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Author Archives: phayemuss

About phayemuss

If you've stumbled across this blog, I hope you will enjoy in the musings, images, and perspectives as much as I enjoy sharing them. As a writer, scholar and collector of the infamous Lizzie Borden case of Fall River, MA (1892), I have spent over 40 years collecting rare books, journals, letters, photographs and memorabilia on this most compelling case. I like to say: "Some people play golf - I do Lizzie." My first read on the case was Victoria Lincoln's A Private Disgrace, and my first visit inside 92 Second Street(when it was numbered 230)was in 1978. For the next 15 years, I traveled to Fall River doing research and meeting with long time residents. In 1992, I was a presenter at the Lizzie Borden Centennial Conference in Fall River. Since 1998, I have stayed at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast two to three times a year, often serving as tour guide and night manager. I've lectured at University campuses, women's groups, genealogical societies, civic clubs and fraternal organizations, and libraries conducting multi-media presentations on Lizzie Borden and Fall River's history. I am the creator of the Lizzie Borden board game: "Journey to Maplecroft" and have produced several research and reference materials in both print and CD formats, some of which are available at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast. My personal images are copyrighted and not intended for other blogs or internet sites or print publications or any commercial use without permission, however, please feel free to copy them for your own personal collection. Also, feel free to email email me at phaye@npgcable.com. -Faye Musselman Payson, AZ

A NARROW NICHE: WHAT DRAWS US TO LIZZIE BORDEN? WHY DO WE CARE?

Originally posted on Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden:

I recently read where the online publishing company that used to produce “The Hatchet” (referred to in the below post  has decided to quit producing this magazine.  The reason stated by the editor is that online magazines are diminishing in popularity and she’s decided to focus on hard copy books instead.  “The Hatchet” has never revealed its number of subscribers (which is a measure of success for any subscription publication) and I think this is the real reason for yet another failure in the varied pursuits by the editor.  As stated in the post, this is unfortunate because the content was very good.

(from 2008)

Well, first off we have to define “We” because on one end of the spectrum “We” are the hard core scholars, a relatively tiny group grounded at the epicenter of “all things Lizzie”. At the other end is a moderate percentage of the public who…

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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Outstanding Yankee Magazine Article on Lizzie Borden House

Most excellent article with link to a 1992 Yankee Magazine feature that was superlative at the time. Very good photos as well.

http://www.yankeemagazine.com/new-england-experiences/lizzie-borden-house

 

Mrs. Ocker’s Claim to Fame: She wore “That Dress” at Lizzie Borden’s Bed & Breakfast

Dress

Lindsey Ocker in Lizzie Borden’s Bedroom

I’ve been following J. W. Ocker’s blog , “Odd Things I’ve Seen” (aka “O.T.I.S.”) since 2006 and have delighted in his subsequent literary success.  Early on I was particularly impressed with his November 2007 account of his visit to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast/Museum. The startling revelation  of his wife (girlfriend at the time) putting on and posing in the dress displayed in Emma’s Room (they stayed in the Lizzie/Emma suite) made me a hard core fan.

I’m not going to say more about this dress or its origin, thus (hopefully) compelling the reader to actually read his long post, an endeavor most worthwhile.  I will say, however, I believe this to be the first and ONLY time any guest – male or female – had so adorned themselves and been photographed.

Some future LBB&B/Museum guest reading this may now be inspired to replicate the event.  To those so inclined I say why not be a tad more inventive and try the green dress in the John Morse Guest Room.

Dress

It is the actual dress worn by Elizabeth Montgomery in the  courtroom scenes in the ever popular 1975 made-for-tv movie, Legend of Lizzie Borden.

I’m not sure if J. W. Ocker and his girlfriend (now wife) were demonstrating a unique act of bravery or devilish disregard for museum pieces, but I do know I admire their chutzpah.  I remain in awe.  I remain a fan.  His earlier books, compendiums of all the odd things he has seen are little treasure to my collection of books.

Mr. Ocker’s excellent post on his visit to the Bed & Breakfast can be read HERE.

