I honestly, for the life of me, cannot recall how I came about reading articles on Frances Glessner Lee, but I'm so glad I did.
The patron saint of police, Frances Glessner Lee, had always had an interest in forensic science.
She was denied a formal education in medicine and law and instead was married off to an attorney in training. During her time as a stay home wife and mother she pursued other hobbies at home such as sewing, art projects and making miniatures and doll houses.
Three children and many years later in the 1940’s, the marriage had ended in divorce and that nagging passion in forensics reared its persistent head again- this time as an interest in crime. This interest was inspired by the hundreds of cases that she had notice go unsolved.
She noticed that the authorities seemed to be largely untrained in solving murder cases, and so following a hefty inheritance she dedicated her time, knowledge, funds and energy to helping provide proper police training in the art of evidence collecting and file building.
She liaised with witnesses of crimes, local people, police who were at the scene as well as morgue staff who dealt with the body, in order to collect statements and evidence to put together case files.
Her favorite pastime of miniature model making came in extremely useful as a training tool to officers and investigators as she crafted small models of rooms, furniture and victims to use in demonstrations when training. Murder weapons, unchecked mail, position of furniture, stained clothing and fabrics were pointed out as important clues to solve the case.
These impressively detailed hand crafted tiny crime scene dioramas came to be known as “The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death”.
You can interactively explore the nutshells here and try to solve the crimes [X]
All images are from the deathindiorama site.