(Recycled from March, 2009)
The first book to be published on the Lizzie Borden case was right after her Trial in 1893 by Edwin Porter, a reporter for the Fall River Globe and a chum of some of the police officers who provided some inside information.
The first edition, the original, is not easily found and when it does appear, such as on eBay, usually sells for $300 or more. Some antique book dealers list it as high as $2,000. The book itself is really not all that rare. I addressed this issue in detail in a previous blog which can be found by clicking HERE.
Lizzie’s lawyer, Andrew Jennings, on behalf of the Borden sisters and John Morse, threatened Porter and the publisher with legal action if any pictures of “the family” appeared. Well, pictures of the “dead family” appeared and no suit followed.
When the book was first published, it was sold on subscription, and one of the “Lizzie Legends” is that Lizzie bought out the printer and had the copies burned. Not true. A goodly number were purchased – and to some Fall River notables at that. The one found AT THIS SITE was owned by Charlotte Brayton and she donated it to the Harvard Library. The Braytons were one of the prominent founding families of Fall River.
By clicking to advance the pages , you will immediately see the handwritten inscription on the inside cover: “Israel Brayton”. This particular Israel Brayton* was born in 1874 and died in 1961. He married Ethel Moison Chace (1880-1960), and they had three children, including Charlotte Brayton (1913 to 1994). Charlotte never married. For whatever reasons, Charlotte preferred to donate her father’s copy of The Fall River Tragedy to Harvard rather than the Fall River Historical Society. Lucky thing for us she did.
The book is rich in photos of key players not found in other books and includes the old “Ferry Street” homestead, the house Andrew deeded to the girls over the Whitehead fiasco. Well, that house was practically a prototype of the home he purchased in 1872 at 92 Second Street. Greek revival, two-family home. Andrew was worth a small fortune by 1872 but he didn’t exactly move “up”. Anyway, here’s a picture of both houses:
Virtually, the same house. Two stories and an attic built for 2 families with identical floor plans on the first and second floors. Lizzie was 12 when they moved and she could not have been too impressed. The only difference was after a short while they had “the whole house”. So that was different.
Thanks to the Harvard Library, and thanks to Charlotte Brayton, you can now READ, AND PRINT OUT THE ENTIRE BOOK FOR FREE – AND AS IT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED. NO WORD DOCUMENT HERE. HERE YOU CAN ENJOY IT JUST AS IT WAS LAID OUT – NOT RETYPED IN WORD FORMAT AND UPLOADED TO A FORUM SITE WITHOUT ANY IMAGES. HERE YOU GET THE REAL DEAL. ENJOY! IT’S FREE!
CLICK HERE —> FALL RIVER TRAGEDY
*Source: The Braytons of Somerset and Fall River by Roswell Brayton, page 34. (Note: Charlotte is pictured with several generations of Braytons in this book; also pictured are her father and mother.)