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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania • Page 108
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania • Page 108

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Wil.IIU.UJ i i I l.l i Ut.Ulil.IUii I I I I.I.UUl 1.1 t.UU. PEOPLE Lady Sherlock liy Peter F. Clarke l're Mi rilcr solutions of crime in almost every part of the State. There was the case of Fulton County's "Daniel Boone," whose ability to make his own bullets, led to his downfall. He was convicted with the aid of her spectrum and X-ray analyses of bullets he used to kill a farmer. Police-authorities were puzzled because only one shot had been heard, although the victim's body contained two slugs, Miss Willard's study showed that the defendant had placed two slugs in the homemade shells he used. Working from casts of tire tracks found next to a murdered truck driver's vehicle, she compared them with the suspect's tires and found they matched perfectly, Her study entailed use of a fine micrometer and infrared photographs. Her evidence helped convict the defendant in a Greensburg trial. She examined 17 pieces of evidence, including clothing, blood, hair and soil to help Blair County convict a grandson of the bludgeon-slaying of his H2-year-old grandfather. Her microscope proved that clay on the victim's shoes matched found on the murderer's boots. One of the nation's pioneers in scientific crime detection Miss Willard made her debut in "criminalistics" in 1930 when, as a young member of the Penn State chemistry department, she was asked to analyze some alcohol seized in a Prohibition violation. MIE matronly-looking woman patted 1 the young man on the shoulder assuringly and said: "Mr. Glumly, I am glad lo Ml you that your wife has not been trying to poison you." To ease his embarrassment, she added: "Now, you go home and give her a big hug as a sort of hidden apology for what you've been thinking." The young man blushed, thanked her and turned to go. "Oh, yes," she called after him, "it might be a good idea to tell her to clean the coffee pot. The coffee she's been making is just plain bad." The speaker was Dr. Mary L. Wil-lard, distinguished professor of chemistry at Pennsylvania State University. "You would be surprised at the number of people who think someone in their family is trying to poison them," she explains. The fear, she says, usually is unjustified. These incidents really are on the lighter side so far as Dr. Willard's work goes. She has served the cause of jus-lice in Pennsylvania for more than a qu-irter of a century by utilizing her knowledge of science in the detection of crime. Her investigations have contributed to Her work attracted the attention of a Scranton judge and soon she was seiged with requests to perform chemical analyses of poisons, drugs, bloodstains, paint and other materials by enforcement officers throughout Pennsylvania and nearby states. Rarely a day now goet by without a call from a district attorney, police chief or coroner asking for her help In solving a baffling case. Suicides head the list of cases she it asked to investigate. Homicide ranks second, followed by fatal auto accidents, with major emphasis on hit and run cases. Other crimes Include animal killings, check forgeries, altering of will and arson. Many Honors police often have accepted the decision of Miss Willard and her students as to wheiher a death was murder or suicide, the signature on a will the real thing, and whether pets or farm animals were poisoned by angry neighbors. Her studies bring Miss Willard to court about once a month as a witness for the prosecution. She regularly gives talks on criminology in many parts of the U. S. For her cooperation with police departments she has been named an honorary member of the Fraternal Order of Police. She was the second woman ever to receive the Syroll Honor Award of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Chemists, which she got In 1955. In the same year she won the American Instruments Makers Award. She has served as national president of Sigma Delta Epsilon, women's honorary scientific society. She is the daughter of Willard Hall, once mathematics professor at Penn State. Her research projects at Penn State have been supported by such organizations as the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Pennsylvania Council on Research, Society of the Sigma XI, American Phlio-sophlcal Society and various industriul firms. Crystallography and chemical ml-crosoeopy are among her moist important fields of research. Her work in the chemistry of fur has led the Air Force to five her a grant to determine the best type of fur to be used for airmen's Jackets in the Arctic. Despite her active professional life, Miss Willard finds time for numerous hobbies. She la an enthusiastic rose grower, specializing in hybrids and min-iature flowers, and also collects coins and old books on chemistry, of course. lH- 3 1 I "2-v Va A N4' rr: VllllllHIIlt 1 I HI --1111 ty Dr. Mary L. Willard's work in criminalistics had helped police solve many crimes, but she also has saved numerous marriages by advising: "Keep the coffee pot clean." i vi wiTOWWwtw'i iw-w iitto ISW.IWT! mi ni'iiMiTi'nn i vi HWM11 iw immtimwmmmmmmmmmmmmiw'wm mmmimvmmnrrmmimnm Pejc 6 The Pittsburgh Press, Sunday. October 19, 1958

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