Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

  • Glessner House Museum 1800 South Prairie Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60616 United States

The Glessners' daughter, Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962), is known as the "Mother of CSI" for her work in establishing and professionalizing the field of forensic science.  In the 1930s, she endowed the first department of legal medicine in the United States at Harvard.  Less than a decade later, she completed work on a series of 18 meticulously detailed miniature crime scenes, known as the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, which were used by state police and medical examiners to hone their skills at investigating crime scenes.  Lee became so well respected in the field that she was appointed the first female state police captain in the United States.

In this illustrated lecture by Executive Director and Curator William Tyre, we will follow the path of her life from a privileged upbringing at 1800 South Prairie Avenue to her work at Harvard and her lasting impact on the field of legal medicine.  A special treat will be the display of an extraordinary artist's book entitled Fanny and the Doll Corpse, an historical novel and book set created in 2016 by author Don Widmer, who will be on hand to explain the creation of his special tribute to Frances Glessner Lee.

The event is taking place one day after what would have been Lee's 139th birthday, so birthday cake will be served as well!!

$10 per person / $8 for members (member coupon code required)

Purchase tickets