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

GHOST ADVENTURES AND LIZZIE BORDEN

NOREKI LEEANN ET ZAKFrom top:  Liz, Nowicki, Lee-ann Wilbur, Eleanor Thibault, and Zac the Hunk

More nonsense tonight on Ghost Adventures relative to the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, MA. i know the first 3 people: Liz since 2005, Lee-ann since 2004, and Eleanor since 1998.   They believe. One attempts to remain prudently unbiased; one has a reputation to protect, and one tends to believe in all things paranormal.

When your audience involves both those who are into true crime (specifically unsolved murders) and those who are captivated by the occult or paranormal, you have to keep re-inventing the product.  Getting talking heads to serve up the fodder is easy because they enjoy the broadcast celebrity or, if they have vested financial interest in the location, they know such broadcasts result in increased business.  And producers, always budget conscious on these “formula” productions, love getting their input for free.

The twist here is being “assaulted” by the spirit, ghost, energy (take your pick) of Andrew Borden.   Time has rendered us a rather transparent evolution of experiences by these people.  What was once a mysterious mist becomes a cold hand upon the shoulder.  What was thumping upstairs when no one WAS upstairs, becomes a slap across the face and what was a slap upon the face becomes….wait for it……Rape.  Yes, you read that right.  You can’t keep taking the same girt to the Proms unless she changes her dress.  These shows have a target audience that keeps oooohing and ahhhing – so they continue to regurgitate with “variances on a theme”.    Enough with the metaphors.

Remember, these shows ARE FOR ENTERTAINMENT VALUE. It’s the Travel Channel – not PBS.

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Zak Bagans reopens investigations at the iconic Lizzie Borden House and Black Swan Inn. Zak listens to bold claims of sexual assault at the Borden House, and believes that the slandered…
travelchannel.com
 

Lizzie Borden and The Roosevelt Connection

Hope many of my “Friends”, et. al. are watching Ken Burns doc on the Roosevelts which premiered last night and is on every night this week on PBS. Last night was about Teddy.

I’ve probably read as many books on the Roosevelts as I have on Lizzie Borden (and had Lizzie lived 6 more years she very well might have been invited to take tea at the White House with Eleanor via an introduction by her cousin, Grace Hartley Howe – watch for the Howe connection when Franklin is covered).  I’ll expand a little here.

Lizzie’s cousin, Grace Hartley Howe was a Borden.  Her mother was Mary Borden, who’s father was Cook Borden, uncle to Andrew Borden.  Thus, Grace and Lizzie had grandfathers who were brothers.  Got that so far?  Well, now, Grace married Louis McHenry Howe, who became Franklin Roosevelt’s political strategist, chief advisor and private secretary.  Louis, in fact, lived in a small room to the rear of the Lincoln bedroom at the White House from 1933 until shortly before his death in 1936.  Thus, Helen and his two children often came to the White House.  Louis also visited his family on Locust Street in Fall River or their cottage in Horseneck Beach.

Lizzie died in 1927 but long before that, Grace and Louis visited Lizzie at her home on French Street.  Lizzie was a willing contributor to the many causes and organizations that Grace took part in, including the election of Franklin to Governor of New York  So there was a thread – among many –  that bound them together.  Had Lizzie not died in 1927 but lived on until 1933, she very well might have visited the White House with Grace to meet the First Lady and perhaps the President himself.  It would not have been Lizzie’s first visit to Washington, D.C., but it would probably have been among her last.

I was struck last night by the photograph of a home in which Teddy Roosevelt rented a room when he went to Harvard in 1876.  It is the exact style of the infamous Fall River home of Andrew Borden on 92 Second Street.. They are so similar one could ponder if Trafford and Southard worked from the same blueprints.  Also I was struck by this photo of he and his Harvard classmates which I thought bore a strong resemblance to my “second son”, Chris Ritter.

