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HISTORY OF QUESTIONED DOCUMENT EXAMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES

NCJ Number
62438
Journal
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 24 Issue: 4 Dated: (DECEMBER 1979) Pages: 891-897
Author(s)
O HILTON
Date Published
1979
Length
8 pages
Annotation
A HISTORICAL REVIEW OF QUESTIONED DOCUMENT EXAMINATION IN THE U.S. REVEALS THE EARLY USE OF HANDWRITING ANALYSIS, STANDARD METHODS DEVELOPED BY 1929, AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS SINCE WORLD WAR II.
Abstract
EARLY DOCUMENT EXAMINATION FROM THE FOUNDING OF THE U.S. TO 1890 OR 1900 INVOLVED LIMITED ACTIVITY AND PROVIDED SCANT WRITTEN HISTORY. ALTHOUGH HANDWRITING EXPERTS TESTIFIED IN COLONIAL COURTS, THEIR NAMES WERE NOT PRESERVED. LIBERALIZATION OF EVIDENCE RULES TO ALLOW HANDWRITING ANALYSIS BEGAN IN THE EARLY 1800'S, AND RULINGS FROM THE LATE 1800'S ALLOWED PHOTOGRAPHIC AND TYPEWRITING ANALYSIS EVIDENCE. BY THE 1890'S, TYPEWRITING AND HANDWRITING ANALYSES HAD BECOME SO COMMON THAT TECHNICAL MANUALS WERE BEING WRITTEN; A WORK BY OSBORN IN 1929 IS STILL USED. BY 1910-1929, OSBORN HAD FOUNDED MODERN TECHNIQUES IN EXAMINING DOCUMENTS AND COURT PRESENTATIONS, AND HAD BEGUN THE FIRST INFORMAL ORGANIZATION FOR HANDWRITING EXPERTS. THE 1890'S TO 1940'S WERE DOMINATED BY PRIVATE CONSULTANTS RATHER THAN LABORATORIES. HOWEVER, TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES SINCE 1946 IN TYPEWRITERS, COPY MACHINES, AND COMPUTERS, ALONG WITH METHODS OF WRITING, HAVE MULTIPLIED THE PROBLEMS OF DOCUMENT EXAMINATION. ALTHOUGH THE CONSULTANT EXAMINER IS STILL IMPORTANT, MUCH PRESENT WORK INVOLVES CHEMICAL OR OTHER ANALYSES, WITH GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS OF EXAMINERS HAVE EMERGED, AND RELEVANT PUBLICATIONS ARE NOW VOLUMINOUS. REFERENCES AND FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (PAP)