Frances McConnell-Mills, MD

This determined woman graduated from high school at 15, acquired her bachelor’s degree at 17, and received her master’s in chemistry at 19. Although her father had helped many young men through medical school, he refused to pay her tuition because he thought medicine was too hard a life for a woman. Consequently, she worked her way through medical school. At 25, Dr. Frances McConnell was named Denver’s first city toxicologist. As the first woman toxicologist in the Rocky Mountain region and probably America’s first woman forensic pathologist, she had an esteemed reputation for her blood work and poison analysis and, from 1925 to 1950, was instrumental in solving many of the region’s most puzzling crimes. In the subsequent trials, Dr. McConnell-Mills often testified as a key witness.