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Lizzie Borden and the Month of June

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

Partial extracts from my historic timeline for the month of June follows.    It helps one gain a perspective on what influenced Lizzie Borden and the world she lived in.   Well, sort of.  One can also watch old films like Pollyanna to get a peek into the mores, customs, societal hierachy of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Speaking of Pollyanna, I watched it the other day and was particularly struck by its accurate depiction of the power the founding families had within their communities, including the Church.  Just as Polly Harrington (Jane Wyman)  dictated what her church minister (Karl Malden) would trumpet from the pulpit, made me wonder if the Bordens and Durfees influenced what their ministers would speak on for the Sunday sermons at the Central Congregational Church.

June 20, 1635 John Borden, wife, and two children set sail for America.
June 9, 1772 First naval battle of the Revolutionary…

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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Inside the “Maplecroft” Restorations

Inside the “Maplecroft” Restorations

FRHN My friend Kristee Bates tells readers what she’s been doing lately restoring Maplecroft.  She shares some of her discoveries and plans.  I’ve persuaded her to do short videos of each renovation project in each area of the house to document its progress.  She’s been sending these to me to string together for a DVD.  I felt it was important to have a video record of what was being done.  And so much more is being discovered and worked on than what is conveyed in the article.

The bottom half of the page above, i.e., “Borden expert not a fan of series spin”  is my interview with the same reporter on Episode 6 of The Lizzie Borden Chronicles.  (I thought it was kinda cool our interviews appeared the same day on the same page.)

With regards to “Maplecroft” becoming a B&B, it’s important to keep in mind the primary differences from 92 Second Street with regards to the “Lizzie Borden” connection.  The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum was built in 1845 in the Greek Revival architectural design.  Lizzie moved in when she was 12 years old and lived there until she was 33. She had only lived in 3 houses in her entire lifetime:  1) The Ferry Street “homestead” where she was born, where her sister was born and where her father was born; 2) 92 Second Street; and 3) 306 French Street.

The house on French Street she subsequently named “Maplecroft”, was built in 1891-92 and Lizzie moved in when she was 33 and lived there for 33 years – the entire second half of her life.  While 92 Second Street is notorious for the events of August 4, 1892 – a singular date in time – the French Street home is only notorious because Lizzie lived and died there.

When the Second Street house was being renovated  to operate as a B&B, Martha McGinn and Ron Evans took great pains to be as precise as possible in restoring furniture and fixtures to be as accurate to that “date in history” as possible.  Kristee Bates has no such restrictions other than keeping “Maplecroft’s” interior true to the Victorian and Edwardian age.   She has the freedom to mix periods as she wishes.

The photographs below are most all that are known taken of the interior of Maplecroft to date.  They include photos recently appearing in the Fall River Herald News, photos taken by me on separate occasions inside the home, and photos taken by Shelley Dziedzik on separate occasions while inside the home.  Robert Dube’, former owner of more than 30 years, rarely allowed photos to be taken inside even when he operated it as a B&B for a short period. I know Kristee has allowed several neighbors into the home since she began her restorative labor of love, but has restricted the taking of photos..

sitting room-parlor   SR-pic                                                      Sitting Room/Parlor

SR-SDparlour-nov-2000                                    1999 – Sitting Room – before piano was moved.

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parlorFB-SD

Most famous mantelpiece -SD

My Home FP-SD

Front fhall FP mantel-SD  FP Manel other view-SD View to ahall frm DR-SDFrom Dining Rm looking thru hallway to front door.  Note original chandelier and wall    scounces. aa                                                         Original wallpaper

DRfp                                                                           Dining room fireplace.

entrytodining1999 deDR Triple Windows-SD                                   Triple windows in curved wall Dining Room. Dining Room-SD                                                         Triple windows in dining room. BigFoyer                                Front foyer looking towards dining room. Newell post Maple leave inlay stairsw-SD                                                              Mapleleaf cluster on stairway posts. Stairway-SD                                              Stairway from 1st floor.

foyer1999                                         Front entry inside enclosed porch.

