Skip to main content

tv   American Artifacts Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death  CSPAN  April 8, 2021 11:47am-12:38pm EDT

11:47 am
secretaries. james baker served as secretary of state for president george h.w. bush and as ronald reagan's white house chief of staff and treasury secretary. he's interviewed about leadership and his career by attorney and historian talmadge boston in this tale by baylor university law school. 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.de we are presently in the re office of the chief medical examiner for theell statestud
11:48 am
maryland located in baltimore, a statewide agency. these are the atrocities of an i unsolved death between 1943 and 1948 by francis glizner lee.e she is the only woman to make ac contribution to the field of forensic science, but what she revolutionize everything. everything we've come to know id aue csi type investigation, whether in movies or real life, is all due to francis glizner lee, which she did at harvard university in boston.ide this is a diorama model made around 1943 by francis glizner lee to train homicide detectives in crime scene investigation. this is one of the tallest ones
11:49 am
called fr"burn," one of the earliest ones she made, and as represents a fellow who is acco hanging from ard rope.allace bas name is evan wallace, an are type person. she made the following statement. mr. wallace was hard to get along with.age to when things didn't go the way he wanted, he would go out to the barn, threatening suicide. dispe mr. wallace would put a noose s around his neck, but she would also persuade him not to do it.o in the afternoon on july 14th around 4:00, they had a dispute, and mr. wallace made his usual threats, but she didn't follow e him to the barn right away. when she did go to the barn, shd found the premises as represented in the model.lways the bucket usually stood in thet corner just outside the barn wf
11:50 am
door, but yesterday she had useo it and left it out by the pump.. the rope has always been kept fastened to the beam just the way it was found. it was part of the regular barnp hoist. she's pointing out, if you lookr at you look t at the hoist, you can't pull it upupro and down. in other words, she did not tie him there and then pull him up to do that, you couldn't do that because the rope doesn't move. they are all based on real ines. she said that the facts are true, and everything you see depicted actually happened although nott necessarily in thi same scene and they are thtentionally ambiguous. she didn't want to have something so you look atso it a you get one look and you, boom, i gotan it, i know what happenes they really require time to think about, and they are not meant to be solved.drive that's a point that is difficuln fort a people. w
11:51 am
thee human mind as a, you know,o this drive to solve things. we want an answer.n't we look at it and we want to know who did it and all these s things and it's totally beside e the point. first of all, these are not i'' homicides, and there are you suicides and natural causes, ses undetermined, accidents and everything.ting it's not -- if it were just an answer you could walk into the s homicide, suicide, natural or causes, and it's not that, it's the journey of getting there. w it's not so much to say this ise a suicide or this is a homicidee what makes you think so? when she made these, these were all made, the collection, between 1943 and 1948, a five-year period. each one of these costs approximately what it would have costs tonslate build a real hout theer time, between $3,000 and
11:52 am
$6,000 each. she literally spent a fortune to make these. they are just extraordinary detailed and still used today as they were intended, to train homicide detectives. i so in the 21st century, they y still serve a purpose that can't be done by any other median. of there's terrific details about this, for one if you look carefully you see every plank ou wood is a sandwich of two boards put together. i always admired the look of itw because the wood is aged so beautifully and it turns out this wood came from an old barn that was on her property in new hampshire on the rocks where shh lived at the time, so she had her carpenter saw off whatever it is, int a 12th of an inch.
