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Frances "Fanny" Glessner Lee
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Birth: Mar. 25, 1878
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Jan. 27, 1962
Grafton County
New Hampshire, USA

Frances Glessner Lee "Fanny"

Frances Glessner was born on March 25, 1878, the youngest child and only daughter of John and Frances Glessner. Mrs. Glessner often wrote about her daughter in the journal she kept for forty years, and describes her as a delightful, clever and precocious little girl. Because of her brother George's poor health, Fanny was tutored at home with George.

After they moved into their Prairie Avenue home in 1887, the Glessners spent their winters in Chicago and their summers in New Hampshire at their estate, The Rocks. There, family friend and renown craftsman Isaac Scott built her a two-room log cabin, furnished with 3/4 size furniture. Scott and Fanny were very close, despite the difference in ages.

Fanny's early adult life unfolded in much the same way as the lives of other wealthy girls at the time. She never attended college and instead spent fourteen months in 1896 and 1897 touring Europe with her mother's sister, Helen Macbeth, and in November 1897, five months after her return, she made her formal debut in Chicago society. Four months later, on February 9, 1898, she married Blewett Lee, a law partner of one of George's friends. They later moved into one of the twin townhouses at 1700 S. Prairie Avenue that the Glessners had built for their children. Frances's marriage with Blewett Lee was rocky, brightened briefly by the births of three children--John Glessner Lee in 1898, Frances Lee in 1903, and Martha Lee in 1906--they later divorced.

In 1938, Frances took up permanent residence at The Rocks, and her life after that was more unusual. For a time, she sold antiques and produced needlework before giving in to her growing interest in legal medicine. Her friendship with George's Harvard classmate, Dr. George Burgess Magrath, had already piqued her enthusiasm and her philanthropic spirit--in 1932 she had given $250,000 to Harvard University to create a chair in Legal Medicine, and in 1934 she had given a collection of 1,000 volumes to the Magrath Library of Legal Medicine. In 1943, New Hampshire named her State Police Captain; at the time, she was the only female police captain in the country. She created a series of eighteen miniature crime scenes, the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, drawing on the miniature model-making she had been doing since childhood. Captain Lee also initiated what became a prestigious, biannual seminar in homicide investigation. Erle Stanley Gardner, the author of the Perry Mason novels and one of the few laymen allowed to attend the seminars, dedicated The Case of the Dubious Bridegroom to her. Gardner wrote that Frances had a logical, orderly mind that was suited for police work. He described her as a perfectionist, with a warm heart and a keen sense of justice.

Frances died at the Rocks on January 27, 1962. She was 83.

Family links: 
  John Jacob Glessner (1843 - 1936)
  Frances MacBeth Glessner (1850 - 1932)
  Blewett Harrison Lee (1867 - 1951)
  Frances Lee Martin (1903 - 1935)*
  John George MacBeth Glessner (1871 - 1929)*
  Frances Glessner Lee (1878 - 1962)
*Calculated relationship
Note: Find A Grave does not deem this worthy of the "famous" status
Maple Street Cemetery
Grafton County
New Hampshire, USA
Created by: Kimberlie Frye
Record added: Jul 10, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 54755978
Frances Fanny <i>Glessner</i> Lee
Added by: Kimberlie Frye
Frances Fanny <i>Glessner</i> Lee
Added by: Karin (Shriver) Gallagher
Frances Fanny <i>Glessner</i> Lee
Added by: Christopher Brooks
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How many lives have been saved, perhaps indirectly, by the unique work this woman did and shared with law enforcement? She is MOST WORTHY of "famous" status - please correction this mistake.
- Denise
 Added: Jan. 9, 2016
How is this woman not famous? Her work taught generations how to look at a crime scene for clues. Her legacy is immeasurable in the fields of justice.
- eobfindagrave
 Added: Sep. 15, 2015

- melissaღ
 Added: Apr. 22, 2015
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