2ndbedroom                                 Lizzie’s bedroom on 2nd floor with Bay window.

F DR floor inlay          maplestairs-20002000

stairway                                                                                   2015

Bathroom tub-SD                                           2nd Floor Bathroom but not “her” tub.

orig tile bathroom                                        Tile detail – upstairs front bathroom.

Back stairs for servants. Carpet has been removed.

Servantw back stairs                                                     Carpet has been removed.

Kitchen sink-SD                                                     Kitchen is now completely gutted.

The stained glass features of the house are lovely.

stain glass-SD  Stain glass window-SD      

     

more stainglass-SD

StainedGlass staircawse-SD

OSstain2 Above/Below:  Video of the stained glass on front of house inside enclosed porch.

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NOTE:  If you’re on Facebook, check out my Lizzie Andrew Borden Chat Page.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Maplecroft Neighbors: Lizzie on French Street

(Recycled post – originally published in July, 2008) 

Here’s a question I’ve pondered from time to time: Of those French Street and nearby neighbors, who might have visited Lizzie Borden that last year of her life? Weak and not recovered from her gall bladder operation, who went a-calling? No mystery in finding out who lived nearby; more difficult is assessing which neighbors would have visited her. One can only speculate. Here’s a scan from my 1926 and 1927 Fall River City Directories. Let’s take a peek at a sampling of those neighbors

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Directly across the street from Lizzie at 309 French was Mrs. Emma Lake. Her son, Arthur Lake praised Lizzie in Joyce Williams’ Casebook, but there had been a property dispute between Lizzie and Mrs. Lake after Lizzie acquired half a lot adjacent and wanting it for an open park. It would seem Lizzie and Mrs. Lake ended their friendship on ugly terms. Perhaps Arthur was never made aware of that dispute.

Lizzie’s nearest neighbor to the east would be at 328 French Street, shown above. The 1926 Directory shows this house as apartments with Edwin Belcher a tenant and school teacher Harriet E. Henry (listed in the Directory as “Hervey”). By the time of printing of the 1927 Directory, Edwin Belcher is no longer a tenant. This property was purchased in 1925 by Harriet and then sold to Charles C. Cook, Lizzie’s business manager, in trust for Lizzie about 7 months before Lizzie’s death. That particular transaction would end up being reviewed by the State Supreme Court, but we’ll skip the details for now. This property is alternately referred to as the Henry House or the Davenport House (a previous owner and relation to Harriet). Note: The rod iron spiked fencing separating the properties was installed by Lizzie.

Lizzie’s nearest neighbor to the west, 324 French, would be John T. Swift. Swift was the lawyer Alice Russell, her conscious weighing heavily, first told of the dress burning incident. Had Swift not advised Alice to tell it to District Attorney Hosea Knowlton, we would not even know who Lizzie Borden was 115 years later. Shown here left to right is the Swift house, Maplecroft, and the Henry/Davenport house. Photo taken in 1998.

The next house east is 344 French where the widow Mrs. Isabella Hooper lived. Perhaps she and Lizzie visited? Exterior re-hab has been going on for years with this house and it looks much better in 2007. This photo was taken in 2005. Across the street and slightly east from Maplecroft, this structure existed in 1926 but I’m unable to locate the number from the 1926 or 1927 Directory. It is now a commercial property and often referred to as the “Baker” lot. Lizzie bequeathed to Charles Cook “my so-called Baker lot on French Street across from where I live.” I took this photo in 1999.

At the southeast corner of French and Belmont was John Summerfield Brayton, Jr., a BC&C (Big Cheese & Connected) whose crowing bird annoyed Lizzie and made her nervous over a quarter century before she died. Did John and Mary Brayton visit Lizzie? I don’t think so.

At 257 French was Everett M. Cook, Vice President of BMC Durfee Trust Company. Another BC&C, like so many on French Street. At 243 French was Elizabeth J. McWhirr, widow of Robert A. McWhirr, who may have been related to the great McWhirr department store. Did she go a-calling on Lizzie? I don’t think so.

At the southeast corner of French & June at 421 June was Marion Jennings – the daughter of attorney Andrew Jennings. It’s safe to say she did not call upon Lizzie. It’s further safe to say Marion had no knowledge of what lay inside an old hip bath covered with a tarp up in the attic of this house. Most likely, neither did Lizzie.

ON ROCK STREET:

Carrie L. Borden is listed in 1926 at 492 Rock Street, but in 1927, only her sister Anna H. Borden. These ladies went on the Grand Tour with Lizzie in 1890. It is my educated guess that they were the two sisters that spoke in confidence to author Edmund Pearson when he was writing his long, first essay on the Borden case in Studies in Murder. It’s highly doubtful these ladies went a-calling to Miss Lizbeth of Maplecroft.

At 618 Rock was Jerome C. Borden, son of Cook Borden and Grace Hartley Howe’s uncle, and strong supporter of Lizzie in 1892-93. Jerome succeeded Andrew as President of Union Bank, but it’s doubtful Jerome ever presented his calling card at Maplecroft during Lizzie’s last year. While most genetic threads were woven tightly, some weaves became irreparably tattered.

At 451 Rock Street was the formidable Elizabeth Hitchcock Brayton, whose nephew, having inherited this stately granite beauty, donated it to the Fall River Historical Society in 1935.

Actually, the 400 thru 700 blocks of Rock Street in 1927 reads like a Who’s Who of Fall River. However, after Lizzie died, Fall River had about one good year remaining before its economy and stratified society would fade and dissolve like so much smoke drift from the iconic mill chimineys that marked its once great prominence and vitality.

BACK TO FRENCH STREET

The interesting thing about French Street is that at #96 French Street, just west of Rock Street, we find Gertrude M. Baker, long time English teacher at BMC Durfee High School. ( The 1927 Fall River High School Yearbook, “The Durfee Record”, is dedicated to Gertrude Baker). Gertrude owned a summer house on the beach in Linekin, East Boothbay, Maine. She was a friend of a later friend of Lizzie’s, Miss Helen Leighton (we’ll get to her in a moment) but the important thing is through this thread that bound, Miss Baker was a founder and Treasurer of the Fall River Animal Rescue League from 1914-1930. It seems more a gratuitous gesture for service rendered than one steeped in a personal friendship that Lizzie left Gertrude $1,000 in her Will. Miss Baker never married and when she died she left her money to her close friend, Helen Leighton, along with her beach house in Linekin. Lucky Helen.

Helen Leighton struck half of the mother lode upon Lizzie’s death being one of two primary legatees. Seven years younger than Lizzie, Miss Leighton graduated from nursing school in Fall River a month before Lizzie went to Trial for the double hatchet homicide. Helen had been nurse and companion to Eudora Borden Dean, daughter of that very wealthy Captain of Fall River Industry, Jefferson Borden. Smart Helen. In 1913, she had successfully solicited money from Lizzie to start the Fall River Animal Rescue League of which she became its President. Clever Helen. She moved to Boston in 1919 and Lizzie visited her there, taking in galleries and the theatre. She moved to Brookline, MA. in 1924, and when she died in 1947, newspapers reporting on the Borden case were found stuffed inside the walls of the Linekin beach house.

So there they are: Gertrude, Helen, and Lizzie – they could have all three been sisters judging by how they looked in these photographs. It’s anyone’s guess as to who introduced who to whom in this three-some, a constellation in orbit around Lizzie’s moon. These dames were really out of the same mold. Same hair styles, same glasses, same kind of dresses. I can almost visualize them at the Animal Rescue League Board of Directors meeting or even taking their time walking through some museum in Boston or New York. Not exactly your party-hardy type broads. Uh uh. But oh so very proper, yes indeed. Decorum, decorum, decorum. All were proper spinsters who loved animals. None ever married or had children of their own to enrich their lives, to nurture, to enjoy, to love, and who would return that love.

Grace Hartley Howe hit the other half of the mother lode, inheriting half of Lizzie’s half of Maplecroft, furniture, jewelry, books, carpets, personal effects, etc. Grace’s grandfather was Cook Borden, a brother of Abraham, Andrew’s father. In 1926, Grace and her husband Louis are in the 1926 Directory as having a residence at 636 Rock Street, but in 1927 Grace is living at 464 Locust. Louis McHenry Howe was chief advisor and political strategist to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt but lived in the White House, visiting his family at their Westport residence in Horseneck Beach. (Louis would die in 10 years and be buried at Oak Grove with FDR attending his funeral.) But here we see Grace was literally in walking distance to Lizzie in 1926 and 1927, and surely she must have visited her. I have long believed Grace was called by the Reverend Cleveland of the Church of Ascension and was at Maplecroft when Lizzie died. She would have been, after Emma, the next and, literally, nearest of kin. Ten years after Lizzie’s death, two years after the final probate of Lizzie’s Will, and one year after her husband died, Grace was appointed Postmistress of Fall River by President Roosevelt.

Of these three women, Gertrude, Helen and Grace, two (Helen and Grace) gave newspaper interviews in the week after Lizzie died. One other woman, definitely not neighbor nor friend of Lizzie’s when she died, also gave an interview – Nance O’Neil. Nance met Lizzie in 1904. By 1927, Nance had successfully transitioned from the stage to motion pictures. In the newspaper interview she remarked on Lizzie’s kindness, refinement, and intelligence, downplaying their relationship and characterizing it as “ships passing in the night.” She was not named in Lizzie’s Will. Nance lived long enough to have read several books on Lizzie published prior to 1965. Her ashes are entombed with her husband, Alfred Hickman at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California.

I think Lizzie was probably always ladylike and refined and masked her inner angst and depression when in public. We know she let that mask down with Miss Leighton, who, after Lizzie’s death, commented so definitively on Lizzie’s loneliness and depression in her later years. The Roaring Twenties, shorter skirts, bobbed hair, Lindberg racing across the Atlantic through the skies while she, Lizzie never did anything in a hurry. The “Flapper Age” must have come on like gangbusters and not suited her at all, much like the sexual liberation of the 1970’s to the Born Again Christians. No, I don’t think Lizzie liked the changing times. She was nervous and depressed enough and now all this fast living. (Mammy to Scarlett: “It ain’t fittin’, it just ain’t fittin’).

I can envision her, in her last year of life, sitting on her window box seat in her summer bedroom in Maplecroft. More alone and isolated than ever with only a tiny few who ever came a-calling. Dressed in a stylish lounging gown, too weak to go up and down the stairs every day, she would have spent much time wistfully looking at the houses below and at the young people coming and going. Perhaps a young man honking the horn of his tricked out Model T Ford for his girlfriend to come out. Twenty Three Skid-doo. I envision one of Lizzie’s dogs in her lap feeling the gentle strokes of her hand as she remembers a quieter time of proper deportment. The era of when ladies were ladies and conducted themselves accordingly was gone forever. Stroke…….Sigh……Stroke.

No wonder our “Lizbeth of Maplecroft” preferred Dickens and Trollup over F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Sources:

1926 & 1927 Fall River City Directory

Unveiled: Miss Helen Leighton by Leonard Rebello, Lizzie Borden Quarterly, October 2000, Vol VII, #4.

1927 BMC Durfee H.S. Yearbook.

Last Will and Testament of Lizzie Andrew Borden.

Knowlton-Pearson Correspondence, Fall River Historical Society.

