides.
there are suicides, natural causes, undetermined suicides, accidents and everything, the whole range. so it's not -- if it were just an answer, you could walk homicide, suicide, natural causes. it's not that. it's not getting the answer. it's that journey getting there. it's not too much to say that this is a suicide or this is a homicide. what makes you think so? when she made these, these were all made, the collection, between 1943 and 1948, five-year period. and each one of these cost approximately what it costs to build a real house. at the time they were between $3,000 and $6,000 each, which translates to between $60 and $80,000 in present day money. she literally spent a fortune to make these. and they're just extraordinarily detailed. and still used today as they were intended, to train homicide detectives. and so in the 2021 century, with
all of this virtual reality and computer simulation, these still serve a purpose. they can't be done by any other medium. there's terrific details about this. one, if you look very carefully, and you see every plank of wood is a sandwich of two pieces of wood together. it aged so beautifully. it turned out this wood came from an old barn that was on her property in new hampshire on the rocks where she lived at the time. so she had her carpenter saw off a 12th of an inch of thickness, just the aged surface. and then you have to pick out the pieces where the holes are small enough to be plausible, glue boards together into blanks, and then build the diorama. so every wood, every piece of
wood that is that's visible is actually sandwiched together, two pieces. and the back drop is a photograph, bigger than a 5 x 7, a pretty large illustration. >> where did she get the idea to make these models and had it been done before? >> models like this had not been done before. her background was as a socialite. she grew up in a very wealthy family. her dad owned an agricultural machinery company that became part of international harvester. and she was born in 1878. so it was a different era. and there weren't a lot of career paths for women at the time. she was not expected to work outside the home. she wanted to go to medical school, but harvard medical school didn't admit women until 1945. so that was out of the question. so she did society lady things. you know, going to social meetings and having receptions and tea parties and decorative
arts and these sorts of things. frances's mother, frances mack beth glessner, was quite talented and very skilled as a seam stress and silversmith, jewelry maker. she raised bees. so young frances glessner lee, from the time she was a toddler and could hold a needle, was learning to sew and crochet and do all these things. that was her background. she had a thing for miniatures. miniatures were much more of a thing back in that day. in 1913, created a miniature -- in the same scale 1 inch to 1 foot of the entire chicago symphony orchestra. she did the entire orchestra. the display is 8 feet long. there are 90 pieces in it.
which is now at the chicago symphony orchestra. and each person in the orchestra is finished with the hair and all that as -- to represent their real life counterpart. and she had the instruments. and she did the evening wear, formal evening wear they're wearing. and all of it. and she did this entire display as a gift for her mother in three months. she did 90 pieces in 90 days, including the carnation, lapel and just extraordinary work. and the following year she did a quartet which was a string quartet. it was quite a big deal in the early 20th century. they were the foo fighters of string quartets. they were able to have a fan base and all these things we take for granted today.
she did the same thing, a scale of one inch to one foot. that is in a museum in switzerland. frances got married, had children, got divorced and did a variety of things. it wasn't until 1929 when chefs had he 52 years old that her life took quite a dramatic change. she reacquainted her family friendship with george mcgrath. they were best buddies. they shared the same birthday. he was trained as a pathologist. in 1907 was appointed as the medical examiner in suffolk county, including boston. they had the first medical examiner's office in the country. before then, the entire country was on the coroner system, which is spiral different management than medical examiners.