11:53 am
every wood, every piece of wood that is visible is actually a da sandwiched together, two pieces. the backdrop is a large illustration. >> where diddone she get the ido make these models and had it been done before? >> models like this had not beev done before. her background was a socialite. she grew up in a wealthy family. and herer dad owned a company tt became part of international harvester. she was born in 1878. she wanted to go to medical ocie
11:54 am
schoolty but harvard medical to artsol did not admit women until 1945, so that was out of the oh question.cis' shehe went to social meetings ah tea parties and decorative artsa and these sorts of things. francis' mother was quite rsmith talented and very skilled as a seamstress and silversmith and jewelry maker, and she raised bees. so young francis, from the time tha she was a toddler and able to hold a knee in her fingers was a learning how to sew, knit and crochet, and she had an interest in miniatures, and they were a thing back in foo thet day, and 1913 she create a miniature of
11:55 am
the entire orchestra, and the display was around eight feet nd long, and there are pieces even finishedin to represent their ' real-lif' counterpart. she had the instruments and did the eveningwear, formal eveningwear that they are her wearing and all of it, and she did this entire display as a thl giftap for her mother in three months, she did 90 pieces in 90 days and the whole thing, and extraordinary work. a the following year she did a thartet which was a string quartet, quite a big deal in tho early 20th century, and they e
11:56 am
were sort of the foo fighters, and they were able to have a following and a fan base and ale the things we take for granted'' today. she museum did in the same scae inch to one foot, and these foud figures and presented them to a museum in switzerland. a she was married and divorced and in 1959 when she was 52 years old, her life took a change and she reacquainted with george mcgrath, and mcgrath had gone to harvard medical school, and was her brother's best friend, georges, they shared the same exrth date and they were best buddies. 190's o was appointed, he was t
11:57 am
medical examiner. in 1907 george mcgrath was medi literally america's first forensic pathologist.d he went to europe to be trained and learned what was then callee legal medicine, and now we callo it forensic medicine. he learned the methods which it came back to the united states h and incorporated into his work d as a medical examiner and into the lectures he gave in teaching medical students about legal cu medicine. mcgrathn gained this representation as a crime al exi doctor. he wasasthe consulting cases a
11:58 am
throughout massachusetts, and new england and all over the place. he was the medicalnormounk o ex the 1919 boston molasses disaster which many people are familiar with.sorts things so,s glessner lee new mcgrath when she was much much younger when she was a 15 year old they went to she and the two so francis knew mcgrath when she was younger, when she was a 15-year-old. it wasn't until 1929 when their hospitalized in boston at the same time and they spent their summer together when he really took the time to explain about his work and about the coroner system and really flipped a switch in her mind and she totally found something that she could really synchrote into and really to occupy her time and she devoted the rest of her life
11:59 am
towards fulfilling george mcgrath's vision for the country in terms of the medical examiner moving away from the corner system to a medical model of scientific based medical examiner system and as we should do for the rest of her life. so these this is these are actually a small part of what she achieves she's mainly known if you read about her online and various places. she's depicted as this eccentric older woman a wealthy older woman who made creepy doll houses and she's known for the dioramas, but really what she actually achieved was much larger much more pivotal. she was a you know, a major injury figure in forensic science. she is almost single-handedly. she is the the person who carried the torch and made sure that medical examiner. grew and flourished in the united states and and for what we have today. that's what she did. the thing was before before her
12:00 pm
homicide seminar. there was no training for police officers and so through their clumsy efforts. they would do things different lack of knowing any better. they would you know roll over a body or move the body or pick up and handle a murder weapon walk through blood put their finger through bullet holes and these sorts of things so there was no training and many police officers. honestly didn't even have high school diploma. so they were education wasn't the highest priority and so, you know, she changed how that in 1945 working mainly with state police. she felt they stay police were a better trained better educated more discipline. and so they covered the whole jurisdiction, so she focused and state police at first and so she and the chairman of the department of legal medicine at harvard dr. alan moore. it's who is there at the time they came up with a very intensive week long homicide seminar five days where they
12:01 pm
would learn about autopsies, so they would watch an autopsies and they learn about strangulation and 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. these are sometimes the only one who are at the scene of a death and so what happens in those first few moments, affects everything else if they compromise something if they if they fail to recognize things that may be significant. then the whole invested 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 or 80 people to a crime scene and have everybody walk around and do things so that was her idea was to create a crime scene that
12:02 pm
you can't walk through. you can only use your eyes and so she created these 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 their intentionally ambiguous. it's not so much to say that this is you know, this is a suicide or this is a homicide. what makes you think so, how what do you see that leads you in that direction, so it's meant for when they have the homicide seminar. they're broken up into groups. and so there might be a team of you know, five six seven officers and their purposefully broken up so you don't get to work with somebody who's with their same department. you have to work with people. you don't know and work together as a team and and the first day of the seminar they're assigned to diorama and they say, you know, yours is a three room dwelling.
