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Early forensic experts were trained with what?



  Photograph of Frances Glessner Lee showing off one of her miniature dollhouse dioramas.
Saturday evening post / 10 February 1949

Answer: doll houses

Before the arrival of modern forensic practices, gathering evidence was, at best, inefficient and in the worst case completely negligent. Early investigators would often move bodies, move the content of crime scenes, scamper around with little attention to what evidence they might disturb, and otherwise make an amateurish mess of the whole thing.

When the field of forensicology was the infancy, one of the strongest influences on the field, and one of the elements that brought home the importance of observing and maintaining the crime scene for young and emerging investigators the extensive diorama & # 39; s crime scene made by Frances Glessner Lee. [1

9659005] How Lee, the daughter of retired millionaire Chicagoans, became one of the most influential contributors to the field is a remarkable path. As a child in the late 1880s, she wanted to study science and medicine, but her parents insisted that she instead study more domestic and feminine activities, such as sewing, embroidery, painting, and playing with and decorating dollhouses. Throughout her childhood, young adulthood, and failed marriage, Lee had a desire to contribute to the greater good and to society, always with an eye to science. In her & # 39; 50, with the help of her brother's friend, George Burgess Magrath (a Boston medical investigator who was famous for solving very difficult murder cases), she started forensic investigations.

What immediately became clear to her (through Magrath's complaints) was that most of the crimes remained unsolved because police officers, investigators, and corpses dealt terribly wrong with evidence and destroyed all the clues they had in the process. While initially starting her quest to improve the state of affairs by donating money to create a forensic school and library, she finally decided to use her own (previously completed) skills to train students. Lee appealed to the years of making miniature and building dollhouses in her youth and created extremely accurate and intricate dioramas of famous (and infamous) crime scenes for students to study up close and in-depth.

These dioramas, which Lee called the "Nutshell Studies of Unnexplained Death", were incredibly detailed: every clock was set at the right time, every calendar put on the right page, every little bloody fingerprint carefully placed. Even the angle of curtains and the curvature of the miniature seats in the scenes were matched with amazing precision to the actual crime scene.

The dioramas were appreciated for their detail and learning potential in their time and are still in use today in Baltimore, Maryland as part of the city's medical examiner training program. Lee may have blamed her parents and forced her to study the domestic atmosphere in such unbearable detail, but it eventually changed the path of forensicology and paved the way for generations of competent and astute investigators and examiners.


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