in 1907, george magrath was literally america's first forensic pathologist. so he went to europe to be trained in europe and england, vienna, paris, edinboro. now we call it forensic medicine. he learned scientific death investigation which came back to the united states and incorporated it into his work as a medical examiner and into his lectures that he gave. he was a lecturer at harvard medical school teaching about legal medicine. and he gained this reputation as a crime doctor, sherlock-ian crime doctor. he was consulted in cases in massachusetts, new england and all over the place. he was medical examiner on the benzetti case, the boston
molasses disaster. it ruptured and killed all these people. babe ruth, mysterious death of babe ruth's first wife. and these sort of things. frances glessner lee knew magrath when she was much younger. when she was 15-year-old, she and the two swrorpblgs went to the chicago world's fair and rode the ferris wheel together. it wasn't until 1929 when they were in the hospital at the same time and spent the summer together when he took the time to explain about his work and the coroner system and really flipped a switch in her mind. and she totally found something that she could really sink her teeth into and devoted the rest of her life to moving away from
the coroner system to a medical model, scientific-based medical examiner system. that's what she did for the rest of her life. so these are actually a small part of what she achieved. she's mainly known, if you read about her online and various places, she's depicted as the eccentric older woman, wealthy older woman who made creepy dollhouses. she is known for the dioramas. what she achieved was larger and much more pivotal. she was a major figure in forensic science. she is almost single handedly the person who carried the torch and made sure that medical examiner grew and flourished in the united states for what we have today. so that's what she did. the thing was before her homicide seminar there was no training for police officers. and so through their clumsy
efforts they would do things, for lack of knowing any better, they would, you know, roll over a body, move the body, pick up and handle a murder weapon, walk lieu blood, put their finger through bullet holes. no training. education wasn't the highest priority. many of them didn't have a high school education. she changed all that in 1945 working with mainly state police. she felt state police were better trained, better educated, more disciplined. so they covered the whole jurisdiction. so she focused on state police at first. she and the chairman of the department of medicine sin at harvard, dr. allen marts came up with an intensive homicide seminar, five day, where they would learn about autopsies, strangulation, burns, and drowning and poisons and all these things.
but one of the most critical aspects of a forensic investigation is the crime scene itself. the scene. police are the first responders. they are sometimes the only one who are at the scene of a death. so what happens in those first few moments affects everything else. if they compromise something, fail to recognize things that may be significant, then the whole trajectory of the investigation is altered. and so you can make it and break it right there in the crime scene. so how do you practice processing, observing a crime scene without a real crime scene? you can't just take the whole group, the whole class of 40 to 80 people and have people walk around and do things. so that was her idea, was to create a crime scene that you can't walk through. you can only use your eyes. and so she created these -- they are all based on real cases.
she said that the facts are true. everything you see depicted actually happened. although not necessarily in the same scene. and they are intentionally ambiguous. it's not so much to say that this is a suicide or this is a homicide. what makes you think so? what do you see that leads you in that direction. so it's meant for when you have the homicide seminar they are broken up into groups. so there might be a team of, you know, five, six, seven officers. and they are purposefully broken up. you don't get to work with someone in the same department. you have to work with people you don't know and work together as a team. and on the first day of the seminar, they're assigned a diorama. they say yours is a three room dwelling. they are given no direction. it is a three-room dwelling. you get the week. come back at the end of the week
and tell us what you see. that's all they're told. so they're on their own. and that's it. so these police officers will spend hours, hours and hours as they would with a real crime scene. and they really need to examine this. you have to get down and really use your eyes. and frances had a system to it. she wanted people -- she recommended that people start on the left side. and you move your eyes in a spiral, clockwise spiral, working towards the middle of the room. and you do this to force yourself to look at everything. there is a real tendency to what we call selection bias. you start to see things and you begin to develop a hypothesis in your mind. so there is a tendency to only notice things that fit in your hypothesis and overlooking things that don't. so a lot of training in forensic
training and homicide seminar is to withhold judgment. you have to consider things, even if they don't make sense necessarily. so you have to force yourself to look at everything. and she filled them with detail. there's so many extraneous things, red herrings. it can get overwhelming. you don't know what to look at. so you are really forced to look at everything. something could be literally as small as the head of a pin. and that could be significant. so it takes a lot of time to really, really examine and look very closely at everything. the whole premises that we, you or i, or the investigator are arriving at the scene. you are given very sketchy information. this is preliminary information. this one is called three-room dwelling. reported to the nutshell laboratories monday, november 1, 1937.
