Andrew Jackson Borden as a Young Man

12 Nov


Well, Shelley Dziedzic has a burr up her butt about me again, so I think a little explanation directed to all the forum members who visit my blog is in order:

First of all, Stef’s find of this AJB portrait is quite remarkable and I would not have known about it had it not been for her own posting of this discovery – the timing of which coincided with my pre-planned visit to Fall River.

Any researcher or Borden enthusiast such as myself would naturally want to actually SEE this portrait, so of course I planned to see it. I took with me Bob Dube, owner of Maplecroft and Ken Champlin. And of course we had pictures taken of ourselves with the portrait as I think, again, any Borden researcher or enthusiast would do his or herself given that the Swansea Historical Society President and Treasurer are allowing photos to be taken of and with the portrait. Lord knows how long they may have possession of the portrait while it CAN be photographed. I’m hopeful their Board will vote to keep it with the Swansea (and not the Fall River) Historical Society. So the window of opportunity of seeing this portrait up close and personal – not to mention FREE – may be very short.

What amazed me was that Shelley did not include a visit to Luther’s Museum with the MuttonEaters group who gathered in Fall River on November 9th – same weekend I was there. Such an arrangement to tour Luther’s could have been made by a simple phone call to Carl Becker. And my guess is that each and every one of those who would have gone would have had their picture taken with the portrait. A nice momento of their trip. So – to use Shelley’s words that I “beat feet” to Luther’s to see this portrait – you bet I did.

I certainly would have included them for a tour of Maplecroft, with Mr. Dube’s approval.

Bob Shaw, me, Don Sykes and Kenneth Champlin

I also heard all about the gathering from Don Sykes who invited me to dinner at Magoni’s Saturday night, as well as others who are mutual acquaintances. I have NOT nor had any need to email any forum members asking about it as Shelley posted. That’s just not true. Don’t need to. But I DID email a forum member whom I met Thursday night at the B&B explaining I couldn’t see his images and could he email them to me. Shelley jumped to conclusions about my intent. I only wanted to see them. Just get the facts straight when you post. It’s what Sherlock or any good sleuth would do. 🙂

So once again, for those who do not subscribe to The Hatchet (as I do not) and have no knowledge of any other images or poses in it and have only seen one image of the portrait – here’s more:

After a very late, late arrival back in Payson, I realized I had to be at the Women’s Shelter in the area early this morning where I do volunteer work, so I’m still running on a minimum of sleep. But I wanted to get some pictures up before I hit the bed with a good book.

Thanks to Stef Koorey’s eagle eye in spotting a “bigger than a bread box” ornate framed portrait of Lizzie Borden’s father, we now have it on record – even if it hasn’t been validated, i.e., no documentation. But given all the givens, one can deduce, Sherlock, that it is young Andrew. The Sunday Fall River Herald News article was pushed to this date and partially appears here.

That’s Carl Becker holding the portrait outside Luther’s Museum in the bright sun on a chilly but clear day being photographed – as was happening just as we arrived. (The shrieking sound you hear is from two curators across the bay).

Since very few of the people who read my blog subscribe to the FRHN or The Hatchet, or even go to other blogs, I’m posting more pics here. I know this to be a fact because I get referrals from all over the world and the country and from emails I’m getting these people have only seen the one image posted on the internet so far.

This dual image shows the backside of the frame. Both Carl Becker, Swansea Historical Society President, and Paul Summers, Treasurer have carefully checked and there is no writing or note card or any sort of documentation that would identify the portrait or where it came from.

Below is author and local historian Ken Champlin holding the portrait upright.

So at issue is just where this portrait of a “young Andrew” should reside. The Fall River Historical Society would LOVE to have it adorn the interior walls of their structure. I would imagine the public would see it – at a price – after the tour (when tours are happening) and at the tail end of the tour when they expose visitors, salivating and enduring the waiting for the “main show”, i.e., the Lizzie Borden display. (Michael Martins, Curator, informed Carl Becker he knew just where they would put it. Hopefully, not out of sight – for protective purposes against the light, of course.)

Residing up on The Hill, is one of the last places old Andrew would ever want to spend his days – dead or alive. Yep, Andrew would be happy as a clam if he were “hanging out” at 92 Second Street. The old bird never wanted to leave that place, anyhow. And some think he’s still there.

If it was Henry Gardner (out of Orrin Gardner), who delivered all the Gardner property, he meant for it to remain in Swansea. Perhaps the portrait hung at the Gardner’s Neck Road farmhouse – or perhaps Emma had it in her possession (taking it with her when she left Maplecroft, perhaps?) till the day she died. Whatever the outcome, it is an intriquing portrait. I do think Andrew was younger than 35 in the portrait, however.

Recently placed inside the bookcase on the second floor of the Swansea Historical Society (Luther’s Store & Museum) you see here on the top of the dual image is Orrin Gardner’s autograph book with writings dating as early as 1850. A particularly interesting entry is Emma Borden’s 1881 entry, written when she was 31 years old in flawless penmanship and signed “Emma L. Borden 1881”. It was Ken who pointed out to me: “That’s on the dedication page of my booklet on the history of the Fall River Y.M.C.A.” And indeed it is:

What Emma wrote was verbatim to the above, taken from Hamlet, Act I, Scene III:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

So there it was written by Emma in 1881 and the exact same quote used in 1988, in A Periodical History of The Fall River Y.M.C.A. (1857-1917) by Kenneth Champlin. I know, I know, Shakespeare is quoted a zillion times. But pause to think of it as yet just another tiny thread that further weaves into this wonderfully rich fabric.

Meanwhile, back in the basement of 92 Second Street, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast:

Ken and myself blocking out the irrelevant wording.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: