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Did She or Didn’t She? Emma Borden and the Boston Sunday Post Interview

26 Sep

Click on image for larger view

Emma Lenora Borden, sister to our gal Lizzie, has long been cited as the subject of an interview in the Boston Sunday Post of April 13, 1913.  The by-lined reporter, one Edwin Joseph McGuire, however, has never been confirmed as a reporter, let alone the validity of the interview itself.  The interview came just one week after an extensive article by Gertrude Stevenson of the Boston Sunday Herald who wrote of what life was like for Lizzie twenty years after the crimes.  It has been speculated *that* article encouraged Emma to come forward from her self-imposed exile and speak for the very first time, ever, publicly – and “Lucky” McGuire got the gig.

Reference to this astonishing interview with Emma was, however, flatly denied by her through the “Buck family”.   The Buck family (once headed by that revered Reverend Edwin Augustus Buck who had died a decade before on March 9, 1903) was apparently now led by his spinster daughters, including Alice Buck, who was the closest to Emma.

Click on image for larger view and to read inserted article.

We don’t know for certain if it was Alice Buck who was the member of the Buck family who said the McGuire article was “not authentic”, though it very well could have been.  But the point is this:  McGuire’s article is mentioned in so many books of the “first generation” authors and so little is mention, even with contemporary authors on the case, as to the subsequent denial of its authenticity.

Why in the world would Emma agree to such an interview after more than 2 decades of silence?   Were there events before or close in time to the interview that influenced or motivated her?  Let’s check.  Let’s go back to a little more than one year previous:

March 1, 1912 John Vinnicum Morse dies in Hastings, Iowa at the age of 79.
April 15, 1912 White Star liner Titanic sinks on her maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg; 1,500 die.
June 10, 1912 Grisly axe murders of 2 adults and 6 children, all while they sleep, in Villisca, Iowa.
July 19, 1912 A meteorite with a mass of 19,000 kg landed in the town of Holbrook, Navajo County, Arizona.
July 29, 1912 Lizzie writes letter to Stomell & Co. requesting “B” be engraved on her suitcase “toilet items”.
December 30, 1912 Rufus B. Hilliard (FR Chief of Police) dies.
1913 Woodrow Wilson is President of the United States.
1913 Ford develops first moving assembly line.
1913 Alice Paul and Lucy Burns form the Congressional Union to work toward the passage of a federal amendment to give women the vote. The group is later renamed the National Women’s Party.
March 10, 1913 Harriet Tubman dies of pneumonia in Auburn New York.
1913 Louis McHenry Howe becomes Chief of Staff to FDR who is appointed Asst. Secretary to the Navy.
April 6, 1913 Boston Sunday Herald special edition: “Lizzie Borden 20 Years After the Tragedy” by Gertrude Stevenson.
April 13, 1913 Boston Sunday Post publishes interview with Emma Borden by reporter Edwin Joseph McGuire.   (Was this a hoax?

The little article above about McGuire’s article not being “authentic” was included in a packet of material on the case from Orrin Augustus Gardner.  Contents of the packet can be found in the Swansea Historical Society’s research nook at the Swansea Library.  Orrin Gardner was a close to Emma all her life and was a major legatee in her Will.

This image shows Orrin Gardner far left, wearing hat, on outing with school boys and was taken about the time he donated that package.

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8 responses to “Did She or Didn’t She? Emma Borden and the Boston Sunday Post Interview

  1. Connie Pouncil

    September 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    How in the world can you get on TV and lie to public and say that Lizzy Bordon house is extremely haunted? I don’t believe a word of it. In fact I think you are paying people to get on TV to lie. I wish I could get paid to get on TV to lie. In fact I do believe with all of my heart and soul that you got that rigged up and some people to rigged it up.

     
    • phayemuss

      September 28, 2011 at 6:47 PM

      Uh, Connie, dear: I have NEVER, EVER been on TV telling the public the “Lizzy Bordon” (sic) house is “extremely haunted.” In fact, I never have and still do not think it is. I think is is possibly active. I’ve had an experience there. But haunted. NO WAY. Others would vehemently disagree with me. However, the whole paranormal thing brings in more guests and has given the B&B a lot more world wide notoriety from all the TV shows that deal in the paranormal. You misdirected your rant. You could have posted to the Lizzie Borden (correct spelling) Bed & Breakfast on Facebook. However, your entire post has a certain ring of being disingenuous IMHO.

       
  2. Connie Pouncil

    September 28, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    How in the world can you get on TV and lie to public and say that Lizzy Bordon house is extremely haunted? I don’t believe a word of it. In fact I think you are paying people to get on TV to lie. I wish I could get paid to get on TV to lie. In fact I do believe with all of my heart and soul that you got that rigged up and some people to rigged it up. My E-mail address is pouncilconnie58@yahoo.com

     
  3. Austin

    November 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    That Emma interview I always thought was “interesting”. The one thing that does not make much sense is why would the Post knowingly publish an article (complete with pictures) that they knew was a fabrication and was very likely to be either read by Lizzie or Emma? They knew the sisters had substantial financial resources and could sue them (though we were a less litigious society then)—-or why portray her in a favorable light as was often not the case? The quote of Emma stating that Lizzie is “queer” is curious—-of course back then it still usually meant “odd” but by 1913 it also meant someone who was a homosexual—and it does seem as though that is how it is meant here….and not very likely a Victorian woman then in her mid-60s would bring up such a thing….perhaps the article was a ruse to “light a fire” under Emma or Lizzie and have one or both submit to a statement?

     
    • phayemuss

      November 17, 2012 at 8:37 PM

      That wasn’t a photo—it was a sketch.

       
  4. Austin

    November 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Well, true yes it was actually a sketch :) Sorry for using the wrong term. I do wonder….were any of those sketches, etc. in the 1913 article used prior? Or were they “fresh”? There is one purportedly of Emma with the 1913 interview….has that ever been confirmed to actually be of her? I have never seen a verified picture of her in her later years, only a few from the 1870s and 1880s. Just a though.

     
  5. Austin

    November 17, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    Well, ok the sketch of Mrs. Borden and Lizzie did appear in 1892-3 newsprint, but apparently someone had to sit and draw Emma in 1913. While I certainly do agree that the 1913 article could be a fabrication, the inclusion of the portrait of Emma is interesting and that had to come from somewhere (either recycled from another source, drawn based on conjecture or as claimed, drawn from real life). All it says is drawn by a Post artist—I just wonder if any of that was ever researched and if it could be attributed to any known sketch artists of the paper then. But the fact that the author’s name can not be matched to any known journalist or writer at the Post then says quite a bit. A story that big would likely have a well-known, experienced writer I would think.

     
    • phayemuss

      November 19, 2012 at 5:47 PM

      It’s the only one I had seen.

       

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