Tag "Francis Lee"

Details of the dioramas may be found here as well as a detailed biography.


A gentle 77-year-old. dowager is New England’s top criminologist and the creator of Harvard’s famous “nutshell studies” of unexplained death.

By John N. Makris

MRS. FRANCES LEE, who is a captain in the New Hampshire State Police and the only woman in the United States to hold such an active rank, has become, as a result of an unusual and non-paying hobby, a pioneer in the application of medical science to crime detection.

Her amazing series of model crime settings, which Mrs. Lee builds with the aid of a carpenter at her Littleton, N. H., estate, are housed in a special room at Harvard University’s Department of Legal Medicine, which she founded and endowed and which is the first and only one of its kind in North America.

Resembling shadow boxes, the models are built into the walls and are illuminated under glass in the darkened room. Above each model is furnished such general information as the “investiga- tor” would probably obtain before determining the nature of death.

Origins of CSI (Jul, 1953)

This is an excellent 1953 article on the beginnings of forensic science. It covers the establisment of a forensic school at harvard, the switch from untrained coroners to skilled medical examiners and all sorts of modern forensic techniques. It also has pictures of amazingly detailed models made to recreate crime scenes for instructional purposes.

Mysterious Death Their Business

By Richard F. Dempewrolff

Death from causes unknown is a phrase that will drop from its too frequent use in the nation’s homicide files if a new kind of investigator has anything to say about it.

Today, on en upper floor in a remote wing of the Harvard Medical School, an eerie atmosphere hangs over a certain laboratory headed by pathologist Dr. Richard Ford. Called the Department of Legal Medicine, its business is concerned with unexplained death.

Sightless eyes stare at intruders from a row of life-sized plaster heads of murder victims—one with slashed throat, another with a bullet hole drilled through one temple, trickling a painted red stream against its death-white cheek. Beneath them, rows of plaster chest sections are perforated with accurately simulated bullet holes and powder burns typical of wounds inflicted by various-caliber bullets at varying distances.