The Beginning of our Serialized Exhibit
A Picnic Tragedy
Leisure in America, 1900
Railroads & Recreation
The "Shawsheen Grove" at Pole Hill
BallardVale in the Early 20th Century
The Main Players
After "The Affair"
Law Enforcement, Part 1
Law Enforcement, Part 2
Law Enforcement, Part 1
Today we are accustomed to watching Crime Scene Investigation
television shows and seeing investigators wearing gloves, handling
evidence with plastic bags and taking other steps to avoid damaging
or tampering with the evidence trail. Suspects are taken into
custody, Miranda Rights read, and attorneys summoned. The bodies of
the deceased are whisked away to the morgue or coroner's office for
a speedy autopsy.
Even though the handing of the suspects, evidence, and the body of
the deceased in the picnic tragedy are lax compared to today's
standards, there is much that is familiar to fans of C.S.I. Miami
and New York. The caliber of the weapons fired and number of bullets
used is noted. The medical examiner was called to take custody of
the deceased and an autopsy was conducted the next morning, albeit
in the the "undertaking rooms" of W.W. Colby in Lawrence. The
suspect was arraigned and held for trial. Witnesses were called.
Bail was set. And Edward Janifer's family secured Clement G. Morgan
to defend him.
|Fingerprints in History
Since the early days of police work,
police and judges alike have struggled with how to prove
that the suspected perpetrator committed the crime in
question, or how to prove a suspect's innocence.
As early as the 7th
century in China and the 8th century in Japan a thumbprint
could be used as a signature on legal documents. Even though
there was some awareness of the unique qualities of
fingerprints in Europe as early as the 17th century, it
wasn't until the mid 1800s that an East India Company
employee began to use handprints as a form of signature in
India. In the 1880s, Sir Francis Galton, anthropologist and
cousin of Charles Darwin, began working on using
fingerprints as a means of identification. In 1892, he
published Fingerprints, in which he theorized that
fingerprints were unique and unchanging and could be used as
a means of identification.
In the United
Stated, in 1882 Gilbert Thompson, a geologist working the
New Mexico, used his own fingerprints on documents to
In 1892, Argentine detective Juan
Vucetich solved the first criminal case using fingerprint
matching. By 1912, fingerprinting had become the standard in
South America. By then, most European countries had adopted
fingerprint as system of identification.
In the United States, by 1903 the New
York State Prison System began to use fingerprint, followed
by the U.S. Army in 1905 and the Navy in 1906. In 1908, the
Library Bureau Company of Chicago designed the basic
fingerprint form still used today. Fingerprinting and
identification are still key to solving criminal cases today
even as new technological advances, such as DNA testing,
continue to grow.
continued, next edition, Sep. 13, 2008