I must say, of ALL the Roosevelts and their progeny, I most relate to Teddy’s first daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth – the one who’s mother (TR’s first wife)  died on the same day as Teddy’s own mother.  And *that* event was a severe life altering experience for Theodore Roosevelt. Not able to bear to even look upon his baby daughter because the emotional pain was so severe, he sent her to be raised by his sister.  But what a dame she turned out to be!  I’ve loved reading about her for many, many years.  In fact, I can relate to her in many ways.  What a wonderful, long life she had.

Fun Fact:  I was contacted by one of Burns’ researchers at Florentine Productions many years ago for information on Louis McHenry Howe as part of the development for this documentary.  She had stumbled on my blog post HERE. 

Can’t wait for tonight’s episode. I”m going to DVR all of them and save for repeated viewings. Yep, I eat this stuff up with a spoon.

92 Second Street, Fall River, MA winter, 1892.Faye Musselman's photo.
Faye Musselman's photo.

Faye Musselman's photo.CR1

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Impact of “The Greater and Lesser Bordens” on Andrew and Lizzie

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AbrahamBordenAbraham Borden – first born son of Richard Borden and Patty Bowen Borden
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“In 1860, Colonel Richard Borden was deemed the richest man in town, worth $375,000, (the equivalent of $8,122,011 in 2006). His wife was head of Central Congregational Church sewing circle.” -Spinner Magazine
Just pause and think about that fact for a moment (which most people won’t get).  It’s the year Lizzie is born, 1860.    Andrew is still living on Ferry Street in one half of that double house his father owns.  His own sister and her husband live there too,  And he has this relative…this uncle of his own father.  The man who persuaded his paternal grandmother to give up her water rights and that mill…the man who influenced the court – the man who got her to settle for much less.  Consider that Andrew, at age 38, living next to his father, HAD to know the story and was keenly aware.  So keenly aware he had already vowed he would not be a poor relation as his father was.  So keenly aware he was already well on his path of accumulating money. 
Andrew was only 2 years old when his grandfather, Richard, died, but he must have smarted in his early years growing up, reading, seeing, hearing about all his wealthier relatives and how some of them got that way.  Bitter?  I think so.  .  Determined.  You bet.
ajbframe     sarahframe
Young Andrew Borden fell in love with Sarah Anthony Morse of Swansea and they married on Christmas Day, 1845.  Before he began to make money in his later partnership with William Almy, Andrew worked as a carpenter.  At the age of 23, he helped Southard Miller build the Charles Trafton House located at 92 Second Street.  Twenty seven years later, in 1872, Andrew would buy that house for $10,000 and move in with his two daughters and second wife, Abby.
andrewyoungfix
Main-Almy-BordenBorden and Almy furniture business on Main Street near Anawan.

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And Emma surely knew and if Andrew didn’t pass the knowledge on to her then Emma did.  But they knew.  They knew what it meant to be a Borden and that they should have been a RICH Borden.  And then to know they WERE rich but didn’t LIVE rich.  Lizzie bitter?  You bet.  Yeah, that Colonel Richard Borden…he was something all right, and yet he is written in the annals of Fall River history as  a glorified kingpin of its mercantile growth and prominence. 
Oh yes, how Andrew must have smarted.  And THAT attribute WAS passed on to his youngest daughter.

 

KNOWLTON PAPERS & LIZZIE BORDEN PAST & PRESENT – FOR SALE HERE

Have you been wanting affordable copies of Len Rebello’s Lizzie Borden Past & Present? And have you been on the hunt for the Fall River Historical Society’s The Knowlton Papers? Well, you’ve landed in the right place.

Now – Are you looking for these?

Well, I’ve got several of each and the prices will be the best you can get. You can purchase  one (or both).  Simply email me at phaye@outlook.com

These are $145 each.  The Knowlton Papers are generally around $400 these days.  All have dust jackets.

Lizzie Borden Past & Present by Leonard Rebello are in vg condition with dust jackets.  Some of the Rebello’s are autographed by the author and come with mylar covers.  Again, only $145 each  or $165 for autographed copy.

These books are OOP and hard to find, especially at this price.

First person to email and send in payment, and payment clears, gets the books!

 
 
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