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FORENSIC SCIENCE


150AD: Graeco-Roman physician Galen first to perform autopsies

1248: China – His Yuan Lu is first text published on Forensic Medicine

1312: Mondino dei Liucci was the first European to conduct an autopsy for the court

1507: Italy – first medico-legal book published in Europe

1543: Andress Versalius published Humani Corporis Fabrica

1550: Ambroise Pare, Fortuanto Fidelis, & Paolo Zacchia first practitioners of forensic medicine in Europe

1611: Testimony in England re the date of a paper document determined the outcome of a legal dispute

1622: An Italian pamphlet was published on the science of graphology

1640: Two German doctors Bohn and Michaelis lectured on violent death at the University of Leipzig

1647: First autopsies were carried out in Massachusetts

1682: Dr. Schreyer devised the first standardized procedure in forensic medicine

1684: England – Nehemiah Grew published the first work on fingerprints. The book did not concern the identification potentials of fingerprints.

1689: France – an investigator tried to use the attacker’s hair found in the victim’s hand as evidence against him. He failed because human hair and animal hair could not be distinguished at this time.

1700: Italian Giovanni Morgagni founded the science of pathology

1774: England – Forgery was proven in a contested will case

1795: Dr. Andrew Duncan, University of Edinburgh, was first English lecturer on forensic medicine

1796: Two major books were published on forensic medicine in France and Italy

1808: The Code Napoleon established the role of forensic medicine

1810: Germany – The first attempt to use science to determine forgery

1811: A Belgian physician made studies of rigor mortis

1813: The first professorship of medical jurisprudence established at American College of Physicians & Surgeons, NYC
------- England – first book on Toxicology published

1823: England – fingerprints first classified by J.E. Purkinje

1826: First successful photograph taken

1832: England – Technique to identify arsenic traces developed

1835: French forensic pathologist Devergie published Medecine legale, theorique et pratique

1840: Journal lists 22 forensic pathologists in the world, they are all Europeans

1844: England – Surgeon A.S. Taylor teaches forensic medicine at Guy’s Hospital, London
------ A jail in Brussels begins to photograph criminals’ faces

1849: Webster-Parkman Case – U.S. Forensic Dentistry

1856: German pathologist Johann L. Casper published Practical Manual of Forensic Medicine

1858: William Herschel took palm prints of natives in India for non-criminal ID purposes

1859: Photography was first used as evidence in a California case

1863: German scientist Schonbein found a way to generally ID bloodstains

1869: German Emil Pfaff wrote the first treatise on the forensic aspects of hair

1874: Dr. Theodor Billroth guessed that all human blood is not the same

1875: The Sylvia Howland will case at New Bedford, MA was the first major U.S. questioned documents case
------ French pathologist Ambroise wrote of death by suffocation and bullet wounds
------ Italian physiologist Mosso studied scientific lie detection

1875-1900: In England, Forensic Medicine was not used in crime detection. In Europe it was fully recognized

1876: French scientist Albert Florence developed a way to detect semen traces
------ Italian Cesare Lombroso wrote, The Criminal Man

1877: Elective coroners were abolished in Boston
------ Joseph T. Lewis Case – U.S. – Questioned Documents
------ Thomas Edison invented a voiceprint machine, its potential in crime detection was unknown

1878: Fire victims in a Vienna Opera House were identified by their teeth
------ Massachusetts became the first state to abolish the office of coroner

1879: The Affray at Brownsville, Texas firearms identification case
------ Englishman Francis Galton studied word association tests as a method of lie detection

1880: Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne was appointed the head of the Lyons Institute of Forensic Medicine in France
------ Englishman Henry Faulds wrote on the subject of fingerprints. He was the first to consider fingerprints as a method of crime detection.

1881: Alphonse Bertillon established his Bureau of Judicial Identification, making it the first organized effort to take and preserve photographs of criminals.

1882: German pathologist Edward von Hofman determined how to tell is a person was alive at the time of a fire or burned after death.

1883: Frenchman Alphonse Bertillon, the father of scientific crime detection, made his first anthropometric criminal identification

1889: Eyraud and Bompard Case – France – forensic medicine

1891: Carlyle Harris Case – U.S. – Toxicology
------ In Argentina, Juan Vucetich developed his own method of fingerprint classification

1892: Sir Francis Galton, English biologist, wrote the first book on the classification of fingerprints

1893: Austrian lawyer and judge Hans Gross, the co-father or scientific crime detection, published his famous text on criminal investigation

1894: Dryfus Case – France – Treason/questioned documents

1895: German physicist William Roetgen discovered X-ray photography
------ U.S. court denied a hypnotist’s testimony in a criminal case