Famous Actors and Actresses on the American Stage, vol. 2, by William C. Young, 1975.

Lizzie Borden- Past and Present, Leonard Rebello, Alzack Press, 1999.

Conversations with Robert Dube, owner, at 306 French Street, August 3 & 5, 2007.

 

Newspaper Reports When Lizzie and Emma Purchased “Maplecroft”

maplecroftpenink1“Maplecroft” as it looked when Lizzie purchased it – showing shutters

Lizzie Borden was pronounced “Not Guilty” on June 20, 1893.  In less than two weeks, she and Emma were looking for a home “on the Hill” to purchase.  Within 3 weeks they had bought one, and less than a month later, they took possession.

The French Street home was not the first they considered, and when they did purchase #7 French Street, on August 10, 1893, they became the 3rd owner of the property.

July 1st  – less than 2 weeks after her acquittal this report on the Alfred Butterworth estate – neighbors weren’t happy with the prospect.  (Click on images for larger view and use “magnifying glass” feature).

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On July 6th came this report:

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Five days later – July 11th, the first report of the sale

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The next day – this report – The property sold for close to $13,000.

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August 10, 1893 – Final transaction – transfer of property from Charles W. and Alto Allen to Lizzie and Emma.

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There’s only been 7 or 8 owners of the property in 123 years.  I think that rather remarkable.   Another remarkable thing – the original shutters are being restored and will be put back on, according to my friend, Kristee Bates, the current owner.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in lizzie borden, Maplecroft

 

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The Lizzie Borden Chronicles Drops Again in Ratings

lizzie_borden_chronicles

UPDATE:  Meant to include this notice of the 3rd consecutive drop in ratings after the 3rd Episode.   Wanna bet the Series ends up 0 for 8?

As predicted. Ratings drop is deeper than I expected. Maybe I won’t have to do a Go Fund Me campaign after all. I am/was thinking of raising money for ads in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter beseeching Lifetime Movie Channel execs not to pick up a second season.

After the 3rd Episode, there’s THIS  I predict Sunday night (April 26, 2015) will be another drop.

I wonder how Christina Ricci is feeling about it now?   Maybe like this:

aa“I’m so tired of dragging this phuckin’ thing around.”

(Chrstina Ricci after Take 22)

Let’s hope for a continued downward spiral.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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REVIEW – CHRISTINA RICCI AND THE LIZZIE BORDEN CHRONICLES

LBC

On April 2, three days before the Lizzie Borden Chronicles aired, I posted this on my Facebook “Lizzie Borden Chat Page”:

“The Lizzie Borden Chronicles is the new Sharknado. It will have as much to do with the post Trial life of Lizzie Borden as Sharknado has to do with marine biology. Yet their common denominator is ratings. And high ratings create sequels. They are both comedic, tongue in cheek, fraught with blood and guts and appeal to those that favor this genre.

shark

“I concede the Chronicles may have a little entertainment edge because of its campy soundtrack and the sexual component of Christina Ricci’s portrayal of the much maligned Lizzie Borden. I plan to watch it, not only to credibly critique afterwards but hope to see Ricci fly through the air above Fall River, chain saw in hand, slicing off the bell towers of all those long abandoned mills– with Nine Inch Nails playing in the background of course. It could happen.”

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I didn’t get around to watching it until late Monday afternoon, and posting a Review has not been a priority in my life.  Even when Deborah Allard-Dion, resident writer of all things Lizzie for the Fall River Herald, contacted me for what I thought I could not bring myself to respond right away.  However, I now post my impressions.

Nielson ratings showed it to garner only 1.1 million viewers – pretty much at the bottom of the heep for the week’s ratings of shows ending on that Sunday night.

The first two episodes were sent out to TV critics to review and after last Sunday’s (April 5, 2015) airing of the first episode, the general consensus is that it should get the axe.  The Hollywood Reporter calls it “unexceptional trash”.