12:03 pm
they're giving no direction. they say you're you're dioramas is through room dwelling. you've got the week come back at the end of the week and tell us what you see and that's all they're told so they're on their own. and and that's it. and so these police officers will spend hours hours and hours and hours as they would with the real crime scene and you really need to examine this you have to get down and and really use your eyes and francis had a system to it. she she wanted people she recommended that people start and the left side and you move your eyes in a spiral in a clockwise spiral working towards the middle of the room and you do this to force yourself to look at everything. there's a real tendency towards what we would call selection bias you start to see things and you're beginning to develop a hypothesis in your mind. so there's a tendency toward. only noticing things that sort of fit into your hypothesis and
12:04 pm
overlooking things that don't so a lot of the training inference science and in the homicides seminar is to withhold judgment don't you know, 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 are so many extraneous things red herrings. it really can get overwhelming. you don't know what to look at. so you really are forced to look at everything that something could be it's literally small as the head of a pin and could be significant. so it takes a lot of time to really really examine and look very closely at everything the whole premise is that we uri we are i am the am the investigator arriving at the scene. so you're given very sketchy information. this is preliminary information. this one's called three room dwelling reported to the
12:05 pm
nutshell laboratories and monday, november 1st. 1937. robert judson a foreman and a shoe factory his wife kate judson and their baby linda may judson were discovered dead by paul abbott a neighbor. mr. abbott 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 on monday morning november 1st. he was late around 7:35. so when blowing his horn didn't bring judson out abbott went to the factory without him believing judson would come in on his own car. sarah abbott, paul abbott's wife was also questioned and gave the following statement. after paul left she watched for bob to come out and finally around 8:15 am seeing no signs of activity at the judson 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 this kitchen
12:06 pm
porch. but that door was also locked. she looked in through the glass and then thoroughly aroused by the side of the gun and the blood she ran home and notified the police. this model shows the premises just before mrs. abbott went to the house. and then it beneath that it says no to bene note. well don broke around 5 am sunrise is 6:17 weather is clear. no lights related 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 something 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.
12:07 pm
she's purposely obscured people. so you're left with this uneasy feeling you want to see more you want to reach in there and and roll him over so you can see his face. you can't do that. so it's very interesting that she withhold so much information. this one is that one of the largest one 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 and the other room. and there's 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 and having these done.
12:08 pm
there's a newspaper here on the floor, which is from the batavia herald. there is a batavia new york. it's not that batavia. that's from the batavia, illinois. and 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's a little sieve there on the right and then a hand mixer and i guess that's a potato ricer. but that hand mixer second from the right is actually a charm bracelet charm and that's made out of gold that she had painted to look like steel just to have a little due dead hanging beneath the cabinet. again, what that one item cost? it was not not cheap, but she had to have it. she the iron, that's on top of
12:09 pm
the stove here. that happens to be a 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 the barrel of the shotgun i found the receipts. the guy who made it lived in virginia. that barrel is a nail that's the has been drilled out lengthwise through the nail. there's a really cool sewing machine over here. and if you look really really closely. not only is there a needle in the sewing machine, but it's threaded. there's a little bobbin and a needle threaded in his sewing machine. it has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but there it is. so is this mind blowing just absolutely mind blowing the kinds of things that are in here. and that's just one, you know one quick glance at one diorama. i have not looked at the
12:10 pm
solutions the solutions are kept under lock and key so, i don't know. you know the actual written solutions, but i've heard so much about them that i think i know an awful lot about them, but there is still 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. there's you recognize something different see something i never seen before. there's just no into it. you know as i said each one of these costs. about what it costs to build a real house. so this cost. thousands of dollars to make and then she burned it. she used to blow torch to burn it. well this one actually in the book you can read what this is based on. this is called burn cabin and is reported to nutshell laboratory sunday, august 15th. 1943. and nutshell laboratories was a was a construct. it was a fiction.
12:11 pm
that that francis glistenerly created and that there's this, you know fictional laboratory in boston. daniel perkins was missing and presumed dead philip perkins. daniel perkins's 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'd been very confused and could not remember any other details. joseph mccarthy and driver of the fire engine number six was questioned and gave the following statement. the call of the fire was received at 1:30 am sunday, august 15th upon arrival of the fire engine. the fire was quickly extinguished before the building was completely destroyed. he noticed philip perkins fully clothed to windering around near the house.
12:12 pm
the model represents the premises 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 130 in the morning. he says by the time he was wandering around the nephew. the fire engines were arriving fire engines get there and they say the nephews 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 almost got away with the perfect murder and in reading and reading the the accounts of it. this was a case that was investigated by george mcgrath. and i was reading about the florence small case and what he did was. to frederick small rigged up an alarm clock to detonate hours after he had an alibi.
