2018-10-22: New NH Historical Highway Marker honors ‘Mother of Forensic Science’2018-12-18T15:40:40-05:00


Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources
Twitter: @NHDNCR

New NH Historical Highway Marker honors ‘Mother of Forensic Science’

The N.H. Division of Historical Resources is pleased to announce that a New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker has been installed on Route 302 in Bethlehem to honor Frances Glessner Lee and her influence on the field of forensic science.

The marker reads:

“Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962). ‘Mother of Forensic Science.’

“Here at the Rocks, her family’s summer estate, this Chicago heiress pursued her passion for criminology in the 1940s-50s with the creation of 20 miniature dioramas depicting actual crime scenes with detailed accuracy. Called the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, the dioramas were based on crime scene statements and photographs, and were used to train homicide detectives. In recognition of her may contributions to forensic science, Glessner Lee as appointed an honorary Captain of the New Hampshire State Police in 1943.”

Glessner Lee reportedly was the model for the character Jessica Fletcher on the television show “Murder She Wrote.” Her dioramas are still used for training by the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Any municipality, agency, organization or individual wishing to propose a historical highway marker to commemorate significant New Hampshire places, persons or events must submit a petition of support signed by at least 20 New Hampshire residents. They must also draft the text of the marker and provide footnotes and copies of supporting documentation, as well as a suggested location for marker placement.

New Hampshire’s historical highway markers illustrate the depth and complexity of our history and the people who made it, from the last Revolutionary War soldier to contemporary sports figures to poets and painters who used New Hampshire for inspiration; from 18th-century meeting houses to stone arch bridges to long-lost villages; from factories and cemeteries to sites where international history was made.

An interactive map of all of the state’s historical highway markers is available at the N.H. Division of Historical Resources’ website, nh.gov/nhdhr.

The New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker program is jointly managed by the N.H. Division of Historical Resources and N.H. Department of Transportation.