robert judson were discovered dead by paul abbott a neighbor. he was questioned and gave the following statement. bob judson and he drove to their work together, alternating cars. this was abbott's week to drive. monday morning he was late. around 7:35. so when blowing his horn, he went to the factory without him believing judson would come in his own car. sarah abbott was also questioned andive ga the following statement. after paul had left, she watched for bob to come out and finally around 8:15 a.m., seeing no signs of activities at the juddson house, she went over to the porch and tried the front door, but it was locked and she knocked and called out but got no answer. she then went to the kitchen porch, but that door was also locked. she looked in through the glass and then thoroughly aroused by
the sight of the gun and blood, she went home and notified the police. this model shows the premises just before mrs. abbott went to the house. and then beneath that it says note well. dawn broke 5:00 a.m. sunrise 6:17. weather is clear. no lights were lighted in the house. both outside doors were locked on the inside. so that's what you're faced with. premises are secured. three people dead. gun in the middle of the kitchen floor. and blood all over the place. >> so just tell us about some of the details in this one that you find interesting, perplexing. >> one thing that's interesting is that you can't see -- in almost every diorama, you can't see the victim's face. she has purposely obscured people. so you're left with this uneasy
feeling you want to see more, you want to reach in there and roll him over so you can see his face. you can't do that. so it is very interesting that she withholds so much information. this one is one of the largest ones in terms of square footage, the three-room dwelling. there's three victims in it. this is the only one with three victims. it's the only one, unfortunately there is a baby in the carriage, in the crib in the other room. and there is a bunch of very interesting things about this. people ask, you know, why they cost so much, why were they so expensive. and aside from having a carpenter on her staff full-time doing this work for her, she really spared no expense in having these done. there's a newspaper here on the floor which is from the batavia herald. there is a batavia in new york.
it's not from there. that is illinois. that's an actual front page of a newspaper that she had photographically reduced and made into a printing block for a single impression. and that was it. if you look beneath the sink, there are some utensils that are hanging down there. there is a little sieve on the right and a hand mixer and i guess a potato ricer. but second from the right is a charm bracelet charm made out of gold she had painted like steel just to have a doodad hanging from the cabinet. it was not cheap the cost. she had to have it. the iron on top of the stove happens to be monopoly piece. i found the actual piece that it
matches from online. and so she was very creative. this shotgun that's on the kitchen floor, the barrel of the shotgun i found the receipts. the guy who made it lived in virginia. that barrel is a nail that has been drilled out lengthwise through the nail. there's a really cool sewing machine over here. and if you look really closely, not only is there a needle in the sewing machine but it is threaded. there is a little bobbin and it is threaded. it has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but there it is. it is just mind blowing. absolutely mind blowing the kinds of things that are in here. and that's just one quick glance at one diorama. i have not looked at the solutions. the solutions are kept under lock and key. so i don't know the actual solutions. but i have heard so much about
them that i think i know an awful lot about them. but every time i look at them, every time i'm in the room, every time i examine closely, there's still details that, you know, there's always something new. i see something i have never seen before. there's just no end to it. you know, as i said, each one of these cost about what it costs to build a real house. so this cost thousands of dollars to make. and then she burned it, used a blowtorch to burn it. this one in the book you can read what this is based on. this is called burned cabin. reported to nutshell laboratories, sunday, august 15th, 1943. it was a fiction that frances glessner lee created. there is a fictional laboratory
in boston. daniel perkins was missing and presumed dead. phillip perkins, his nephew, gave the following information. on saturday evening, august 14th, he had come to spend the night with his uncle as he frequently did. in the middle of the night he was awakened by the smell of smoke and ran outside to find the house on fire and the fire engines arriving. he said that he had been very confused and could not rebney other details. joseph mccarthy, driver of the fire engine number 6, was questioned and gave the following statement. the call for the fire was received 1:30 a.m. sunday, august 15th. upon arrival of the fire engine, the fire was quickly extinguished before the building was completely destroyed. phillip perkins was fully clothed wandering around near the house. the model represents after the fire was extinguished and before any investigation had started or
any portion of the premises disturbed. so there you go. they show up at 1:30 in the morning. he said by the time i was wandering around, the nephew, the fire engines were arriving. they get there and they say the nephew is fully clothed wandering around. what do you make of that? i found out that this is based on the case of florence small, frederick small, who almost got away with the perfect murder. and in reading the accounts of it, this was a case that was investigated by george mamagrat. what he did was frederick small rigged up an alarm clock to detonate hours after he had an alibi. he went into boston. he was hours away. out of the blue, the house
erupts into flames. his wife is found dead. and it turned out that he set it using an alarm clock. after i read this i said oh, my god, i have to go to the office. there was an alarm clock. on the dresser, there is an alarm clock. there you go. unbelievable. it's not what happened in this particular scenario. buff i knew this has got to be based on frederick small. and the alarm clock just sealed it for me. this is the only interactive one. it is called unpapered bedroom. i can open it up. if you pull this up, you can look under the pillow. but if you look, the plaster has been patched. i don't know how she did that. but the walls have been patched before. if you look in the corner, it's just the linoleum.
