Fall River Historical Society

The Benefactors’ Edition of Parallel Lives-A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River

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It’s a beautiful thing.  Check it out:

The holding sleeve has a leather/felt-like interior.

The sleeve has the staged photo of Lizzie in her senior years on the back porch of Maplecroft.

The woman that is pictured in the edition already opened (the one I read in Hawaii) is Anne Lindsey, sister of Mary Brigham.  What a Dame!

The marbleized end pages are taken from a book in Lizzie’s library

Note the edged gold “gilt” on the pages.

The “Presentation” page.  Click for larger image.

Yep.  She’s a beaut all right.  :)

Special Exhibit at Fall River Historical Society

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The curators of the Fall River Historical Society posted on Facebook today an update of their now completed labors in holiday decorating, the upcoming book signing of Parallel Lives, and a special exhibit pertaining to Lizzie Borden showing ….well, you read it.

News from the FRHS Facebook page:

“Fall River Historical Society

Looks great but requires a terrific amount of labor, and what a messy process – glitter everywhere, pine needles, and masses of flocking, which is terrible stuff. Glad that phase is over. We were down to the wire when we started and went into it with no set ideas or themes – really “winged it” this year, but successfully, I think. The music room is done in a Byzantine theme with angels in jewel-tone velvet, ornaments of various appropriate sorts, all accented in burnished coppery-gold, and with masses of transparent ribbon reminiscent of stained glass. The 14-foot parlor tree is studded with glittery starbursts, is hung with over 1,000 figural glass ornaments, topped with a ribbon bow, and draped with lengthy twisted streamers; the portraits and mantel are done en suite. In the dining room is a tabletop tree done in a Commedia del Arte theme with handpainted Venetian masks, feathers, glittery sticks, cards, etc… rather a tour de force that is easier seen than described. Once again, the room is done to match, with the chandelier, sideboard, and portrait bust of the Princess Ida all festooned for the holidays. The hallways are hung with frosted long-needle pine swags and roping studded with red berries; the library is in pine with twigs, holly, and white berries; the bedroom is done with mixed pine and red berries, and …there is more, but you get the picture. The museum shop is fully stocked for the season … lots of glass Christmas ornaments, gift items, jewelry, fashion accessories, and an impressive assortment of scarves of all sorts in a rainbow of colors and fabrics … lustrous silks and satin, warm wool, cotton … you name it, the FRHS museum shop probably has it. From England there are Christmas puddings and brandy butter, and from Italy delicious Panaforte di Sienna (my favorite) baked in the same bakery using the same recipe for over 400 years. The ever-popular McWhirr’s candy department is up and running and is very well stocked with dark chocolate nonpareils, as always a best-seller, and plenty of other delectable items … if you like peanut butter and have not tried the large peanut butter cups, you have no idea what you are missing … the chocolate is of a very fine quality and the filling is smooth and creamy without the slightest bit of grit, very unlike the well-known commercial brands … really great stuff!

And if you haven’t heard, there is a new book coming out this year … Parallel Lives … for sale exclusively at the FRHS museum shop. Everything is on target for delivery and as was posted earlier a booksigning will be held here at the FRHS on Sunday, November 20, from 12 – 3 o’clock pm, and we sincerely hope that some of you can make it. There has been considerable interest in the book, especially so in the Limited Edition, which is nearly sold out – as of this posting only eleven remain.

Busy week this week as we wrap up holiday preparations – the museum opens for the season on Saturday so there is much to do and rather a bit of catching-up to attend to. The holiday reception for Historical Society members is Saturday evening, and the booksigning is Sunday so there are many tasks to attend to that are as yet undone.

Here is a bit of news for anyone interested in the life and times of Lizzie A. Borden. This morning we begin mounting a special exhibit that will be on view in the library during the holiday season, featuring an important selection of items personally connected to LAB, that were acquired by the museum from various donors during the research phase of Parallel Lives. Some very interesting items including photographs, books, a selection of extremely important letters, notes, and cards, and a few items she presented as gifts to close friends … interesting and with impeccable provenance. The exhibit will open this coming Saturday, and will be on view through the end of the year. Hope you have a chance to view it.

That’s all for now.”

I would LOVE to see her metiiculously assembled scrapbook from her 1890 Grand Tour.  Oh yeah.

Update on Parallel Lives – A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River

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Fall River Historical Society Hello, everyone. Dennis here, speaking for Michael and myself. It’s been a long day, but here goes. Thanks, Terrie! Megan – yes, we thank the gods it is nearly over. Pam – you know we love you, too. Bob – how many cats DO you have? JoAnne – yes, it will be available before Christmas and that’s a promise. Ginny – come on, never give up hope, we’ve been trying … really. Faye – absolutely correct. The trade edition and the limited edition will be different from the presentation edition, which has been specially prepared for benefactors in recognition of their financial support of the project. There are only thirty of those, each one of a kind as each is personalized in print; as a benefactor of the publication, you will receive one of those. The particulars of the trade edition and the limited edition will be detailed on the website. Al – as soon as the website goes live, anyone interested in a limited edition can preorder it online, by phone, or in our museum shop. Faye – your answer to Al’s question is correct. Incidentally, would LOVE to go to Kona. Okay, all. We’ve been here since 7 a.m. – going home now. Thanks so much! Until next time …


Michael Martins, curator of the Fall River Historical Society, posted an update on the status of this long anticipated book on the FRHS Facebook page..  From his post below it appears we are really, truly, finally, tuning the last corner of completion.  As an added treat, Michael gives us an excerpt from the book, representative of the kinds of insights into Lizzie not previously accessible and specific to the purpose of the book itself.

Hello, everyone. Great news to report today! A telephone call yesterday from our Sales Representative at the company charged with producing Parallel Lives alerted us to the fact that the printing phase of the book is complete; the sheets are in the process of being arranged into signatures in preparation for binding. As was mentioned in an earlier posting, the book is going to be released in two editions: a trade edition, and a deluxe collector’s edition, limited to only 100 copies.

Like · · Share · 38 minutes ago

    • Terrie Neelgreat news! congratulations!

      36 minutes ago · Like
    • Fall River Historical Society

      The rest of the messageL: Our next posting will include a link to the Parallel Lives website, which will include pricing and ordering information, excerpts, and other interesting features – expect that in the next week or so.I suspect that many people are interested in the particulars of Lizzie’s youth, a period of which there has been much speculation, since so little was previously known. We do know rather a bit more about her early years now, as those of you who read Parallel Lives will find out. Thought some of you might find the following excerpt from the book of interest; incidentally, the “Lulie” mentioned in the text was one of Lizzie’s school friends, whose diaries we were given access to:“Though Lulie and Lizzie lived in neighborhoods physically separated by the bustling center of the city, they did seem to maintain a relationship that was not restricted entirely to school. ‘Lizzie Borden asked me to go out and ride with her last Saturday,’ Lulie wrote, ‘but it is very stormy and we concluded to go tomorrow but she can’t go now until next Saturday.’ It is unknown if riding, in this case, meant on horseback or in a carriage; both were commonplace pastimes of the day and available to Lizzie, as her father did maintain, for many years, a horse and carriage in his Second Street barn. Riding horseback was also a pastime that could have been enjoyed in the country, on the family farm in Swansea. The entry for the following Saturday makes no mention of spending any time riding with Lizzie. She does not appear again until several days later, when Lulie ‘walked part of the way home with Lizzie Borden.’”And there are a number of additional references to Lizzie as well, little personal details, recorded by Lulie, our youthful diarist. No smoking gun here, certainly, but interesting insight into her life – at least we think so.As I’ve said before, it’s been a long, long haul, folks – and we honestly can’t begin to thank you enough for trudging along with us.”

Lizzie Borden in the Wall Street Journal

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Jennifer Levitz wrote this piece on the “two camps” as to Lizzie’s guilt or innocence.