Introducing real name characters who died prior to the 1892 murders (William Almy) and yet are resurrected as some avaristic business partner who “wants it all”.  So far fetched I moaned out loud “Kill me quick, Bill.”

I didn’t expect Christina to play the role of Lizzie Borden with the nuances of a Meryl Streep but I also did not expect her to go so far off the rails.  It was like Anna Nichol Smith’s stupor meets Baby Jane Hudson’s vengeance. Her portrayal reminded of Dorothy Parker’s famous one-liner review of Tallulah Bankhead, “Her acting ran the gamut of A to B.” 

We can at least feel sorry for the real life Anna Nichol Smith and the fictional Baby Jane.  We can even find a way to rationalize T.V. “Dexter’s” acts has having some social redemption.  But with Ricci’s Lizzie?  Not so much.  She plays her as  totally self-serving for the sake of self preservation.  Not an attractive quality we  want to see in our Villains.

And the music?   More appropriate would have been Miley Cyrus’ “I came in like a Wrecking Ball”.   What?  No money budgeted for Billboard Top 100 royalties? Seems the budget was blown on costumes, that big orange house (supposedly “Mapelcroft”) and all the TV promos to generate excitement for the first episode.

Casting name/face actors, i.e., Jonathan Banks fresh off Breaking Bad and appearing regularly on Better Call Saul, is just a ploy to get people to watch.  He’s probably gonna be killed before Episode 3.

There was no rhythm or pace to sustain any suspense or intrigue – more like Scattershot and Soundblaster, symbolically making our eyes and ears bleed.

I doubt it will make much of an impact on driving tourism to Fall River or the B&B certainly not like the notoriety of ghost-hunting and paranormal investigations shows have done in the past. Had they used Fall River backgrounds/locations or even 92 Second Street exteriors as POV’s it would have enticed viewers and resonated because it would be showing the actual location. People like to visit places, occupy the same space in a different time, where actual history or something infamous took place.  They like to ooooh and awww and be simultaneously thrilled and reflective about being there.  But I imagine there may be people going up and down Second Street in Fall River looking for a blue and white house. or driving up and down French Street looking for an orange mansion.

Richard Behrens, author of the smartly written series Lizzie Borden Girl Detective, commented about thegIRL dETECTIVE program with this added post script:  “P.S. You are trying to tell me that the police searched the Borden house and didn’t find the dead baby in the basement? And when they searched the barn looking for Billy Borden, they didn’t climb up the ladder to the second floor? There were gaps in the plot logic you could park your car in.”

The Serious Issue of Why I’m So Against This Series

The primary reason I dislike this series is not so much for its lack or even a feeble attempt at any historical accuracy whatsoever, but the irreputable harm the Lifetime Channel has already done to the factual Lizzie Borden.  Now another new generation who Tweet more than they read believe the characterization of Lizzie Borden – to a considerable extent anyway – as is portrayed.

All those goofy legends and misinformation have been further imbedded in the uneducated viewing public’s mind. As Michael Martins said, the FRHS will be further challenged in correcting the misconceptions and false perceptions of the case – as will the staff at the B&B. As to the LB Chronicles as entertainment value – I enjoyed Sharknado more. As to any artistic quality of the series, I think American Horror Story and Bates Motel do a better job.

Lizzie has long been portrayed as a one dimensional psycho sociopath wielding a bloody axe.  She has been cemented in the minds of the general public via that inaccurate quatrain; she has been depicted in hundreds of online images so far removed from the actual Lizzie when there is an abundance of easily accessible sources from which to learn the truth about this woman.  Lifetime Movie Channel and the Lizzie Borden Chronicles can only add fodder to further regurgitations of gross misiniformation.

I want people to know the real Lizzie Borden and the best book on that subject is the Fall River Historical Society’s Parallel Lives – A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River.