12:13 pm
he went into boston. he was ours away and out of the bloom. the house you're ups in the flames and wife is found dead. and it turned out that he said it using an alarm clock. so after i read this i was so excited. oh my god. oh my god. i gotta go to the office. i gotta go to the office. is there an alarm clock? i'm looking look they're in the dresser. there's an alarm clock. well, there you go. unbelievable it's not what happened in this particular scenario, but i just i knew this this got to be based on the frederick small and and the alarm clock just sealed it for me. this is the only interactive one. and it's called unpapered bedroom. i can open it up. but if you pull this up you can look under the pillow. but i mean if you look it's the plaster has been patched. i don't know how she did that but those walls have been patched before if you look in
12:14 pm
the corner, it's just i'm just just the linoleum and sad, you know, it's just sort of the walls are kind of grimy. there's smudges around a light switch and you know, it's just just seems sad. and this says that there was reported a nutshell laboratories and march 31st. 1942. there is mrs. rose fishman. he's a widow. she's found dead by samuel weiss. the janitor and mr. weiss was questioning gave the following statement several tenants had complained of an odor and march 30th. he began looking for the source of the odor mrs. fishman didn't answer her bell and he rang it and upon checking with other tenants. he learned that she had not been seen recently therefore. he looked into her mailbox and saw that her mel had accumulated for several days. he answered mrs. fisherman's apartment found it in order, but the order was very strong the bathroom door was closed and when he tried to open the door,
12:15 pm
he could only go get it open a little way and the odor was much much stronger. so he immediately went downstairs and climbed into the fire escape to enter the bathroom through the window. he could not remember if he found the window open or closed the model shows the premises as he found him. so this is the moment. whether you let the janitor claims that he this is exactly the way you found things. so, that's all you have to start with. these statements could be incomplete. they could be wrong people could be lying, you know people who commit crimes. cover up their their tracks and so it's 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. some of them the takeaway is something's not right. there's an inconsistency between what you're being told and what
12:16 pm
you see something one of the other is incorrect. and so that's really the only thing you're supposed to get away from it takeaway is that something's not right. this may be staged and that's the lesson that's 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 you know, emotional impact per square 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 schmutz and the wall from the heating vent. the worn spots and the linoleum and if you look very carefully beneath the sink. the boards are water stained. that they have dripped in the past. and so the whole thing. when when you sort take
12:17 pm
everything together. is this gorgeous english 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 is sort of alluding to the changes that went on were these grand mansions were broken up into boarding have a boarding rooms and and these sorts of things boarding houses and rented out into apartments and these sorts of things. and i think that's what she's suggesting here reported a nutshell laboratories by desk sergeant moriarty of the central city police as he recalled it. maggie wilson was found dead by lizzie miller ms. miller was able to supply the following information. is miller roomed in the same house as maggie wilson but knew her only as they met in the hall he thought maggie was a subject to fits seizures a couple of
12:18 pm
male friends came to see maggie fairly regularly. and sunday night in early november in 1896 the men were there. and there was a good deal of drinking going on sometime after they left lizzy heard that the water was still running in the bathroom upon opening the door. she found at the scene as set forth in the model. so this is the moment that her. turning other tenant resident open up the door and found her like this. but there's the detail work that's in it. the the linoleum in front of the commode is worn down where the feet would be and there's warren spots in front of the door. now the only way to do that is to put a piece of cloth on your finger and you spend hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours rubbing it and that's what you do. that's how you make that weren't spot. you have to wear it down and there's there's so much.
12:19 pm
empathy that's in this room. to really pick up a nose details. i mean 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. that's just so depressing it is so it's just so sad. the water flowing on her face is cellophane tape. it must be original 1940 cellophane tape. it has never been replaced which i think is incredible that it's not yellowed and cracked and crumbled. this one's called saloon in jail. as reported to nutshell laboratory sunday, november 12. 1944 frank harris who's a docked laborer was found dead in a jail cell after having been found long on the street by city
12:20 pm
patrolman dennis mulcahy. patrolman mckay, he stated that on saturday night, november 11th 1944 at half past eleven o'clock. he was walking his beat and dock street, and he saw a man lying sprawled out on the sidewalk in front of pat's place a saloon. the man was breathing and smelt strongly of liquor the patrolman called for the wagon which took the man to station to where he was locked up in a single cell. his union cardboard the name of frank harris address at seven and a half water street, and he appeared to be very drunk. there were no remarks of violence on him. on sunday morning, november 12th at seven o'clock when rounds were made in station 2 mr. harris 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 there's so many red herrings. there's a brick there's a banana peel. all these things are suggest violence.