She interviewed me during the intermission and after the play Lizzie Borden Took an Axe, written by Garrett Heater on Saturday evening, August 6th, 2011, at the BMC Durfee H.S. in Fall River.  I had thought her piece was going to be about the play.  I’m not the only one disappointed she didn’t see fit to give it the credit due.

Ms. Levitz was apparently doing a more composite article regarding Lizzie.  What I find the MOST interesting is the very last part:  Her quote from author Len Rebello who wrote the current “go to” book, Lizzie Borden Past & Present.. (Note: this book is now discounted to $150 so if you are looking for a copy, contact me).  Mr. Rebello seems to imply that the Fall River Historical Society is writing  book that puts forth sufficient new information to deliberately change opinion as to her guilt of the crimes of August 4, 1892.  The further implication is that it’s a put up job by those power brokers in Fall River who would like to have the town’s notoriety of its most infamous citizen changed, softened or erased.  Mr. Rebello states that as a Fall River native he has lived with the Lizzie Borden association to his home town all his life and the residents just come to accept it.  Actually some do and some still hate the fact she IS associated with their home town  But I strongly disagree to his implication of the FRHS’s  motive in writing the kind of book they have.

There has long been the different Did She or Didn’t She camps.  There has long been the various theories ranging from Lizzie did it, Lizzie and Bridget (the maid), Lizzie didn’t do it but knew who did, the unseen intruder, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Well, the book, Parallel Lives, A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River” isn’t about the crimes.  It isn’t about revealing new information as to her guilt or innocense.  It IS about precisely what the title states But with new photos, letters written about and by Lizzie, private journals and remembrances, a different Lizzie emerges from the woman Borden case enthusiasts and experts have studied for over a century.  We WILL look at her differently.  We WILL think of her differently.

But how will this actually impact the general public’s perception of Lizzie?  How will this book alter Lizzie’s iconic image of a one-dimensional maniacal, axe swinging psychopath?   It won’t.  It won’t because at 696 pages and 7 pounds and the fact this true crime is known the world over, its still a niche market.   It’s not Harry Potter.  To us Borden case scholars it will be the NEW “go to” book.  It will be a treasured book in our collection of collectibles.  But alas and alack, all that Lizzie Borden Googling will still show the images so embedded in the minds of those that seek her out.

In any event, the above article is worth reading.   The “usual suspects” are quoted aside from myself:

Stefani “look at me, look at me” Koorey;

Shelley Dziedzic – who just self published a nifty booklet on Oak Grove (more to follow);

The gratuitous B&B employee, this time Ben Rose, an accomplished actor as well.

Len Rebello, author of above said excellent book.

The Story of Lizzie Borden – My Interest & Theories on the Murders

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The following interview with film maker Ric Rebelo was conducted in the parlor of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, 92 Second Street, Fall River, in November of 2009.  Click the “Click to Play” and after the advertisement ends there will be about a 10 second pause and then the video will begin.   You can also click the monitor icon for full screen view.  It runs about 16 minutes.  Enjoy.

Legends: The Cat Lizzie Killed & The Pinkerton Agent

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(Recycled from June 15, 2008)

I’ve started a new Category, “Urban Legends in the Lizzie Borden Case” to question, debunk or add to those whacky and outrageous claims we find in books and old newspapers relative to this most compelling case.

Abby Whitehead Potter was the daughter of Sarah Whitehead, Abby Borden’s half sister who lived a couple blocks behind 92 Second Street on Fourth Street. Borden case scholars usually first hear of her in Judge Robert Sullivan’s book “Goodbye Lizzie Borden”, the Stephen Green Press, 1974. In that book, on page 7, he tells about meeting her in 1973 when she was 90 years old, and states she speaks of her knowledge of Lizzie of which facts have “never before been disclosed.”


Abby Whitehead Potter (AWP) actually gave a few newspaper interviews four years previous, when she was 86 years old. This one below from the Providence Evening Bulletin of January 17, 1969. Apparently AWP was so proud of this she cut it out and sent it to Florence Brigham of the Fall River Historical Society. Florence subsequently gave me a couple back in the late 1980′s when we discussed AWP. It should be noted that AWP initiated her eventual meeting with Judge Sullivan by writing a long letter to him introducing herself and connection with Lizzie Borden.

In another newspaper interview of 1969, AWP tells us of infamous story of Lizzie killing Abby’s cat. I think it was from this article that URBAN LEGEND took hold and was resurfaced in a number of subsequent books.

Orin M. Hanscom was a Pinkerton detective brought into the case early by Lizzie’s attorney, Andrew Jennings. His presence was to make sure there was no hanky-panky by the Fall River Police. Allegedly the superintendent of the Boston office of this prestigious investigative agency, it was O. M. Hanscom who asked Alice Russell if all of Lizzie’s dresses were accounted for and to which Alice replied with a “falsehood”. Alice lied. But she would tell the truth of Lizzie burning a dress nearly four months later in front of the Grand Jury in Taunton. A burning of a dress that happened just the day before Hanscom questioned her!

Jennings also sent the intrepid Orin off to Hastings, Iowa to look into the life of John Vinnicum Morse, Lizzie and Emma’s uncle on their mother’s side.

Now, wouldn’t you think that if Orin was head of the Pinkerton Office in Boston he would have filed a report? Wouldn’t you think a copy of that report would be filed with his boss at Headquarters in New York? Well, you’d think so. But from this letter in my collection we learn there is nothing. Or nothing was found at the time of it’s writing in 1967.


It is said that this Pinkerton detective Hanscom quickly came to suspect Lizzie in the double hatchet murders and, further, he was becoming far too chummy with the local reporters. Attorney Jennings, realizing his continued presence in Fall River would work to Lizzie’s detriment, had him hustled out of town – to Iowa – and then dropped his services altogether, but not after ensuring there was no written documentation of this Pinkerton’s suspicions.

Here is more information on Mr. Aime Plourde to whom the above letter was addressed.

Newspaper Reports “Parallel Lives” Finally Published!

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The story continues:

Payson resident, Faye Musselman, visiting Fall River, was observed dressed in a plaid skirt, trimmed white blouse and oxford shoes.  She kept twisting her pig tails as she approached each girl offering a Justin Bieber CD in exchange for their book.  It was only when a suspicious parent pointed out Ms. Musselman to Michael and Dennis that Faye admitted she wanted to fill the book shelf in the titanium structure she had built inside her home for reading of this massive work.  Sadly, she was asked to vacate the premises but grinned as she headed for the door, leaning slightly sideways from the weight of the 7 books she had traded.

The “American Girl” tea was a rousing success and all the little girls agreed the next doll to be made definitely had to be Lizzie Borden – truly an American Girl.

Parallel Lives will be in book stores on Monday and available as the Fall River Historical Society gift shop.  When going to purchase the book, bring water and snacks as the lines will be very long.


Lizzie Borden’s Dying Act of Kindness

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Lizzie Borden died 84 years ago today.  She died at 8:30 pm on June 1, 1927  (a Wednesday) in her home in Fall River, MA.  She had been lingering all day, surrounded by her chauffeur and two servants:  Ernest Terry, Ellen Miller, and Florence Pemberton.  There were others who came to the house as well.

The Reverend Cleveland from the nearby Church of Ascension – a few doors down from Central Congregational  Church on Rock Street – would execute the wishes Lizzie had written out on March 31, 1919.   Vida Turner would come in and be instructed to sing “My Ain’ Country”, tell no one she had been there and then leave immediately.

The reporting a few days later of Lizzie’s Will was regional front page news and appeared in many newspapers across the country recounting the horrific hatchet murders of August 4, 1892, and Lizzie’s subsequent arrest, trial and acquittal.

Her Will was probated for 6 years with four separate Probate Court Accountings submitted by the executor of her estate, Charles C. Cook:

Probate of Lizzie’s Will.

