Edmond Locard

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Edmond Locard
Kriminalisten Locard.jpg
Born(1877-12-13)13 December 1877
Died4 May 1966(1966-05-04) (aged 88)
Known forFirst police laboratory, Locard's exchange principle, Sherlock Holmes of France
ChildrenDenise Stagnara
Scientific career
FieldsForensic science, Public health
InfluencesAlexandre Lacassagne
InfluencedGeorges Simenon

Dr. Edmond Locard (13 December 1877 – 4 May 1966)[1] was a French criminologist, the pioneer in forensic science who became known as the "Sherlock Holmes of France". He formulated the basic principle of forensic science: "Every contact leaves a trace". This became known as Locard's exchange principle.


Locard was born in Saint-Chamond, France on December 13, 1877, although some records claim he was born in 1872.[2][3] He studied medicine and law at Lyon, France, eventually becoming the assistant of Alexandre Lacassagne, a criminologist and professor. He held this post until 1910, when he began the foundation of his criminal laboratory.[4][5] His lab, located in Lyon, was the first forensic lab in Europe.[6][7]

In 1910, Locard succeeded in persuading the Police Department of Lyon to give him two attic rooms and two assistants, to start what became the first police forensic laboratory.[5][8][9][10]

Locard's daughter Denise would be born on November 18, 1917 in Paris.[11]

Locard produced a monumental, seven-volume work, Traité de Criminalistique. He also was first to codify Galton points, fingerprint characteristics meant for identification.[2][4][10]

Locard continued his research in Lyon until his death in 1966.[2][4][12]


The young Georges Simenon, later to become a well-known detective writer, is known to have attended some Locard lectures in 1919 or 1920.[citation needed]

Locard is considered to be the father of modern forensic science. His Exchange Principle is the basis of all forensic work; the principle stipulates that when any two objects come into contact, there is always a transference of material between each object.[4][13]

In November 2012, he was nominated to the French Forensic Science Hall of Fame of the Association Québécoise de Criminalistique.[14]


  1. ^ "Page of Alexandre Arnould Edmond LOCARD". Geneanet.
  2. ^ a b c Tilstone, William J.; Savage, Kathleen A.; Clark, Leigh A. (2006). Forensic Science: An Encyclopedia of History, Methods, and Techniques. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-194-6.
  3. ^ Chisum, W. Jerry; Turvey, Brent E. (2011-08-09). Crime Reconstruction. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-386461-1.
  4. ^ a b c d Coppock, Craig A. (2007). Contrast: An Investigator's Basic Reference Guide to Fingerprint Identification Concepts. Charles C Thomas Publisher. ISBN 978-0-398-08514-8.
  5. ^ a b Yount, Lisa (2007). Forensic Science: From Fibers to Fingerprints. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60413-061-4.
  6. ^ "Review of THE Art of Cross-Examination, 3rd Edition; On the Witness Stand". American Bar Association Journal. 10 (4): 249. 1924. ISSN 0002-7596. JSTOR 25711556.
  7. ^ Rawtani, Deepak; Hussain, Chaudhery Mustansar (2020-08-19). Technology in Forensic Science: Sampling, Analysis, Data and Regulations. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-3-527-82767-1.
  8. ^ O'Connor, Tom. "An introduction to criminal justice". Megalinks in criminal justice. Austin Peay State University. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  9. ^ Hufnagel, Saskia; Chappell, Duncan (2019-06-27). The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime. Springer. ISBN 978-1-137-54405-6.
  10. ^ a b Miller, Wilbur R. (2012-07-20). The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-4833-0593-6.
  11. ^ "Odenas - nécrologie. Denise Stagnara, fille d'Edmond Locard, s'est éteinte". www.leprogres.fr (in French). Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  12. ^ Houck, Max M. (2001). Mute Witnesses: Trace Evidence Analysis. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-356760-4.
  13. ^ Fletcher, Connie (2006-07-25). Every Contact Leaves a Trace: Crime Scene Experts Talk About Their Work from Discovery Through Verdict. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-34037-7.
  14. ^ "Liste des intronises au Pantheon francophone de la criminalistique". Association Québécoise de Criminalistique. Archived from the original on 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2015-06-23.

Further reading[edit]

  • Erzinclioglu, Zakariah (2004). Illustrated Guide+ to Forensics: True Crime Scene Investigations. Carlton. ISBN 978-1422354544.
  • Kirk, Paul Leland (2008). Crime investigation: physical evidence and the police laboratory. Interscience.