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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Playing the Torturer, By Small and Small

Image result for Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death 
The notion of memorializing a crime in miniature caught our eye this Sunday morning, if only because it reminded us of the dollhouse room in the Childermass Clock, itself a rather macabre monument to Childermass family secrets.

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death are a series of intricately-designed dollhouse-style dioramas created by Frances Glessner Lee (1878–1962), a pioneer in forensic science.  Glessner Lee used her inheritance to establish a department of legal medicine at Harvard Medical School in 1936, and donated the first of the Nutshell Studies in 1946 for use in lectures on the subject of crime scene investigation. In 1966, the department was dissolved, and the dioramas went to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore, Maryland, where they are on permanent loan and still used for forensic seminars.  The 2012 documentary "Of Dolls and Murder" celebrates Glessner Lee and her creations, the latter of which were the focus of a story on CBS-TV's Sunday Morning.

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