12:21 pm
francis had such a sense of humor. inside the jail cell. there's graffiti. scroll down the wall. you can't see it unless you're inside the gels you can't see it. you notice that there's there's this post there's this thing sticking up there inside 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 were six inches tall you walk inside and turn around and take a look. it had never seen the light a day before. this is another one just got great depth to it and the outdoors light and just got sunlight and all these things going on. kitchen reported to nutshell laboratories, wednesday, april 12th, 1944 barbara burns a housewife was found dead by police responded to a call from the husband of the victim fred
12:22 pm
barnes. will give the following statement. around 4 pm on the afternoon of tuesday, april 11th 1944. he had gone downtown on an errand for his wife. he returned around an hour and a half later and found the outside door to the kitchen locked. he was standing open. it was standing open when he left mr. burns attempted knocking and calling but got no answer. you 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 is this one's called blue bedroom. is reported to a nutshell laboratories and november 3rd 1943. charles logan and employee in a box factory was discovered dead
12:23 pm
by his wife carolyn logan mrs. logan gave the following statements. 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 thereafter heard a shot. she ran upstairs and found a situation as illustrated by the model. there you go. she's downstairs. here's 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 out from within the dioramas. i've always loved that backdrop. it is so cool. and when i got here, there's a
12:24 pm
light bulb this 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 and looking in there. and i saw that there are outlets up here. that there are outlets. it was no bulbas in them. so i found some bulbs that fit. there's like christmas tree lights and put them in there. and there were white lights and it looked all wrong. it is totally it was to break because it's supposed to be near midnight. it couldn't be right. so when the smithsonian's here, i don't even know if we can do this. it was written here he said blue and green. so francis had written that. yep. and nobody knew it.
12:25 pm
so the smithsonian guys go. wow, you know, we're gonna have to we got got to figure this out. get the right colors and when they put the green and blue bulbs in there, it gives it this. totally different look to it. it's this sort of you know light pollution and nighttime kind of gloomy. totally changed the character of the of the look of it. they were an exhibit at the smithsonian. this is the poster from it was called burgers or hobby. there are an exhibit from october of 2017 till end of january 2018. and at the renwick gallery, which is on pennsylvania avenue right across the street from the white house. and at the time it was just bunkers and around 100,000 people went to go see the exhibit. it was their first and only
12:26 pm
public exhibition. and it was the second most popular exhibit at the renwick gallery's history. up until that time. and as a part of in order to move these things. 35 miles down the street to washington dc they needed to be cleaned. they need to be not repaired but a strengthened the burn cabin and this is actual burn material all this wood. and so there are parts of it are literally tissue thin. and so you can't just pick this up and hold it on your lap and take it down to dc. it would just crumble but there is some sort of polymer that it didn't even brush it on. it was dripped down the wood and the wood absorbs it so it's strengthened it without changing the the color or the shininess or anything is totally transparent, but this is all
12:27 pm
been strengthened and secured when they do conservation. 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 had their hands on these there these were all on incandescent lights. which generated heat? francis was very creative in sourcing materials. she used, you know incandescent like, you know refrigerator lights. they're big light bulbs turn signal lights. they track down the origins of all the bulbs that they found there were flashlights turn signal lights marine lights all these things which are getting hard to find for one thing. secondly was that they generated a lot of heat so that was damaging and ultraviolet rays, and the third thing was that some were flickering the what is a striped bedroom that was flickering and it totally freaked them out because that
12:28 pm
meant that they're loose wires and there is a risk of fire. so what they did was scott president roosevelt, who is their lighting designer at the smithsonian devised miniature lights? all of these lights are custom made and this light bulb is actually that's an led. that they have fabricated to resemble they are mimicking vintage 1940s incandescent lights. but every light now is a computer-controlled. this is all absolutely custom-made. nothing's off. the shelf every bulb is on its own computer-controlled circuit and you can change the the the brightness and you can adjust it that way so they're in such a condition now. these bulbs should never burn out in my lifetime. you should all be good for
12:29 pm
generations. so, what's your job here? and how did you get involved in this my job here? i am the executive assistant to the chief medical examiner. and i 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 studies of unexplained death in 1992 for a newspaper the american medical association. so i knew about them. i knew about francis, but that absolutely nothing to for me getting the job here. i got the job because my first career before as a journalist was i was was an emt and a paramedic. and in 2012, i was working for a network of hyperlocal news websites. and i arranged a visit.