I want the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum to stay in business, not just because its the best bang for the buck of any B&B, but because people can occupy the same space where Lizzie lived and reflect upon how her life at the time she lived there.  The furniture and fixtures are immaculately maintained and so closely resemble how the rooms were in Lizzie’s time that it invites your imagination to transport yourself to that era.

I would love for people to explore the Fall River Historical Society about the world Lizzie lived in and her town’s history.  They have the world’s largest collection of Lizzie Borden related material, including objects of evidence presented at her Trial. The  staff will now have to exert an even greater effort in correcting all the “wrongs” shown in the Lizzie Borden Chronicles to all those that call and visit with their questions based on what they’ve seen in the series.

On Sunday evening last, same day the Chronicles aired, person(s) unknown defaced the Andrew J. Borden monument.  While understandable outrage has been expressed, no one has remarked on the subliminal symmetry represented here.  By that I mean here you have a grotesque “artistic” expression plastered over the “Borden family”.  The same could be said for the series, in my opinion.

graffiti

Below is the monument a few days after the story broke in the Fall River Herald News. ” Blast Off Surface Restoration, a Fall River company that specializes in coating removal, including headstone cleaning.  Company owner Jeremy Larkin cleaned up the Borden monument at no cost to Oak Grove Cemetery” reported Deborah Allard Dion..

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If this were a forgiving review I would like to think of the cleaning of the monument as further symbolism — sort of  like wiping the slate clean of a dismal Episode 1, giving us hope for Episode 2..    Not likely.  Not very likely at all.


 

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Much Out of Whack With The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

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Get a jar and label it “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles – Things That Could Not Have POSSIBLY Happened After Her Trial.” The first nugget to put in that jar is illustrated above from my Historic Timeline book.  The fact William Almy portrayed by John Heard in tonight’s airing of The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (I live on the Pacific Coast so it hasn’t been broadcast yet) died in 1885, Lizzie could NOT HAVE POSSIBLY had any relations, business or otherwise, with him in her post-Trial life.  That’s just for starters.  When historical fiction touted as “what could have happened” transcends all possibilities of actually happening it not only trips the light fantastic it fantastically falls on its face.

I expect this series to be campy, cheesy, titillating, musically creative, fraught with gross misinformation, and absolutely nothing to do with Lizzie Borden at ANY point of her life.

It’s traditional for production companies and networks to give out copies of early episodes to TV critics so they can get a jump on writing their reviews.  This has been done in the case of the LBC and critics are repeatedly using phrases such as “female serial killer”, “crazed murderess”, “axe murderess” and the like.  The common thread of many of the reviews is the transparency that the writers themselves know very little of the case.  Worse yet, they write with a false knowledge of previous misinformation that they regurgitate as fact.  I have found only one review with any merit and that is Caitlin Gallager’s piece posted today.  It SHOULD BE READ and can be read HERE.

For those viewers who have Googled Lizzie Borden or The Lizzie Borden Chronicles and landed on this blog, I’m going to post excerpts from my Timeline blog book to help put things in focus.   It was created to provide significant events in Lizzie’s life, but also the history of Fall River and significant events regionally, nationally and world wide.  It is within this focus we get a good view of what was happening in the town and in the world in which she lived. As you watch The Sharknado Chronicles, excuse me – the Lizzie Borden Chronicles – keep in mind what could NOT possibly have happened.

I still maintain the series should have been called The Lizzie Schwartz Chronicles, but who ever heard that inaccurate quatrain “Lizzie Scwartz took an axe….”  Hence, Lifetime’s pimping out of Lizzie Borden. DSCN4561DSCN4546 DSCN4551 DSCN4553DSCN4554 DSCN4559

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The above is nearly 200 pages and loaded with essays and blog posts mostly based on historical fact and a generous serving of my special brand of humor.  Available at the Fall River Historical Society Gift Shop. I’ll have more nuggets after I have a chance to view the first episode myself – but after Mad Men.   But hey, I’m confident you’re gonna need a bigger jar.  ;)

 

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