Proceeding Inclusive Dates Held
1st Accounting June 24, 1927 – May 1, 1929 October 2, 1931(Fall River)
2nd Accounting May 2, 1929 – Jan. 1, 1932 February 17, 1933(Taunton)
3rd (Substituted)Accounting Jan.1, 1932 – Nov. 28, 1932 February 17, 1933(Taunton)
4th FinalAccounting Nov. 28, 1932 – March 3, 1933 March 24, 1933(Attleboro)

The primary reason for the long probate was Mr. Cook’s failure to include the house/property at 328 French Street known as the “Henry House” which was situated directly east of “Maplecroft”.

Mr. Cook claimed the house was his as a gift from Lizzie.   However, Grace Hartley Howe and Helen Leighton, the two major legatees in Lizzie’s Will, were having none of it.  They claimed fraud and the matter went to court – Probate Court – in several sessions.   The testimony in those proceedings are rich in insight into Lizzie’s character as gleamed from those who testified, including Winifred F. French, who was to receive $5,000 as a bequest from Lizzie.  What the witnesses on behalf of Grace & Helen had to say was insightful, but the most provacative was this:

So here we have Lizzie dying and she knows she is about to die but what is on her mind?  She is remembering her promise to Ernest Terry to pay for his house repairs and tells him to write a blank check, which she signs and which he takes to the bank.  She may or may not have remembered she left him and his wife money in her will, but she wanted this to be extra.   A blank check – reluctantly approved by Cook, but cashed at the bank.    And Cook, dear man, tried to convince Mr. Terry that that check of $2,500 was to be considered part of the $3,000 cash bequest from Lizzie.  What a guy.

Ultimately the court ruled in favor of Helen & Grace and the proceeds from the sale of the property was considered a part of Lizzie’s estate.  Although he was judged not guilty of fraud or had bad faith in carrying out the terms of the Will, Judge Mayhew R. Hitch of the Probate Court made Cook accountable for that $10,000 (which was the amount he had sold it for but not yet pocketed) plus interest.   Cook made this right in the Final Accounting.  I find it amusing that he also included the cost of services from the attorney who represented him, Arthur E. Seagrave.  The court approved it.  His submittal of the heating bill for the Maplecroft garage where he parked his car, however, was not approved.  (Good try but too bad, Charlie).

So as she lay dying on this day 83 years ago, Lizzie Andrew Borden made no deathbed confession (and had she, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog) but she was focused on a potential financial hardship to her faithful driver and friend, Ernest Terry.   Her last documented act was to issue a blank check.

Yes, there were many acts of kindness that Lizzie Borden did throughout her life, particularly the second half of her life when she had the money to use as she wanted.  We will most likely read more about them in Parallel Lives and perhaps finally see a photograph of Ernest Terry (I’ve never seen one and the book is to have well over 500 photographs – yep, you read that right).

I would like say, on this day:  “Rest in peace, Lizzie Borden.”

But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

“Parallel Lives” To Show Us a Different Lizzie Borden

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Well, it’s almost here.  Maybe as close as the middle of next month.  We all know “of” Lizzie Borden as the central figure in America’s most baffling unsolved classic crime.  We know “of” her as a spinster school teacher who was charged (but acquitted) of the grisly hatchet murders of her father and stepmother on August 4, 1892 in Fall River, Ma.  We know “of” her in our mind, influenced by the thousands of images of her wielding a bloody axe (wrong), dripping in blood, who wanted daddy’s money and feared her stepmother would get it.  We know “of” her as a reclusive, shunned matron of “Maplecroft”,  the house she lived in the entire second half of her life.

When the 1992 Lizzie Borden Centennial was held in Fall River, hundreds came from all over to offer up and share in various theories.  Most prevalent was the incest theory.  Polls taken then showed the majority of Conference attendees still favored the “Lizzie did it” point of view.  But that has all been based on what we thought we knew “of” Lizzie.  After four days of presentations and various events and new books, we all went away no nearer to the truth -  let alone a viable solution to the enigma – nor enhancing our knowledge of who, really, was Lizzie Borden.

Lizzie’s Time

Lizzie was born the year the Pony Express was started, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton addressed the state’s legislature on the subject of women’s suffrage, and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities was published.  There were only 33 states in the Union, and public conveyance was mostly by steamship and horse-drawn wagon.  She died the year two-way television was first demonstrated, “The Jazz Singer” premiered, and when the whole world was celebrating Lindberg’s solo flight across the Atlantic to Paris.  This was an era of great progress in America’s history as well as the rise and fall of industrial New England.

Now, spanning that same period – 1860 to 1927, comes the Fall River Historical Society’s “Parallel Lives-A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River.”  It is a book that  has been many years in the making, (I think I was pre-menopausal when they began), and it is a monumental and meticulous effort on the parts of Michael Martins and Dennis Binette, curators of the Society.  At  1000+ pages and 500+ photographs, this book promises to give us a new mindset of Lizzie and possibly change our opinions as to whether she “did it” or “didn’t do it”.

Sources hidden for generations until now

Aside from the voluminous amount of information housed in the archives of the Fall River Historical Society on Fall River’s history, that structure houses the world’s largest collection of documents and artifacts about the Borden case.  While most of what they have has either been revealed or made accessible to the public, the Society still had a significant amount of materials about Lizzie and her town’s history not published before, and this all appears in the book. However, little did Michael or Dennis know of what was to come.

Upon hearing of Martins/Binette Parallel Lives work-in-progress, dozens of people all over the country – and even outside of the U.S. – came forward voluntarily to present long held family secrets and treasures. Information and insight flowed forth from attics and old boxes, albums, etc. that were held within the families and passed down to sons and daughters, nieces and nephews.  All was kept from public view or scrutiny until now.  No sooner would Michael and Dennis be unexpectedly showered with one source of information who knew Lizzie, but then another and another would surface.  The journals, photos, cards, letters kept pouring in.  Like amoeba, it seemed to self reproduce until they had so much information about Lizzie Borden and her times it required a tome of more than 1000 pages.

We “hear” Lizzie speak through letters never revealed previously.  We “hear” others speak about their relationships with Lizzie, long standing relationships – people who knew her well.  We learn of specific things she did and places she went.  We learn about what she thought and how she responded within her world of Fall River’s “closed” society.  We gain a richer understanding of what it meant to be a Borden and the wide spread influences and power that name evoked. We learn of specific acts of kindnesses previously only alluded to. We learn much of this from the relatives and descendents of those that knew Lizzie Borden personally.  Not just “of” her.

This massive work isn’t about the crime per se, nor does it propose new theories.  It presents us with her world, her town, her peers, customs, morals, traditions, scandals, successes, and so much more that contributed to who and what she was as a child, girl, young woman, middle aged woman and elderly woman.  Through those letters, journals, photographs, remembrances, we finally we get to know Lizzie Borden.

Parallel Lives will thrill and astound all Borden case enthusiasts and experts.  To the latter it will be a primary treasured collectible, a golden resource in the cornicopia of what we know so far about Lizzie and, particularly, Fall River’s history of those six decades.  For the world-wide minions who know of the case – from as little as that inaccurate quatrain to a basic knowledge of the family and her post-Trial life – this book may not be so coveted or sought after.  At least not initially.  But because the book promises to shatter myths and resolve some mysteries about this case and the enduring, inscrutable Miss Lizzie it will garner massive attention through the media.  We will hear about it on television news, electronic news sites, in the printed newspapers, journals and magazines,  and the millions who hunker down with various social networking on the internet.  It will become a topic of conversation.  First regionally, then nationally then world-wide.  I’ve no doubt Michael and Dennis will be invited or interviewed remotely for a variety of talk shows and t.v. news special features as the public awareness of this watershed publication grows. In short, as news of its content spreads via multi media exposure, having a copy of the book will become de rigueur.  Its sales will soar. Lizzie Borden always gets attention and this book – this book registers on the same excitement level as  DeMille’s The Ten Commandments, “Who Shot J.R.?”, and Lindberg’s landing in Paris.