it's just sad. it's sort of the walls are kind of grimy. there's smudges around the light switch. you know, it's just -- it just seems sad. and it was reported to nutshell laboratories. mrs. rose fishman is a widow. she was found dead by samuel weiss, the janitor. several tenants complained of an odor. march 30th he began looking for the source of the odor. mrs. fishman didn't answer her bell when he rang it. and upon checking with other tenants he learned she had not been seen recently. therefore he looked into her mailbox and saw her mail accumulated for several days. he answered mrs. fishman's part, found it in order. the odor was strong. when he tried to open the door he could only get it open a little way and the odor was much much stronger. he immediately went downstairs
and climbed the fire escape to entering through the window. he could not remember if he found the window open or closed. the model shows the premises as he found them. so this is the moment when the janitor claims that he -- this is exactly the way he found things. so that's all you have to start with. these statements could be incomplete. they could be wrong. people could be lying. people who commit crimes cover up their tracks. and so it's not uncommon for a homicide to be staged to look like a suicide or a suicide staged to look like a homicide so they can get their insurance money. so in some of these -- some of these are staged. and some of them, the takeaway is something's not right. there is an inconsistent sent between what you're being told and what you see. one or the other is incorrect. so that's really the only thing you're supposed to get away from
it. the takeaway is that something is not right. this may be staged. and that's the lesson. if you get that out of it, that's enough. a few interesting things about this one. but in terms of what i think of as emotional impact per swear inch, this one, as small as it is, has so much going on into it. there are mineral deposits in the bathtub. i don't know how you do that. it's galvanized. the smoosh on the wul from the heating vent. worn spots on the linoleum. if you look carefully beneath the sink the boards are water stained. they had dripped in the past. so the whole thing, when you sort of take everything together, is a gorgeous stained glass window. it seems like it was once a
grand residence that has fallen on harder times. but there's these hints of former glory. and that's exactly what happened to her prairie avenue neighborhood. so this is -- i think this is sort of alluding to the changes that went on where these grand mansions were broken up into boarding rooms and rented out into apartments and these sorts of things. and i think that's what she is suggesting here. reported in nutshell laboratories by desk sergeant moriarty of the central city police as i recalled it. maggie wilson was found dead by liz where miller. ms. miller roomed in the same house as maggie but he knew her only as they met in the hall. she thought maggie was subject to fits, seizure.
in 1896 the men were there. there was a good deal of drinking going on. sometime after they left lizzie heard that the water was still running in the bathroom. upon opening the door, she found that the scene as set forth in the model. this is the moment her other tenant resident opened the door and found her like this. but there's -- the detail work that's in it. the linoleum in front of the commode is worn down where the feet would be. there's worn spots in front of the door. the only way to do that is to put a piece of cloth on your finger and spend hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours rubbing it. that's what you do. that's how you make the worn spot. you have to wear it down. there's so much empathy that's in this room to really pick up on these details. that's really remarkable that
she would see these things and then incorporate that just to evoke this feeling. she wanted not just about the facts of the death but she wanted people to get a sense of who these people were. it's just so depressing. it's just so sad. the water flowing on her face is cellophane tape. that must be original 1940s cellophane tape. that has never been replaced. that is not yellowed and cracked and crumbled. this is called saloon in jail. it was reported to nutshell laboratories, sunday, november 12th, 1944. frank harris, dock laborer was found dead in a jail cell after having been found lying on the street by city patrolman dennis
mulcahy. he was walking his beat on dock street. he saw a man lying sprawled out on the sidewalk in front of pat's place, a saloon. the man was breathing and smelled strongly of liquor. the wagon took the man to station 2 where he was locked up in a single cell. frank harris address 7 1/2 water street. and he appeared to be tpre drunk. no marks of violence on him. on sunday morning, november 12th, at 7:00, when rounds were made in station 2, mr. air list was found dead in his cell, as represented in the model. so a few things about this. some fun stuff about this. the banana peel. so many red herrings. brick, banana peel. frances had such a sense of humor. inside the jail cell, there's
graffiti scrawled on the wall. you can't see it unless you're inside the jail cell. there is a thing sticking up in the doorway which you cannot see at all. that's actually a poster for a boxing match. there's a bar inside there. the only way you can see that poster is if you are 6 inches tall, you walk inside and turn around and take a look. it has never seen the light of day before. this is another one. just great depth to it. and the outdoors light. there's sunlight. all of these things going on. kitchen. reported to nutshell laboratories, wednesday, april 12th, 1944. barbara barnes, a housewife, was found dead by police who responded to a call from the husband of the victim, fred barnes, who gave the following statement. around 4:00 opl a arch of
