Lizzie Letters

06 May

(Recycled from June 17, 2009)

Added Note:  Lizzie Borden always conducted herself in public with the proper deportment required of that society.  Particularly post-Trial she is consistently described as “refined”, “well read”, “a good conversationalist”,  and other such characterizations.  This is often reflected in her notes and letters that have surfaced so far.  I expect we’ll find more examples in the Fall River Historical Society’s Parallel Lives, whenever it is finally completed.   Lizzie had a keen awareness of  what a Fall River Borden with her lineage meant in terms of social cache and influence and conducted herself accordingly.

Reading letters written in Lizzie Borden’s own hand is always a fun and interesting exercise.   We’ve found them in books, newspapers, estates, libraries, and private collections.  They keep popping up.  There are plenty more out there.   Lizzie was consistent in doing what was proper to the customs and practices of the time, and this included her letter writing.   Here is a sampling of some of the letters we know of which give us a glimpse into this woman who continues to fascinate.  Just click on each image for a larger, clearer view.






The noisy bird letter:

Funeral Instructions2Brayton’s son discovered the letter in an old desk and subsequently gave it to the 1st Congregational Church who had it mounted and displayed in the Church office as you see above.


The Fall River Historical Society promises (again) to have the new book Parallel Lives out by the end of the year.  Part of the promotion are little ticklers like this intentionally cryptic letter written by Lizzie.  If each character (which disguises the true word) represents the actual number of characters in the word, translating becomes a little more easier.


Lizzie’s vanity case

A fairly new letter discovery was published in David Rehak’s book, Did Lizzie Borden Axe For It? (3rd edition, 2007, page 197).

She wrote this note just ten days after turning 52, and 20 twenty years after the murders. Also, this was written just 3-1/2 months after the sinking of the Titanic. The interesting provenance of this note can be found in Rehak’s book, which is a very entertaining read and reviewed HERE.




“C/O A. Stomell & Co. The toilet case came to me safely
and is very satisfactory. I have a fitted suitcase with toilet articles in white, can you put a blue (bluish?) B. on each piece if they were sent? Very Truly Yours, Miss L. A. Borden, July 29, 1912″

Funeral Instructions

Funeral InstructionsTranslation:

My funeral to be strictly pri-
vate with a short prayer at
the grave.

At the house I wish read
“The Crossing of the Bar”
Also the 14th chapter of St. John
and the 23rd Psalm.
Also sung the first and fourth
verses of “My Ain Countrie”
& wish to be laid at my
fathers feet.

A small headstone to match
the others of my family
Lizbeth to be cut on the stone

Lizbeth Andrews (?)
with the date July 1861 (?)

The minister of the Church
the Ascension is to conduct (?)
the services.

Grave to be bricked.

Lizbeth A. Borden
March 31 – 1919
Fall River


3 responses to “Lizzie Letters

  1. She was Innocent!!!!!

    June 19, 2009 at 8:53 AM


    Thank you for sharing your research, you always have the best and most interesting Lizzie stuff. I have learned so much from you. You are a peach!!!!

  2. karen rontowski

    August 6, 2009 at 1:12 AM

    Does anyone know if Lizzie Borden had a grand mother or relative that also killed someone?

  3. michael

    August 18, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    In the photos of Lizzie you can tell her spirit was strong yet you can see a secret is in thoses eyes I think her father was abusive to her and she blamed her mother too perhaps she seen her parents as hethans and Lizzie decided that mercy was for her and not her parents who were the heathans and had to be dealt with so did she in her mind become Wisdom incarnate and decided to take maters into her own mind ! ? It is sad that when a person who already has mental problems gets into the bible for reifuge but dosent get healed because they fail to look at God in a light of reality and then interpreting the Bible the way she wanted to interpret it decided that it was not just only forgivable to someone needing mercy in a big way but also very necesary to act out apon the opressive heathan demond possesed parents that keept her from her God. If you put info into a broken computer you get nonsence back out of it or it dosent work at all if you put the Bible into a molested and scared little girls torn mind she would then get worse especially if the abussivness is still going on !!!!!!!


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