The Fall River Historical Society has a Facebook page that has been providing updates about the book’s production and publication.  I encourage you to read the comments of Michael Martins and Dennis Binette to learn precisely, specifically the amazing research effort and amount of sweat equity they both put into this book and why it is such a remarkable, beautifully crafted and valuable piece of work.

The exact publication date has not yet been announced.  The price of the book has not yet been set.  But we will have answers to this very soon,.  You can pre-order at the FRHS site HERE.

Incredibly Priced Lizzie Borden Collectibles for Sale – Part 1

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I’ve received several emails about the Spinner books and so am providing a couple links.  Scroll down HERE to see all the out of print Spinner books such as those listed.  HERE is another good link for general information on all the Spinner publications.

I have also indicated in purple below the items that have already been sold since posting this blog.  Remember, more are coming!

These collectible items are guaranteed to be the lowest price you’ll find anywhere.  Many of these items include surprise bonuses, often worth more than the item itself!

These items will be sold on a first come first serve basis upon receipt of a money order or personal check.  NO PAY PAL.  Send an email to me at phaye@npgcable.com stating the Item(s) number(s). and your address.  I will reply with the total price.  But note that some items are FREE DELIVERY.

More items will be listed in a few days on my Collectibles page, so if you don’t see what you want here, watch for “Incredibly Priced Lizzie Borden Collections for Sale – Part 2″.  CLICK ON IMAGES FOR LARGER VIEW.

Item #1Lizzie Borden – A Study in Conjecture by Mrs. Belloc Lowndes.  1st edition with dust jacket.  Rare.                Price:  $65.00 plus postage

Item #2:  Collectible fan produced for the World Premiere of Slaughter on Second Street, a play by David Kent.  This fan was issued in limited quantity for the 1992 Lizzie Borden Centennial held at Bristol Community College, Fall River, August 1992.               PRICE:  $10.00 (with Bonus)

Item #3:  Compendium book, “The Legend 100 Years after the crime – a conference on the Lizzie Borden Case, edited by Prof. Jules Rychebusche.  This book contains essays submitted from the Call for Papers for the 1992 Centennial on Lizzie Borden.     PRICE  $25 plus postage  (with Bonus)

Item #4:  Three Casebooks as shown.  Includes 3 sepia tone Bordenia postcards and postcard of Rebello’s Lizzie Borden Past & Present.  Casebook issues feature various crimes, solved and unsolved, and includes one special featured crime among the others in each issue.  From left to right in the images below:  “The Perfect Murder” (William Wallace); “Death for Sale”, (Judge Peel, Mother Duncan & Childs & MacKenny); “The Fatal Triangle” (Harry Thaw).      SOLD      Price  $15.00.  FREE DELIVERY

Item #5:  The Earl Charlton Story.   Earl P. Charlton was one of the first tenants of Andrew Borden’s new building on Main & Anawan Streets.  Starting out a a 5 & dime he partnered with Woolworths and became the richest man in Fall River.  His contributions have resulted in the premiere hospital of Fall River.                             Price:  $10 plus postage

Item #6:  Currently the premiere book on Lizzie Borden by Leonard Rebello (pending the publication of the Fall River Historical Society’s Parallel Lives, this book usually sells for $200 or more.  It is the definitive ‘go to” book.    AUTOGRAPHED.           Price:  $75.00 plus postage

Item #7:  Liberty Magazine, Fall 1972.  Includes wonderful 8-page article on the Borden case with illustrations, including the cut out images of the Borden house.                 Price $10 plus postage (with special Bonus)

Item #8:  Lizzie Borden Research & Reference CD ROM, includes Witness Statements, Coroner’s Inquest, Preliminary Hearing and Trial.  Also has over 2,000 images, complete books in WORD (Private Disgrace, Fall River Tragedy, etc. etc.), special essays and MORE.  Fantastic bargain. This is most comprehensive and a researcher’s dream.       Price $20 FREE DELIVERY PLUS BONUS!

Item #9:  Police Files, June 1964, with another terrific article on the Borden case.                                                  PRICE $7.00 with surprise Bonus.

Item #10:  DVD  The Curse of Lizzie Borden (Director’s cut), and book The Most Evil Women in History by Shelley Klein, like new with dust jacket.                                                   Price $15.00 plus postage.

Item #11:  Spinner – People & Culture in Southeastern Massachusetts – Vol. II.  This has wonderful, in depth articles and tons of photos, particularly of New Bedford & Fall River.  Long out of print and hard to find. Wonderful history.                                                         Price $15.00 plus Bonus.

Item #12:  This is a two volume series of photographs I took when visiting the “Lizzie Borden Story” in Salem, Ma.  The exhibit has since gone out of business but my photos take you on a chronological excursion of everything displayed.  If you never went there, this “history” is preserved in these photographs.      SOLD      Price:  $15.00.  FREE POSTAGE.

Item #13:  Spinner – People & Culture in Southeastern Massachusetts – Vol. 1. and The Run of the Mill, a Pictorial Narrative of the Expansion, Dominion, Dedcline and Enduring Impact of the New England Textile Industry by Steve Dunwell, 1978.  Out of Print.      PRICE: $35 Plus postage.

Item #14:  Historic Fall River – a special publication prepared for the City of Fall River by The Preservation Partnership, 1978. 120 pages of illustrations and text on Fall River’s architecture, i.e. Victorian, Romanesque, Gothic Revival, etc., and Fall River neighborhoods.  Any Borden case afficionado will recognize many of the structures.  Long out of print, hard to find.      SOLD       Price:  $25 plus postage.   Comes with a BONUS!

Item #15:  David Rehak’s Did Lizzie Borden Axe for It?.  Revised 2005.  This book has been printed in 3 different revisions.  To own all 3 is a collector’s objective.  Second book is Agnes deMille’s A Dance of Death – the story of her research into the Borden case which resulted in her ballet,  Fall River Legend.                        Price: $22.00 plus postage.

Item #16:  DVD The Legend of Lizzie Borden – 1975 Paramount Pictures made-for-t.v. starring Elizabeth Montgomery.   Price:  $15 plus Bonus!

Item #17:  Collectible Lizzie Borden ceramic coffee mug, plus model of the Lizzie Borden house woodcut which was issued in limited quantity and hard to find.                  Price:  $22 plus Postage.  SPECIAL BONUS.

Item #18:  The Knowlton Papers - edited by the Fall River Hitorical Society, Michael Martins and Dennis Binette.  This is a coveted collectible that usually sells between $200 and $400.  This book is surely to go up in value and be in demand when Parallel Lives is published.  Excellent condition and comes with the dust jacket.                   Price: $90 plus postage.                     

McWhirr’s Department Store – Where Lizzie Borden shopped

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An excellent article about this wonderful store is below and is worth sharing here.  I’ve received many emails and letters from decendents of the McWhirr’s and relations of those who owned and managed the store in the 1950′s and 1960′s.  Undoubtedly, our dear Miss Lizzie shopped there with her $4.00 a week allowance.  That allowance, by the way, would have the purchasing power of $98 today.

From SouthCoast Today

Lizzie Borden at Eight 0′Clock – One Act Play

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Here’s a review of this one woman, one act play.  I’ve spoken to people who have seen it and it’s nothing like Jill Dalton’s mesmerizing, point-on Lizzie Borden Live! Nonetheless, it sounds pretty darn good.

“Theatre Review: Lizzie Borden at Eight O’Clock

By Stephen Sossaman : March 27, 2011
Mitch Giannunzio’s one-woman play, Lizzie Borden at Eight O’Clock, is about to finish its March-April 2011 run at the WorkShop Theater Company in Manhattan.

The conceit of the play is that a few years after her acquittal for the infamous hatchet murders of her father and her step-mother, and after suffering the gossip and shunning of her townspeople, Lizzie Borden agrees to finally tell all for a Fall River Historical Society fund-raiser. She will identify the real murderer.

