If I had a “BFD” category on Lizzie Borden, this post would go in it. From the administrator of the Lizzie Borden Forum comes this statement:
“The Fall River Historical Society has once again allowed us a small glimpse into the world of Lizzie Borden from their soon-to-be-published Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River.
This one is a doozie! Not only do we see Miss Borden in all her jocularity, but we are given in insight that shatters some entrenched myths about this most enigmatic woman.
Lizzie had a soft side.”
Here’s the card.
Well, of course she did. It was a proper thing to do, and Lizzie was all about being proper with regards to the social customs of the times. Sending greeting cards was a common practice in Victorian times and it’s no revelation that Lizzie Borden, always adhering to proper deportment (well, almost always) would send out such cards. The reveal of such a card signed in Lizzie’s hand is hardly a “doozie”, hardly shows us her “jocularity”, and it hardly “shatters entrenched myths” about her. Such claims are gross exaggerations, but I consider the source.
Lizzie Letters that have been published for years in various books already tell us much about her: She was thoughtful, kind, valued the loyalty of her friends, was meloncholy at times, and fully understood what being a Borden meant in Fall River.
David Rehak’s book, Did Lizzie Borden Axe for It? was the first to print the newest found letter in Lizzie’s hand and I think we can make a pretty fair interpretation from it that Lizzie was somewhat vane, and loved the finer things in life. We already know her home was tastefully furnished with expensive furniture, fixtures, wallpaper, drapes, and nick nacks. Her pride (and understanding) of being a Borden was something she did not wish to diminish or change. While she may have altered her first name from Lizzie to “Lisbeth”, she kept her Borden name and stamped its first letter on some of her possessions and even etched it in glass on one of the doors in Maplecroft. “B” for Borden. Yep, Lizzie understood the respect, social cache, entitlement, and expected deportment which came with the name “Borden”.
What will be interesting from the collection of letters, cards, journals related to Lizzie in Parallel Lives will be just when and to whom she wrote them and/or just when and from whom they were written to her. This will serve to indicate who her little circle of friends and acquaintances were. I’m especially interested in who they were in her later years as I wrote about HERE when detailing her neighbors and speculating on whom might have visited Lizzie at Maplecroft during her last years
I suppose we will continue to get these little “peek-a-boos” from the FRHS to spike interest in purchasing their new book, an unnecessary endeavor for Lizzie fans, Fall River history buffs, and Borden case enthusiasts. It’s like a little game of lifting that Victorian skirt an inch at a time – beyond the tights and petticoats, as the skirt is lifted higher and higher, we await a profound discovery – but, alas, there will be none.
The book will deal primarily with the times in which Lizzie lived, i.e., the environment, customs, mores, day to day life in Fall River’s stratified society and the elite who ran it.