1896: Argentina was the first country to base its identification system on fingerprints
------ Adolf Beck Case – England – fingerprints

1898: Molyneux Case – U.S. – questioned documents
------ German scientist Paul Jeserich began comparing bullets in his crime laboratory

1900: Daniel T. Ames published the first book on questioned documents
------ American physician wrote article in Buffalo Medical Journal re barrel marks on bullets
------ Englishman Sir Richard Henry devised a system of classifying fingerprints. In 1901 he published his book, Classification and Uses of Fingerprints.
------ Rice – Hendon Case – U.S. – questioned documents

1901: German Paul Uhlenhuth distinguished human from animal blood
------ German Karl Landsteiner discovered that blood can be grouped

1902: German Max Richter grouped dried bloodstains
------ First U.S. case allowing the comparison of questioned and test bullets
------ Alphonse Bertillon took the first photograph of a latent fingerprint
------ John Glaister, Professor of forensic medicine, Glasgow University, published the classic Medical Jurisprudence and Forensic Toxicology
------ American Robert Wood demonstrated the criminalistic use of the ultraviolet light

1903: London – A law required city hospitals to furnish coroners with pathology services
------ Swiss Rudolph Reiss published, Judicial Photography

1904: U.S. – fingerprinting was adopted at Sing Sing and three other penitentiaries
------ St. Louis became the first U.S. police department to use fingerprinting
------ Lucie Berlin Case – U.S. – forensic serology
------ John Wigmore, Dean of Northwestern University Law School, published, Wigmore on Evidence
------ NYPD Sergeant Joseph Faurot was sent to Scotland Yard to learn about fingerprinting
------ The chief of Colorado Springs police department made an attempt to ID a body by its teeth

1905: Dr. Paul Brouardel was the leading forensic pathologist in France
------ Alfred Stratton Case – England – fingerprints

1906: Dr. George Burgess Magrath was appointed Medical Examiner in Boston
------ Russia, Norway, and Sweden changed from Bertillonage to fingerprinting
------ England – a bite mark identification was made from a piece of cheese left at crime scene

1908: Italy – Dr. Ottologhi founded the scientific police school of Rome
------ England – Bernard Spilsbury was appointed senior pathologist at St. Mary’s Hospital
------ Margarethe Filbert Case – Germany – forensic serology

1909: A San Diego Dentist identified a murder victim from dental remains
------ Pallot Case – France – criminalistics
------ Germaine Bichon Case – France – hair clue

1910: Frenchman Edmond Locard started a police lab in Lyons, France. It became the Institute of Criminalistics, University of Lyons
------ American Albert S. Osborn published the first authoritative text on questioned documents
------ By now almost every country in the world (except France) had given up Bertillonage in favor of fingerprinting
------ American Dr. Alexander Gettler became a famous toxicologist at Bellevue Hospital, NYC
------ Frenchman Victor Balthazard published a text on human and animal hair
------ Frederick A. Brayley published the first American book on fingerprints

1911: U.S. – The Jennings fingerprint case in Chicago. Fingerprint evidence accepted by court

1912: Hans Gross opened one of the first European criminalistic institutes at the University of Graz in Austria
------ Dr. Victor Balthazard began comparing and photographing bullets in France

1913: German criminalist August Bruning solved a burglary case using tool mark and trace evidence
------ U.S. – A federal law made handwriting samples admissible in federal court

1914: Alphonse Bertillon died and fingerprints were officially adopted in France

1915: German forensic scientist Robert Heindl started a police lab at Dresden
------ American William Marston began studying the effects of lying on blood pressure
------ George Joseph Smith Case – England – forensic medicine
------ Italian Leone Lattes began grouping dried bloodstains – advancing the work of Max Richter
------ U.S. – the Institute of Applied Science was founded in Chicago by T. Dickerson Cooke
------ The Charlie Stielow murder case involving firearms identification and Charles Waite, the American ballistic pioneer.

1916: Frederick Kuhne published the first authoritative American book on fingerprinting
------ A Berkeley, California criminalist was the first American to use a vacuum cleaner to collect dust from a suspect’s clothes
------ American Charles E. Waite began collecting data on all firearms made in the U.S.
------ The first U.S. case where a corpse was identified by reconstructing a face from its skull

1918: Dr. Charles Norris was appointed the first Chief Medical Examiner of NYC

1919: Edward Oscar Heinrich set up the first crime laboratory in the U.S.

1920: Sacco-Vanzetti Case – U.S. – ballistics
------ Edmond Locard identified and studied a long list of trace evidence
------ Bernard Spilsbury began teaching at London’s St. Bartholomew’s hospital

1921: American psychiatrist Dr. John A. Larson developed the forerunner to the modern polygraph
------ Dr. Alexander Gettler found a way of telling if a person drowned in fresh or salt water
------ The U.S. Treasury Department established the position of document examiner
------ An Oregon court accepted ballistics testimony concerning cartridge shell markings

1922: The Bureau of Forensic Ballistics was formed in NYC by Calvin H. Goddard, Charles E. Waite, P.O. Gravelle, and John Fischer

1923: The comparison microscope was invented by Goddard and Waite
------ The LAPD started its forensic science laboratory
------ Italian Leone Lattes was the first to solve a crime through the grouping of dried bloodstains
------ U.S. – The first time a court considered polygraph results as evidence – the evidence was not admitted due to the lack of scientific reliability of the technique
------ German criminalist August Bruning published an important work on trace evidence

1924: Leopold and Loeb Case – U.S. – questioned documents
------ Louis Boulay Case – French – trace evidence
------ Lee Stack Case – Egypt – Ballistics
------ Frenchman Edmond Bayle established a crime lab at the Surete. He did pioneer work in fields of spectroanalysis, ultraviolet rays, and spectrophotometry.
------ Europe – the courts recognized Dr. Karl Landsteiner’s blood grouping tests

1925: John N. Thorne Case – England – forensic medicine
------ English forensic pathologist Sydney Smith published, Text-book of Forensic Medicine. Smith was one of the first forensic pathologists to study ballistics, at this time ballistic experts were usually gunsmiths. Smith was one of the most versatile of period

1927: Browne and Kennedy Case – England – ballistics

1928: Helmuth Daube Case – Germany – forensic serology

1929: Erich Tetzner Case – Germany – forensic medicine
------ St. Valentine’s Day Massacre – U.S. – ballistics, forensic medicine
------ William Podmore Case – England – hair clues and photography

1930: Germany had the lead in the field of forensic medicine. Most murder cases included the work of a forensic pathologist. The German forensic pathologist, Dr. Richard Kockel, a leader in his field, believed that forensic pathologists should expand into other non-medical, criminalistic fields.
------ A scientific crime detection lab was established in Chicago with Calvin Goddard its first director
------ Harry Battley, head of the criminal records bureau at Scotland Yard, invented a system of classifying and filing single fingerprints
------ Franz Josef Holzer of Innsbruck, developed a simplified procedure of grouping dried bloodstains

1931: Infrared photography could be taken as simply as regular photographs
------ A U.S. court admitted evidence related to Landstiner’s blood grouping tests
------ Vera Page Case – England – textile clue
------ English forensic scientist John Glaister published an enormous study of hair
------ Swiss criminalist Harry Soderman became the head of the Institute of Police Science at the University of Stockholm

1932: The FBI started its crime laboratory
------ Lindbergh Case – U.S. – questioned documents

1933: American criminalist Luke S. May started a crime lab for the Seattle Police Department

1934: Skin specialists from Northwestern University identified the fingerprints of a man who had tried to have them removed
------ Since 1901, Scotland Yard had made 400,000 fingerprint identifications

1935: Dr. Buck Ruxton Case – England – Forensic medicine
------ Thomas A, Gonzales took over as the 2nd chief medical examiner of NYC at the death of Dr. Charles Norris
------ Japanese serologists began looking into the possibility that group O could be subgrouped
------ The Royal Canadian Mounted Police used its first police dog
------ By this time, all U.S. courts admitted testimony concerning the comparison of known and questioned handwriting
------ England – The Metropolitan Police Lab was started in London
------ Russian Mikhaih Gersimov reconstructed a recognizable human face from its skull

1936: Two scientists in Denmark started experimenting with Neutron Activation Analysis

1937: Walter Specht of Jena developed the luminol procedure to detect the presence of blood
------ The Royal Canadian Mounted Police established its first crime laboratory at Regina, Saskatchewan
------ Forensic Pathology was first taught at the Harvard Medical School
------ Arthur Perry Case – England – Forensic serology

1938: New York City’s first serological laboratory was started
------ England – The Home Office added 6 regional crime laboratories

1939: Pamela Coventry Case – England – forensic serology
------ American anthropologist Ernest Hooton refined Lombroso’s theories regarding the physical characteristics of criminals
------ Walter Dinivan Case – England – forensic serology
------ The U.S. Post Office established its questioned documents lab

1940-1946: Europe – Scientific work in criminalistics severely slowed down by WWII

1940: Russia – Scientists found that blood reliquefies after death
------ By this time there were forensic science institutes and crime labs all over the world
------ Samuel Morgan Case – England – textile clue

1941: Swiss forensic serologist Franz Josef Holzer discovered blood factors M and N. At this time scientists knew that all human secretions have group characteristics