That makes the audience for this monodrama enact the roles of the people of Fall River, including presumably some who had presumably wanted her hanged. During the course of her monolog, Lizzie calls the room about that, but she never loses her composure. At least not until the end. At times she notices in the back of the audience some particular persons involved in her case, including the judge, and she names them. She is cordial to them but we know that she is holding back.

From the very beginning, Lizzie Borden proclaims her innocence and most of her monolog demolishes the case against her like an Agatha Christie detective finally revealing everything in the drawing room.

Lizzie Borden takes pains to show how she could not possibly have committed the murder. In her interwoven account of family relations, every now and then a little stinkbomb of resentment and anger appears quietly to enrich her logical analysis.

This production is marvelous. Ellen Barry is a fine Lizzie Borden. Her remarkable stage presence is enough to maintain audience attention even during relatively long passages of exposition made necessary by the premise, and even though monodramas as long as this one are not easy to sustain. She is especially strong when the end of the play requires a delicate balance of emotions and hints of matters left unsaid. Mitch Giannunzio has insured that her monolog becomes increasingly intense as the play progresses.

The ending rises in intensity as Lizzie, perhaps overly refreshed with some elderberry wine and wearied by too much civility, starts to go off the edge.  She identifies the person she thinks did the murders. Suddenly we wonder if she is not indeed maniacal enough to have crushed the victims’ skulls, and perhaps too a few audience skulls. This unsettling ending is especially shocking as the opening of her monolog is comforting and reassuring about her innocence, with few undercurrents to weaken our credulity and our sympathy.

Mitch Giannunzio’s script is spare and visually evocative, providing rich mise en scene for the mind’s eye, to compensate for the absence of multiple actors and complex stage business. The few props have been chosen well.

Kenneth Tigar has directed the production astutely to achieve a crisp pace on a small stage. His own successful experiences as an actor in monodramas serves him well here.

Ellen Barry, Mitch Giannunzio, and Kenneth Tigar have worked together before, and based on this performance I hope they find occasions to work together again.”


If you’re in the New York area, try to catch this.  Sounds worthwhile.  :)

More on Chloe Sevigny’s Lizzie Borden Project

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(Recycled post)

Cut & paste this link in your browser to see Lizzie Borden B&B manager Lee-ann Wilber interviewed on the HBO mini-series project.


According to the internet, there’s a big buzz around Hollywood on Chloe Sevigny’s project to do a 2-part, 4 hour, mini-series on HBO about our beloved and inscrutable Lizzie Borden.  The project has been approved “for development” and Miss Sevigny is garnering lots of ink lately.  Below are some recent sample articles:

Tom Hank’s production company is involved.

“Which version of Lizzie will we see?”

She will also co-produce.

I posted about this before HERE.

Although it’s still “in development” rather than “pre-production” the fact that Tom Hanks is involved has me greatly encouraged this project will go thru all phases and become a reality.   Imagine:  4 hours of professional film making of Lizzie Borden on HBO.  Not since Paramount Pictures did their made-for-tv 1975 “The Legend of Lizzie Borden” starring Elizabeth Montgomery have we been treated to such a production.  And that film was less than 2 hours.

Now, here’s the thing for consideration:  In the next few months we will see the long awaited birth of the Fall River Historical Society’s much anticipated mega-work - “Parallel Lives - A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River”. This monumental work – over 1,000 pages and over 500 photographs (many of Lizzie hereself never published anywhere before) - is destined to become the “go to” book for Lizzie and her times.  More importantly, it promises to give new insight into just who Lizzie was and how she was perceived by those contemporaries who knew her best.  It promises to show us a side of Lizzie seldom addressed nor revealed. This book will most likely shatter all pre-conceived notions about Lizzie and certainly make us view her far differently than we ever have.

HBO’s production, if it comes to fruition, will most likely be aired the end of this year or early 2012.  The fact that it is in development now – with the script being written  – it can not possibly incorporate or take into consideration the new information contained in Parallel Lives. So I have to ask:  Would this mean that HBO’s production would be lacking important facts and, thus wrongly influence Chloe’s portrayal of her?  Will the new information revealed in Parallel Lives regarding Lizzie’s character be important for any future portrayals of her?

When it does air on television, all the book reviews and online articles about Parallel Lives will have already been “out there” influencing the public’s view of Lizzie.  That influence may not be compatible let alone accepted by the way she may be presented in the HBO production. Although the script will most certainly deal with the crime itself, Parallel Lives does not.  Will the new information about Lizzie revealed in the book cause such a significant shift of perception that any future portrayals must take that shift into account?

Hopefully, Ms. Sevigny will visit the FRHS where Curator Michael Martins and Assistant Curator Dennis Binette, authors of Parallel Lives, would graciously expose her to pertinent content and photos not yet published but that will be prior to any HBO release of Chloe’s project.  It would be wonderful if this HBO project would incorporate some of that new information, ensuring us that we will be viewing a 4 hour production based on that “other side” of Lizzie Borden.  It would be wonderful to know that the talented Chloe Sevigny researched the new information and subsequently let it influence the “choices” she took in her portrayal of Lizzie Borden.  Good acting is about good choices when the camera is rolling.  Actors know that.  I’m hoping Chloe Sevigny will go to Fall River soon, talk to Michael and Dennis, and learn about that other side of Lizzie Borden.  It’s her choice.  And it would be a very good one.  :)

The “Today Show” comes to Fall River

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The producers of the Today Show wanted to do a feature on Lizzie Borden the end of this month, and soon they heard about the Fall River Historical Society’s new book:  Parallel Lives, which will also now be featured.

This is fabulous news! With 8 million, yeah, 8 million viewers the program should help book sales tremendously! And since this kind of subject programming seems to reproduce like amoeba, I expect much more will surface!

The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum is consistently featured in various media and formats and has long had an unofficial “promotional partnership” with the Fall River Historical Society.  These two legendary tourist locations  are always planned stopovers for visitors to Fall River.

The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast = “Winning!”

Photo by Jay Jones, LATimes blogspot

“The Fall River Historical Society = “Winning!”

Photo from Fall River Herald News

Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River: “Winning!”

City of Fall River = “Winning!”


New Book on Lizzie Borden’s Fall River

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To the millions world wide who remain fascinated with the inscrutable, enigmatic Lizzie Borden and her one dimensional persona linked to those horrific hatchet 1892 murders in Fall River, comes a monumental book giving depth and texture to Fall River’s social history and bringing life to Lizzie Andrew Borden.

The Fall River Historical Society is about to publish a work that has been at least 8 years in the making:  Parallel Lives – A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden’s Fall River by FRHS Curator, Michael Martins and Assistant Curator, Dennis Binette.

Click on image to enlarge for reading text.

Michael Martins

Dennis Binette

The dust jacket blurbs are the best descriptions as to what this book is about so I encourage you to read them.

This book is over 1,000 pages and has over 500 photographs, many never seen before including Lizzie herself.

For any historian of America’s industrial age, gilded age, working class versus the elite or just Lizzie Borden – this is an absolute MUST HAVE book.  Oh, it’s not going to be cheap, and it certainly isn’t “light” reading, but I guarantee this will be the BE ALL, TELL ALL book for just what its title implies.

If you have to sell all your other books on Lizzie Borden to afford this one – do just that because THIS book is going to show you the REAL Lizzie.

You can pre-order HERE.   Simply fill out the email form and in the Comment section state that you wish to order the book.  The price has not yet been set but will be soon.    Read also THIS LINK for more information on the contents.

Again, I can not emphasize enough how important it is to get this book if you are truly interested in Lizzie Borden and Fall River and how each affected the other.   If you are familiar with the Fall River Historical Society’s only other published book, The Knowlton Papers, then you already know the supreme quality of their work.

This book is surely to rattle the foundations of all existing theories about Lizzie, make you think twice about her guilt or innocence (they do not attempt to solve the case by any means), and most importantly, not only introduce us but delve under the skin of a flesh and blood Lizzie we’ve never known before.

