Research in Legal Medicine

 "Postmortem examination in cases of suspected rape," Page 313.





Otakar Jaroslav Pollak (1906-2000)
"Postmortem Examination in cases of Suspected Rape," from the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, June 1943

Gift of the Department of Legal Medicine to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1946

Original research into medico-legal problems was one of the Department's fundamental activities from the outset, and over one hundred articles were published by members of the staff from 1940 to 1954.  The article by O. J. Pollak uses a composite of elements of actual rape cases investigated by the Department of Legal Medicine to illustrate how laboratory methods can be applied to the investigation of death.

Plate 5. License plate imprint in wood utility pole.

Murray D. Segal (1949- )
Procedures for Investigating Environmental Factors in Fatal Highway Collisions, [1962]

Gift of Alfred L. Moseley to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1962

The last external program of the Department of Legal Medicine was the Research on Fatal Highway Collisions initiative; Alfred L. Moseley, a psychologist, was the principal investigator.  The project, funded by a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Public Health Service, started its work in December 1958.  The project was criticized for its methodology, however, and an ad hoc committee appointed to evaluate it determined that the project "did not present a research design supported by data but were instead written around conclusions" and that it would not be profitable to continue the research.  The project was closed down on June 30, 1963.

The Research on Fatal Highway Collisions did print two volumes of its research papers and also this report by Murray D. Segal to the Highway Research Board.  The plate shows the imprint of a license plate on a utility pole, indicating the point, direction, attitude, and height of the collision impact.

Richard Ford (1915-1970)
Research in Legal Medicine