12:30 pm
with those about 12 of us editors who came through here at the time. this building was brand new. and while we're in a tour they mentioned. so many mentioned that yeah, we got this new position as an executive assistant for the chief. they're looking for somebody with the medical background and media experience and comfortable, you know dealing with members of the public lawyers and police and so yeah, i got i got the job and and these literally fell on my lap it was you know, i was here for a while and jerry d. who's the keeper of the secrets, you know practically through the keys at me. they're here you deal with it. now you can change the light bulbs. it's all yours you you know, so i did. and i i was acquiring material. i would find documents related to the nutshells and old photos any sorts of of things. so that's basically curating. and and i just was gathering this material and whenever somebody wanted to come in and
12:31 pm
videotape or photograph them. they would be sent to me when people would come and visit they'd say, is there a biography about her? no, there's no biography. and you know, it just really it was frustrating reading about her on online and reading what people would write about her and there's so much misinformation that these things and they keep getting repeated over and over and over again people would read the same things and do their own spin on the same stories. and there's this persistence story that she was forbidden to go to college by her parents, which is absolutely not true. there's no evidence that that's the case at all. she wanted to go to harvard medical school and harvard medical school didn't admit women. that's the truth. that's what happened those sorts of things. so, you know, it really was obvious that her this was a piece of american history it's a piece of forensic science history policing history. that was totally overlooked and
12:32 pm
never been written about she was known among certain people. she's known by miniaturist. she's known by, you know certain weird people who are into morbid things, but you know, she was not, you know, she was literally the mother of forensic saying she was the first woman to be a commissioned as a police captain in the united states in 1943. so you know, 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 in favorite was released in february of 2020 by sourcebooks 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 francis
12:33 pm
established her homicide seminar at harvard medical school in boston in 1945, and she though his shoes based their the program that she established in in legal medicine at the medical school. that was all up in boston. she died in 1962 and boston harvard medical school lost interest and they didn't want to have anything to do with the department of legal medicine and they eventually pulled the plug on it. they just discontinued the whole department and they were really ready to get rid of the homicide seminar. the harvard did not like the idea of cops city cops being in 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
12:34 pm
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 she died in 1962 russell fisher went to harvard and said, you know, we'll pick up the homicide seminar. we'll just move it down to baltimore and we'll do it down here. so they said great take him with you and they moved down here in 1968 and they've been here ever since. so they're here on permanent loan for the purpose of teaching. and we've had now the homicide seminar here in baltimore. it's been over. it's been over it was fifty years. it's a long time. well other artifacts from a different era when i first saw these in 1992. i always just swept away by the art and and i i was you know initially interested. in their craft and their art, you know, so and that's what got me drawn into him, but these are
12:35 pm
a truly one of a kind collection of artifacts. that are pivotal in the history of forensic science, and they are just as valuable. today as they were in 1945. some of them i mean it may look a little dated, but honestly some of these if you put a little laptop computer in living room or something like that, it could pass for almost there's not you know hasn't changed all that much and the thing is that sadly the facts of violent death haven't changed all that much. there's not a you know, a new millennium way of killing people, you know, there's still blades and bullets and poisons and strangling and these sorts of things. so that's that's pretty timeless. so and in that regard except for these superficial details of you know, looking a little dated in the cold stove and those sort of stuff they're still as relevant today as they were then but you know, they're important because because of what they represent
12:36 pm
and they represent this earlier time and they're still there's nothing else else like it i've seen state of the art virtual reality simulations and these sorts of things and it doesn't come close. there's no replacement for a real three-dimensional object to look at weeknights this month, we're featuring american history tv programs for what is available on c-span three. tonight cabinet secretaries, and as ronald reagan's white house chief of staff and treasury secretary. he is interviewed about leadership and his career by attorney and historian, thomas
12:37 pm
boston, hosted by baylor university law school. enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. american history tv on c-span 3, every weekend documenting america's story and funding for american history tv come from these companies who support c-span 3 as a public service. university of georgia professor steven barry teaches a class about corners in the south in the 19th century. he 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 an hour a

18 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on