I have always said to know Lizzie is to know Fall River.  This magnificent work  serves it all up through a cornucopia that spills forth nuggets of gold.  So, enrich your knowledge with this gifted treasure.   A treasure you will value all your life.  Parallel Lives – you’d be a fool not to order it now.

Alice Russell – Lizzie Borden’s “Turncoat” Friend.

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Alice Russell as depicted in newspaper sketches – 1893


Alice Russell at the Old Folks Home – 1931

The photo of Alice in old age is the only known photograph of her to date.  Here’s hoping Parallel Lives will have more.  The below article is from the Fall River Historical Society’s website, taken from their Summer 2002 newsletter, also posted online.  They are all worth reading so check them out.

“Lizzie’s Turncoat Friend”

“Frank B. Hadley has recently donated a rare and important photograph of Miss Alice M. Russell to the Fall River Historical Society. It is the only photograph of Miss Russell known to exist, depicting the subject as an elderly woman. Miss Russell was the first cousin of the donor’s grandmother, Ida Russell.

Ida’s husband, Dwight Minor, took the photograph at 3:46 pm on September 4, 1931, with the subject sitting in her comfortably furnished room at the Home for Aged People in Fall River.  In the mirror of the ornate Victorian bureau can be seen the image of the photographer, standing before a window.

The photograph was found by the donor among a collection of family photographs enclosed in an envelope inscribed “Alice Russell Lizzie’s Turncoat Friend” in the hand of Mr. Minor. The reverse of the photograph is inscribed “Alice Maria Russell, Fall River, Sept. 4, 1931.” in an unidentified hand. It is interesting to note that the middle name, as it appears on the photograph, is Maria, as it was previously believed that the initial “M” stood for Manley, the maiden surname of her mother.

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1852, Alice was the daughter of Frederick W. and Judith (Manley) Russell. She was employed as a clerk for several years in Fall River and later taught sewing in the public school system. In 1908, she was promoted to the position of supervisor of sewing, remaining in that capacity until her retirement five years later. A Fall River resident for most of her life, she spent several years living next door to the Borden family on Second Street.  In 1930, Miss Russell moved into the Home for Aged People on Highland Avenue, remaining in residence there until her death on January 21, 1941.

A friend of both the Misses Borden, Alice Russell was among the first summoned to 92 Second Street following the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, remaining there until the following Monday as company to the sisters. She testified at the inquest and preliminary hearing, but it was not until the grand jury hearing that she revealed her “burning of the dress” testimony.  She was also a witness at the trial of Miss Lizzie A. Borden in June of 1893. While on the stand describing the events which occurred in the kitchen of the Borden house on Sunday, August 7, 1892, Miss Russell was instructed to make a series of marks on the floorplans of the house drawn by architect Thomas Kieran.

An unusual legacy, the cross where she was standing, the outline of the stove in the Borden kitchen and the round mark illustrating where the burned dress was stored in the clothes press can still be seen on these trial exhibits in the Historical Society’s archive. Following the trial and its aftermath, she ceased to be on friendly terms with the Misses Borden, living a life that can best be described as quiet and genteel.  Mrs. Florence Cook Brigham, to whom she taught sewing, fondly remembered her as “a gentle person” with “lovely white hair” and believed that she “would not have told the story about the burning of the dress if her conscience hadn’t bothered her.”

Alice Russell rarely spoke of the events of August 1892 and their aftermath; few who knew her in later life had any knowledge of her close association and involvement in the case.  On the rare occasions when Miss Russell discussed the case with her cousin Ida, the latter woman’s young daughter Mildred was asked to leave the room, the conversation not being considered proper for a young girl to hear. Alice told her cousin that she thought Lizzie Borden was innocent of the murders of Mr. & Mrs. Borden until August 7, 1892, when she saw her burn the dress in the kitchen stove. From the day of that observation until she breathed her last, she was convinced of Lizzie Borden’s guilt. There is little doubt that Miss Russell knew much about the goings-on in the Borden residence during the days following the discovery of the bodies, taking most of that information undisclosed to her grave. Always the lady and true to her Yankee heritage, she believed, as did many closely associated with the Borden case, that certain things were “not discussed.” For that conviction, she deserves our admiration and respect.”


An Unusual Occurrence at the Fall River Historical Society

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Today marks just one week and one day when I set off the alarm at the Fall River Historical Society.  I had spent about 3 hours there the day before chatting with Michael Martins and Dennis Binette about their new book, Parallel Lives.  That evening I noted a stone from my ring was missing and thought perhaps it had fallen out on the floor in the room we were in and was returning to check up on that.

Mistakenly thinking they opened at 10:00 am, I opened the outer door, walked in and stepped up to the inner wooden door, opened that and stepped up.  It was dark, silent.  I called out “Anybody here?”  I took one step towards the gift shop and at that instant the alarm began its loud alert.  “Hmmmm” thought I, “something’s amiss.”

I calmly walked out back to my car to await the police, wondering if one of the elderly volunteers had entered, collapsed of a heart attack before having a chance to program the alarm to off mode, and consequently lay dead on the floor.

Within a minute,  two nearby neighbors were charging toward the structure in response to the bellowing alarm.   I got out of my car and approached them, identifying myself and explaining what happened.  They were concerned knowing the place was not yet opened but decided to await police arrival.

Within 3 minutes, a police unit arrived.  He first circled the block in search of any suspect fleeing on foot.  He soon returned, and after explaining it was I who triggered the alarm and was now concerned about a dead body on the floor, the officer asked me to wait outside while he entered, gun drawn.

In another minute, a second police unit responded and that officer joined the other for a cursory search inside.

So I stood over by my car talking to the two neighbors, waiting for what they found.   Nothing.  No dead body.  (I’m rather macabre at times).

Within 10 minutes of the alarm sounding, Curator Michael Martins was on the scene.  He did a check with the officers.   Michael came out and told me the cleaning crew, who I had apparently just missed when I arrived, had mistakenly thought the other had locked up.  So all was well, and I got a chance to meet and chat with the owner of the Anna Borden house, diagonally across the street, and who was one of the “first responders.”

The next day, Halloween, I was back at the FRHS for the book signing of Tim Weisberg’s new book,  Ghosts of the Southcoast.

Barbara Morrissy, JoAnne Giovino, Michael Martins, Dennis Binette, and me

Co-owner Lee-ann Wilber, gift shop manager Will Clawson and me at Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum gift shop.

BTW, never did find the missing stone to my ring.

eBay Auction on Orrin Gardner Photo

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A little over a week ago I spotted this assortment of cabinet card photos on eBay and recognized Orrin Gardner, Lizzie & Emma’s cousin from Swansea who was a primary legatee in Emma Borden’s Will.  The Seller said she got it at a flea market many years ago where there were dozens in a box and she picked these out at random.

I didn’t bid because I already have it and had included it in a previous blog. It is, in fact, Orrin’s high school graduation picture.  Original issues are in a Gardner family album archived at the Swansea Historical Society in Swansea, MA.

Perhaps a cabinet photo of Lizzie, many years post Trial, is now residing in a box or tray on some dusty shelf at an antique store still unrecognized by the many eyes who finger through it.   Oh well, we’ll have plenty to salivate over when the Fall River Historical Society’s Parallel Lives is published.

Where did that Lizzie “Noisy Bird” Letter go?

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The below image is of a display that once adorned the office wall of Reverend Robert Lawrence, past minister of the First Congregational Church in Fall River.   It contains the 2-page letter Lizzie Borden wrote on May 31, 1900 to John Summerfield Brayton about his crowing bird that disturbed her.  The letter was found tucked in a desk drawer many years later by his son.

First Congregational Church when it was on Main Street at the time Lizzie wrote her letter.

First Congregational Church on Rock Street as it looks today and where the Reverend Lawrence ministered.

On a visit to Fall River late last year, I once again went to view this.  It was gone.  I inquired earlier this year by phone to the Church office as to the whereabouts of this display and was told it was gone.  I was told that “Reverend Lawrence took it with him when he left.”  Now perhaps the young lady in the office who told me that was in error, but if not, it begs the question: “Where is it now?”

