Little Clues: Frances Glessner Lee's Archives of Domestic Homicide
- University of Southern Queensland, School of Arts and Communication
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- law&history., 2019, 6 (2), pp. 46 - 82
- Issue Date:
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Beginning in 1944, Frances Glessner Lee created a collection of at least twenty miniature doll's houses to assist police detectives in learning techniques of criminal investigation. These - the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death - are tiny and fully furnished buildings, primarily domestic interiors, which portray an unexplained or suspicious death. Most of them suggest intimate partner homicides, suicides or fatal domestic accidents. The Nutshells represent a strange convergence of archival practice and emotional engagement. They are regarded as providing autobiographical clues to Lee's misery and loneliness, and this article explores their ability to draw together affective and pedagogical responses to crime's archive. Starting with Carlo Ginzburg's 'clues' paradigm, the article draws on historical and critical scholarship on scale, size and affect to investigate the Nutshells' entanglement of archives and emotions.
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