1942: Harry Dobkins Case – England – forensic dentistry

1943: Police Department at Glasgow, Scotland started a crime lab
------ Persico Case – U.S. – forensic serology

1945-1955: French, British, and American serologists made many advances in forensic serology

1945: “Drunkometer” developed by Dr. R.N. Harger of Indiana University

1946: Germany – Robert Heindl formed a police laboratory at Munich

1947: An American court admitted a recorded confession
------ Dr. Bernard Spilsbury killed himself

1948: The American Academy of Forensic Science was founded
------ Only 6 or so U.S. city police departments had crime labs
------ Peter Griffiths Case – England – fingerprinting
------ John Holmstrom replaced O.W. Wilson as head of the Institute of Criminology and Criminalistics at the University of California at Berkeley

1949: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police established a major crime lab in Quebec
------ Criminalists, in an English murder case, matched the victim’s bite marks with the defendant’s teeth
------ Albert Guay Case – Canada – explosive traces

1950-1959: Forensic medicine began losing its position as the center of forensic science

1950: Of 70 coroners in Wisconsin, 33 were morticians

1951: The French toxicologist Henri Griffon was the first to use Neutron Activation Analysis to detect traces of poison in hair
------ Swiss criminalist Max Frei-Sulzer was the first to use adhesive tape at the crime scene to collect microscopic trace evidence

1952: Gas Chromatography was, by this time, perfected

1953: California criminalist, and professor of criminalistics at Berkeley, Paul Kirk published Crime Investigation. It would become a classic text
------ Swiss forensic scientist Ernst P. Martin was head of the Basel Police Department crime lab where he did important work concerning the identification of paper and writing materials

1954: Dr. Milton Helpern became the 3rd chief medical examiner of New York City
------ Sam Sheppard Case – U.S. – forensic serology/forensic hypnosis

1955: Canadian Robert E. Jervis, in 3 cases, made the first practical application of Neutron Activation Analysis to determine traces of poison
------ American forensic pathologists Lemoyne Snyder developed Quieloscopy

1956: Boost Case – Germany – forensic serology

1958: Charles Zumbach Case – Switzerland – forensic serology
------ Gaestave Bouchard Case – Canada – NAA
------ English criminalist Wilson R. Harrison published Suspect Documents: Their Scientific Examination
------ German and Swiss serologists discovered how to group blood through microscopic examination

1960: Graeme Thorne Case – Australia – forensic botany
------ Stephen Bradley Case – Australia – forensic botany

1961: Nuetron Activation Analysis was being tested at U.S. atomic laboratories

1962: Lina Lindorfer Case – Germany – forensic serology
------ The Milton Helpern Library of Legal Medicine was opened in New York City

1963: J.F. Kennedy Assassination Case – U.S. – Ballistics and forensic medicine
------ Flosky – Budin Case – Germany – textile clue

1964: An American court admitted Neutron Activation Analysis evidence for the first time
------ The Psychological Stress Evaluator (PSE) was invented by Alan Bell, Col. Charles McQuiston, and Wilson Ford

1965: Only seven states had, by this time, adopted a medical examiners system
------ The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) was perfected for ciminalistic use

1966: The first time a defendant in a criminal case was convicted on voiceprint evidence
------ England – Two biologists were looking into the possibility of individualized blood characteristics
------ The International Reference Organization in Forensic Medicine (INFORM) was established by William Eckert at Wichita, Kansas
------ The Central Research Establishment was created at Aldermaston, England

1967: John Norman Collins Case – U.S. – forensic serology
------ Dr. Carl Coppolino Case – U.S. – toxicology and forensic hypnosis

1968: Robert Kennedy Assassination Case – U.S. – ballistics
------ British forensic scientist H.J. Walls published, Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific Crime Detection

1969: There were only 3 major forensic odontology departments in the world’s dental schools

1970: Paul Kirk died while his work, Criminal Investigation, was being revised
------- The FBI Crime Lab handled 42,000 major criminal cases

1971: The FBI devised a digital code identification system for sex offenders

1973: In the U.S., there were only a few universities or institutes that contributed to the work and advancement of the forensic sciences
------- Europe – Universities, institutes, and special police personnel contributed jointly to forensic science
------- England and Wales – All of the crime labs were under the same administration, unlike the system in America
------- Scotland – most of the work in the forensic science field came out of the universities

1977: England – The North Eastern Forensic Laboratory was opened

1978: The forensic science labs in Great Britain handled over 50,000 major criminal cases
------- Ted Bundy Case – U.S. – forensic dentistry

1979: England – The Home Office spent 5 million pounds this year on forensic science services
------- England – The forensic science research branch of the Home Office announced advances in forensic serology


This page was last updated on: Monday, January 14, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com

								

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