The recipent’s great-grandson, John Summerfield Brayton,  Jr. died in 1997, prior to Reverend Lawrence’s retirement and while I’m not certain how the original letter got into the hands of the church, it may have been John, Jr. or John the III, who donated it.

In this Fall River Herald News salute to Reverend Lawrence no mention of the Lizzie Borden case, let alone the display.  It just may have been that a member of the Brayton family (whose family for over 150 years attended this Church and whose civic and social contributions to the city have been numerous for four generations), simply told the Reverend to keep it.

Frankly, if no decendents of this branch of the Brayton family want it, I think the display  should be donated to the Fall River Historical Society (of which a copy of the letter can be seen).   Had the entire display been given to them, it surely would have been placed  in their special Bordenaphilia exhibit now available for  public viewing.

118 Years Ago: August 4, 1892 – The Borden Murders

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Fall River Herald News Photo by Dave Souza

UPDATE:   Read this article about a special display at the Fall River Historical Society starting tomorrow, August 4th.

Fall River Herald News Photo by Sousa

UPDATE:   If you missed the Spooky Southcoast broadcast last night, I’ll be posting the podcast link when its done.  I’ve been inundated with emails about the new information revealed!


Here we go again. For 118 years not one year has gone by without some mention of the infamous 1892 Borden murders in Fall River, Massachussetts. From the very first reporting of the murders in newspapers all across the country (and often on their front pages) every succeeding year has brought a resurfacing of this compelling and enduring unsolved classic crime.

The last two decades have brought incredible technical advances in digital multi-media allowing for almost instantaneous transmittal of news in a variety of platforms. This, along also with the explosive interest in the paranormal the past 15 years serves to fuel the Bordenia juggernaut through incarnations via YouTube videos, ghost hunting/haunted houses/creepy destinations t.v. documentaries, and countless blogs and websites.

Each new generation discovers Lizzie Borden and feeds on the urban legends allowing for Lizzie Andrew Borden to fade in substance and texture from the flesh and blood woman of the Victorian era, Edwardian era, and the Jazz Age.  Instead, she has morphed into a one-dimensional persona based on an inaccurate quatrain depicted as a maniacal murderer wielding a bloody axe. Almost every caricature drawing or folk art depiction has her portrayed this way.  (Golly gee, just look at my previous post with Lizzie as a whacked out Ninja warrior).   But this is as far away from the truth as was the pear tree at 92 Second Street to “Maplecroft’s” veranda on French Street. It is urban legend.

Original artwork by Michael Lukowiak

She wasn’t always thought of or depicted as a maniacal murderer wielding a bloody axe. Fall River’s elite social strata deemed she was not to be talked about. That silence was rooted in the dictates and example set by Fall River’s 7th, 8th and 9th generation Bordens – the premiere founding family of Fall River. The whole thing was an ugly, scandalous and embarrassing business that was not good for business.   The example they set and the code of  “She was acquitted.  We don’t talk about it” held power and influence for decades.  Indeed, even 26 years after Lizzie’s death and when the town celebrated its Sesqui-Centennial (1803-1953) the Fall River Herald News dedicated only a one-column case recap (and one photo of her) in a 3-pound, 100+ page commemorative edition.

So here we go again. In a few days it will be August 4th and Borden case enthusiasts, scholars and looky-loos will be treated to all those “August 4th” historical mentions, case retrospectives, rehashing of the documentaries, etc. etc.  For those that trek to 92 Second Street’s Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum entertaining re-enactments will again be performed by the Pear Essential Player’s. Even the Fall River Historical Society is bringing into the light of day and public view a few case artifacts which have not been shown before, as well as  displaying differently and more provocatively  much of which they have.  I think this indicative of savvy promotion for their new book which, by the way, is taking three times longer to complete that the gestation period of an elephant.    ;)

So here we go again with the Timeline.  This one’s been tweaked a bit and I’ve included the Day Before the Murders.  Why?  Because it’s monumentally significant to what happened the following day.