tuesday, 1944, he went downtown. he returned around an hour and a half later and found the outside door to the kitchen locked. it was standing open when he left. mr. barnes attempted knocking and calling but got no answer. he tried the front door but it was also locked. he then went to the kitchen window, which was closed and locked. he looked in and he saw what appeared to be his wife lying on the floor. he then summoned the police. the model shows the premises just before the police forced open the kitchen door. so there you go. so this one is called blue bedroom. as reported to nutshell laboratories, wednesday, november 3rd, 1943. charles logan, an employee in a box factory, was discovered dead by his wife carolyn logan. mrs. logan gave the following statement. on tuesday night, november 2nd,
1943, she was alone in the house when charles came home around midnight. he had been drinking and was in a quarrelsome mood. they had an argument but she was finally able to persuade him to go upstairs to bed. she waited downstairs for him to go to sleep before she also went to bed. after about half an hour, she heard him moving around and shortly therefore heard a shot. she ran upstairs and found the situation as illustrated by the model. there you go. she's downstairs. hears a shot. runs upstairs. and this is what she finds. do you buy it? these were meant to be observed in a darkened room. really all the light is supposed to come from within the diorama. i always loved that back drop. it's just so cool. and when i got here, there's a light bulb that's back behind there. but in front of that space there
was no light. so it was dark there. and i'm fiddling around. i was messing with this, looking in there. and i saw there were outlets up here. outlets with no bulbs in them. so i found some that fit. like christmas tree lights. i put them in there. there were white lights. it was too bright because it's supposed to be near midnight. that couldn't be right. so when smithsonian was here, and i don't know if we can do this. it was right here. they said blue and green. >> so frances had written that? >> yeah. >> and nobody knew it. the smithsonian guys said, wow, we have to figure this out.
get the right colors. and when they put the green and blue bulbs in there, it gives a totally different look to it. it's just sort of, you know, light pollution, nighttime, kind of gloomy, totally changed the character of the look of it. they're on exhibit at the smithsonian. this is the poster from -- it was called murderess or hob y. 2017 to end of january 2018. it is on pennsylvania avenue across the street from the white house. and at the time it was just bonkers. around 100,000 people went to see the exhibit. incident was their first and only public exhibition. and it was the second most popular exhibit at the renwick
gallery's history up to that time. and as a part of -- in order to move these things 35 miles down the street to washington, d.c., they needed to be cleaned -- not repaired but strengthened. the burned cabin is actually burned material, all this wood. so there are parts of it that are literally tissue thin. so you just can't pick this up and hold it on your lap and take it to d.c. it would crumble. threw there was some sort of polymer and the wood absorbs it so it strengthens it. without changing the color or the shininess or anything, it's totally transparent. but this has all been strengthened. it's not restoration. they're not making it look new
again. they're preserving it and it's done invisibly. good conservation you shouldn't even see anything there. it's invisible. when the smithsonian had their hands on these, these were all incandescent lights, which generated heat. and frances was very creative in sourcing materials. she used refrigerator lights. turn signal lights. they tracked down the origins of all the bulbs they found. marine lights, flash lights, which are getting hard to find, for one thing. secondly, they generated a lot of heat. so it was damaging and ultra violet rays. and the third is some were flickering. the striped bedroom. it was flickering. that totally freaked them out because that means there is a risk of fire. what they did is scott
rosenfeld, who is their lighting designer at the smithsonian devised miniature lights. all of these lights are custom made. and this light bulb is actually an l.e.d. that they have fabricated to resemble. they are mimicking vintage 1940s incandescent lights. but every light now is computer controlled. and this is all absolutely custom made. nothing is off the shelf. every bulb is on its own computer controlled circuit and you can change the brightness. you can adjust it that way. they're in such a condition now, these bulbs should never burn out in my lifetime. these all should be good for generations. >> so what's your job here and how did you get involved in
this? >> my job here, i am executive assistant to the chief medical examiner. and i do whatever the chief tells me to do is what i do. i have been here since 2012. now i, before i was here, i was committing journalism for many years. and i first wrote about the nutshell stories of unexplained death in 1992 for a newspaper for the american medical association. so i knew about them. and i knew about frances. but that had absolutely nothing for me getting the job here. i got the job because my first career before i was a journalist was emt and paramedic. and in 2012, i was working for a network of hyper local news websites and i arranged a visit with about 12 of the editors who came through. at the time the building was
brand-new. and while we were on a tour they mentioned -- somebody mentioned that we have this new position, executive assistant for the chief. they're looking for somebody with a medical background and media experience and comfortable dealing with members of the public and lawyers and police. well, that's me. so i got the job. this literally fell in my lap. i was here for a while. jerry dee, the keeper of the secrets, practically threw the keys at me and said, here, you do with it now. you can change the light bulbs. it's all yours. so i did. and i was acquiring material. i would find documents related to the nutshells and old photos. so i was basically curating and gathering this material. and whenever somebody wanted to come in and videotape or photograph them, they would be sent to me. and people would come and visit.
they would say is there a biography about her? no, there's no biography. and it just really -- it was frustrating reading about her online and reading what people would write about her. and there is so much misinformation. and they keep getting repeated over and over again. people would read the same things and do their own spin on the stories. there is this story she was forbidden to go to college by her parents. that's absolutely not true. she wanted to go to harvard medical school and they didn't admit women. that's the truth. that's what happened. those sorts of things. it really was obvious that in her -- this was a piece of american history. it's a piece of forensic science, history, policing, history that was totally overlooked and had never been written about. she was known among certain people, she was known by
miniaturists, she's known by certain weird people who are into morbid things. but she was not -- she is literally the mother of forensic science. she was the first woman to be commissioned as a police captain in the united states in 1943. it was obvious her story needed to be told. and who better to do it than me. so it was a real privilege to be able to do that. but that's how i got involved in it. the book was published and released in february 2020 by source books in the united states. and it will be out in paper, soft cover, in january of 2021. >> how did they get to baltimore from massachusetts? >> frances established her homicide seminar at harvard medical school in boston in
1945. and she was based there. the program she established in legal medicine at the medical school was all up in boston. she died in 1962 in boston, harvard medical school lost interest in -- they didn't want to have anything to do with the department of legal medicine and eventually pulled the plug on n the and the campus among the elites and all that. so they the the person who was the chief here at the time. i was russell fisher. he was chief from 1949 till his close to his death in 1982 and russell fischer had been through the harvard program. he was one of francis's favorites very promising young pathologist. and so he she recommended him for the job. here is the chief medical examiner for the state of maryland. and when pathologist. and so she recommended him for 1 the96 job as the chief medical
examiner for the state of maryland. and when she died in homic1962n russell fisher went to harvard t and said, you know, we'll pick up the homicide seminar. we'll just move it to baltimore and do it down here. they said, great, take them with you. and they moved permane 1962, rul fischer went to harvard and said we will pick up homicide some more. we will do it down here. he said great, take it with you. they move down here in 1968 and they've been here ever since. they are here for the purpose of teaching. we have now had the homicide seminar here -- it's been over 50 years. artifacts from a different era. when i first saw these in 1982 i was swept away by the art. i was initially interested in their craft. that is what got me drawn into
it. but these are a truly one-of-a-kind collection of artifacts that are pivotal in the history of friends the science. they are just as valuable today as they were in 1945. some of them may look a little dated, but if you put a little laptop computer in the living room or something like that it could pass for almost -- it has not changed all that much. the thing is that sadly, the facts have not changed all that much. it's not a new millennium way of -- there are still bleeds, bullets, poison, strangling. the sorts of things. that's timeless. in that regard except for the superficial details of looking a little dated there still is relevant today as they were then.
they are important because of what they represent. they represent this earlier time. there is nothing else like it. i have seen state of the art virtual reality simulation's and the sorts of things. it does not come close. there is no replacement for a real object to look at. weeknights this month we are featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span 3. tonight we look at cabinet secretaries, james baker served a secretary of state for president george h.w. bush and is ronald reagan's white house chief of staff and treasury secretary. he has interviewed about leadership in his career by attorney and historian in this program hosted by daily
university law school. watch tonight beginning at 8 pm eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span three. or >> american history tv on c-span 3, every weekend documenting america's story. funding for american history tv comes from these companies who support c-span 3 as a public service. don >> university of georgia professor stephen barry teaches a class about corners in the 19th century south. he did costs discusses the -- talks about the records created from their inquests. he argues that corners can shed light on the emerging patterns of death within a society and spot potential threats to public health. this is one hour and
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