8:00 am Abby goes across street to Dr. Bowen; tells him she fears she’s been poisoned.
9:00 am approx Dr. Bowen crosses street to check on the Bordens; Lizzie dashes upstairs; Andrew rebuffs his unsolicited visit.
10:00-11:30 am Lizzie attempts to buy prussic acid from Eli Bence at Smith’s pharmacy on Columbia Street.
12:00 Noon Lizzie joins Andrew and Abby for the noontime meal in the dining room.
12:35 am Uncle John Vinnicum Morse leaves by train from New Bedford.
1:30 pm John Morse walks from train station & arrives at Borden house; Abby lets him in front door.
2:00-4:00 pm Morse and Andrew talk in sitting room; Lizzie hears conversation CLICK
4:00 pm John Morse hires horse and wagon at Kirby’s Stable and drives to Swansea in late afternoon.
7:00 pm Lizzie visits Alice Russell in the early evening, states her fear “something will happen”.
7:00-8:00 pm John Morse visits Frederick Eddy at Borden farm in Swansea, brings back eggs.
8:45 pm Morse returns from Swansea, talks in sitting room with Andrew and Abby.                                                                                 (CI99)
9:00 pm Lizzie returns from Alice Russell’s, locks front door, and goes upstairs to her room without speaking to father or uncle.
9:15 pm Abby Borden retires to bed.
10:00 pm Andrew and Morse retire to bed.
August 4, 1892 THE DAY OF THE MURDERS (Note: Times given are based on various testimonies taken primarily from the Preliminary Hearing held August 25-September 1st, 1892, and are approximated as close as possible).
6:15 am Bridget goes downstairs, gets coal and wood in cellar to start fire in kitchen stove, and takes in milk.
6:20 am Morse goes downstairs to stting rm.
6:30 am Abby comes downstairs, gives orders for breakfast to Bridget
6:40-6:50 am Andrew goes downstairs, empties slops, picks up pears, and goes to barn.
6:45 am Bridget opens side (back) door for the ice man.
7:00 am Bordens and Morse have breakfast in dining room.  (Lizzie is still upstairs).
7:15 am Bridget sees Morse for first time at breakfast table.
7:30 am Bridget eats her breakfast, and then clears dishes.
7:45-8:45 Morse and Andrew talk in sitting room; Abby sits with them a short while before beginning to dust.
8:30 am Morse sees Abby go into the front hall.
8:45 am Andrew lets Morse out side door, invites him back for dinner.
8:45-9:00 am Morse leaves for Post Office and then to visit a niece and nephew at Daniel Emery’s, #4 Weybosset Street.
8:45-9:00 am Andrew goes back upstairs and returns wearing collar and tie, goes to sitting room.
8:45-9:00 am Abby tells Bridget to wash windows, inside and out.
8:45-8:50 am Lizzie comes down and enters kitchen.
8:45-9:00 am Bridget goes outside to vomit.
8:45-9:00 am Andrew leaves the house.
8:45-9:00 am Bridget returns, does not see Lizzie, sees Abby dusting in dining room, does not see Andrew.
9:00 am Abby goes up to guest room.
9:00-9:30 am Bridget cleans away breakfast dishes in kitchen.
9:00-9:30 am Bridget gets brush from cellar for washing windows
9:00-9:30 am Lizzie appears at back door as Bridget goes towards barn; Bridget tells Lizzie she need not lock door.
9:30 am Abraham G. Hart, Treasurer of Union Savings Bank, talks to Andrew at Bank.
9:15-9:45 am Morse arrives at #4 Weybosset Street to visit his niece and nephew.
9:30-10:05 Andrew visits banks.
9:45 am John P. Burrill, Cashier, talks to Andrew at National Union Bank.
9:50-10:00 am AJB deposits Troy Mill check with Everett Cook at First Nat’l Bank; talks with William Carr.
9:30-10:20 am Bridget washes outside windows, stops to talk to “Kelly girl” at south fence.
9:30-10:00 am Abby Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
10:00-10:30 am Mrs. Churchill sees Bridget outside washing NE windows.
10:20 am Bridget re-enters house from side door, commences to wash inside windows.
10:29 am Jonathan Clegg (fixed time by City Hall clock) stated Andrew left his shop heading home.
10:15-10:30 am Andrew stops to talk to Jonathan Clegg, picks up old lock; Southard Miller (at Whitehead’s Market) sees AJB turn onto Spring St; Mary Gallagher sees AJB at corner of South Main & Spring; Lizzie Gray sees AJB turning north on Second Street.
10:30-10:40 am Joseph Shortsleeves sees Andrew.
10:40 am James Mather sees Andrew leave shop
10:30-10:40 am Mrs. Kelly observes Andrew going to his front door.
10:30-10:40 am Andrew Borden can’t get in side door, fumbles with key at front door, and let in by Bridget.
10:30-10:40 am Bridget hears Lizzie laugh on the stairs as she says “pshaw” fumbling with inside triple locks.
10:35-10:45 am Bridget sees Lizzie go into dining room and speak “low” to her father.
10:45 am Mark Chase, residing over Wade’s store, sees man on Borden fence taking pears.
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie puts ironing board on dining room table as Bridget finishes last window in the dining room
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie asks Bridget in kitchen if she’s going out, tells her of note to Abby & sale at Sargeant’s.
10:50-10:55 Mark Chase observes man with open buggy parked just beyond tree in front of Borden house.
10:55 am Bridget goes upstairs to her room to lie down.
10:55–10:58 am Bridget goes up to her room; lies down on her bed.
10:55-11:00 am Andrew Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
11:00 am Bridget hears City Hall clock chime 11:00.
11:05-11:10 am Hyman Lubinsky drives his cart past the Borden house.
11:05-11:10 William Sullivan, clerk at Hudner’s Market notes Mrs. Churchill leaving the store.
11:10 am  APPROX. Lizzie hollers to Bridget to come down, “Someone has killed father”.
11:10-11:12 am Lizzie sends Bridget to get Dr. Bowen.
11:10-11:13 am Bridget rushes back across treet from Bowen’s, tells Lizzie he’s not home.
11:10-11:13 am Lizzie asks Bridget if she knows where Alice Russell lives and tells her to go get her.
11:10-11:13 am Bridget grabs her hat & shawl from kitchen entry way and rushes to Alice Russell’s.
11:10-11:13 am Mrs. Churchill observes Bridget crossing street, notices a distressed Lizzie and calls out to Lizzie who tells her “someone has murdered father.”
11:13 am Mrs. John Gormely says Mrs. Churchill runs through her yelling “Mr. Borden is murdered!”
11:10-11:14 am Mrs. Churchill goes to side door, speaks briefly to Lizzie, and then crosses street looking for a doctor.
11:12-11:14 am John Cunningham sees Mrs. Churchill talking to others then uses phone at Gorman’s paint shop to call Police.
11:15 am Marshal Hilliard receives call from news dealer Cunningham about disturbance at Borden house.
11:15 am Marshal Hilliard orders Officer Allen to go to Borden house. (Allen notes exact time on office wall clock).
11:16 – 11:20 am Mrs. Churchill returns from giving the alarm.
11:16 – 11:20 am Dr. Bowen pulls up in his carriage, met by his wife, rushes over to Borden’s.
11:16-11:20 am John Cunningham checks outside cellar door in Borden back yard, finds it locked.
11:18-11:20 am Dr. Bowen sees Andrew, asks for sheet; alone with Lizzie for approx. one minute.
11:20 am Officer Allen arrives at Bordens, met at door by Dr. Bowen.  Sees Lizzie sitting alone at kitchen table.
11:20–11:21 am Allen sees Andrews’s body at same time Alice Russell and Mrs. Churchill come in.  (Where was Bridget?)
11:20-11:22 am Allen checks front door and notes it bolted from inside, checks closets in dining room and kitchen.
11:20 am Morse departs Daniel Emery’s on Weybosset Street, takes a streetcar back to the Borden’s.
11-22-11:23 am Officer Allen leaves house to return to station, Bowen goes out with him.  Allen has Sawyer guard back door.
11:23-11:33 am Dr. Bowen returns home, checks rail timetable, goes to telegram Emma, and stops at Baker’s Drug store. Telegram is time stamped at 11:32.
11:25 am Off. Patrick Doherty, at Bedford & Second, notes City Hall clock time enroute to Station.
11:23-11:30 am Lizzie asks to check for Mrs. Borden; Bridget & Mrs. Churchill go upstairs, discover body.
11:32 am Officers Doherty & Wixon leaves police station for Borden house.  Reporter Manning on rear steps, Sawyer inside at screen door. (Bridget in s/e corner near sink)
11:34 am Bridget fetches Doctor Bowen’s wife, Phoebe.
11:35 George Petty, former resident of 92 Second Street, enters the Borden house with Dr. Bowen.
11:40 am Bowen returns to Borden house.   Churchill tells him they’ve discovered Abby upstairs.
11:35-11:40 am Officer Patrick Doherty & Deputy Sheriff Wixon arrive at house; see Manning sitting on steps, met at back door by Dr. Bowen, who lets them in.
11:35-11:40 am Francis Wixon and Dr. Bowen check Andrew’s pockets and remove watch.
11:35-11:40 Officer Doherty questions Lizzie who tells him she heard a “scraping” noise.
11:35-11:40 am Doherty views Abby’s body with Dr. Bowen pulls bed out to view her better.
11:35-11:45 am Morse arrives at Borden house, first going to back yard.
11:37 am Officer Mullaly arrives.
11:39-11:40 am Officer Medley arrives at 92 Second Street.
11:44 am Doherty runs to  Gorman’s shop around corner and phones Marshal Hilliard.
11:45 Dr. Bowen shows Doherty Andrew, then Abby.  Pulls bed out 3 feet.
11:45 am Doherty returns; Officers Mullaly. Allen, Denny, and Medley arrive.
11:45 am Dr. Dolan arrives, sees bodies.
11:45 am Morse talks to Sawyer at side door, later testifies he heard of murders from Bridget.
11:45-11:50 am Morse sees Andrew’s body, then goes upstairs and sees Abby’s body.
11:50 am Morse speaks to Lizzie as she lays on lounge in dining room.
11:50 am-Noon Asst. Marshal Fleet arrives; sees bodies; talks to Lizzie in her room w/Rev. Buck, says “…she’s not my mother, she’s my  stepmother”
11:50 am Morse goes out to back yard and stays outside most of the afternoon.
11:50 am –Noon Deputy Sheriff Wixon climbs back fence and talks to workmen sawing wood in Chagnon yard.
11:50-Noon Doherty, Fleet and Medley accompany Bridget to cellar where she shows them hatchet in box on shelf.
12:15-12:20 am Officer Harrington arrives at the Borden house.
12:25 am Officer Harrington interviews Lizzie in her bedroom (she wears pink wrapper).
12:45 am Marshal Hillliard & Officers Doherty & Connors drive carriage to Andrew’s upper farm in Swansea.
2:00 pm Dr. Dedrick arrives at Borden house.
3:00-4:00 pm Crime scene photographs are taken of Andrew & Abby.
3:40 pm Emma leaves on New Bedford train for Weir Junction to return to Fall River.
4:30 pm Stomachs of Andrew and Abby removed and sealed.
5:00 pm Emma arrives in Fall River.
5:00-5:30 pm State Detective George F. Seaver arrives from Taunton.
5:30 pm Dr. Dolan “delivers” bodies of Andrew and Abby to Undertaker James Winward.
5:35 pm Winward & assistant remove sofa from house and store it in a room at his building.
6:00 pm Alice leaves 92 Second St. to return home for supper.
8:30 pm Mrs. Charles Holmes leaves the Borden girls and returns to her home.
8:45 pm Officer Joseph Hyde, observing from a northwest outside window, sees Lizzie & Alice go down cellar.