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Author Archives: phayemuss

About phayemuss

If you've stumbled across this blog, I hope you will enjoy in the musings, images, and perspectives as much as I enjoy sharing them. As a writer, scholar and collector of the infamous Lizzie Borden case of Fall River, MA (1892), I have spent over 40 years collecting rare books, journals, letters, photographs and memorabilia on this most compelling case. I like to say: "Some people play golf - I do Lizzie." My first read on the case was Victoria Lincoln's A Private Disgrace, and my first visit inside 92 Second Street(when it was numbered 230)was in 1978. For the next 15 years, I traveled to Fall River doing research and meeting with long time residents. In 1992, I was a presenter at the Lizzie Borden Centennial Conference in Fall River. Since 1998, I have stayed at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast two to three times a year, often serving as tour guide and night manager. I've lectured at University campuses, women's groups, genealogical societies, civic clubs and fraternal organizations, and libraries conducting multi-media presentations on Lizzie Borden and Fall River's history. I am the creator of the Lizzie Borden board game: "Journey to Maplecroft" and have produced several research and reference materials in both print and CD formats, some of which are available at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast. My personal images are copyrighted and not intended for other blogs or internet sites or print publications or any commercial use without permission, however, please feel free to copy them for your own personal collection. Also, feel free to email email me at phaye@npgcable.com. -Faye Musselman Cypress, California

What Happened to Emma’s Stuff?

Last posted in 2011 – The Gardner connection is essential to understanding Lizzie and Emma.

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

Recycled from 2011

Emma Borden, Lizzie’s sister, left most of her personal property to Orrin Gardner.  He, in turn, gave much to his nephew, Hamilton, son of Orrin’s brother.  Before we go further, please note I’ve written about the Gardners of Swansea many times and you should review these posts HERE and HERE.

Young Orrin Gardner

Young Hamilton Gardner, son of William Gardner

The following images of letters and notes gives us a glimpse of what happened.  Indeed, the recently discovered portraits of a young Andrew and young Sarah were donated to the Swansea Historical Society by Hamilton Gardner.   (You’ll remember those portraits, possibly done at the time they were married – a true love match.)

                 

You have to wonder if these portraits hung at Maplecroft and if Emma took them when she left Lizzie in 1905.  Anyway….as to her other…

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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

In Lizzie’s Time….a key to Understanding

Originally posted in May, 2010

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

Image ©Faye Musselman 2010

Lizzie Borden lived as many years before her Trial as she did after her Trial.  She was born the year the Pony Express started, Elizabeth Cady Stanton addressed the state’s legislature on the subject of women’s suffrage, and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities was published.   There were only 33 states in the Union, and public conveyance was mostly by steamship and horse-drawn wagon.  She died the year two-way television was first demonstrated, “The Jazz Singer” premiered, and when the whole world was celebrating Lindberg’s solo flight across the Atlantic to Paris.

At the time of the murders Lizzie Borden was just on the cusp of the inner circle she so much wanted to penetrate. She longed to be accepted and a part of what author Victoria Lincoln referred to as “that highly stratified society.” She was a Borden with impeccable lineage and was acutely…

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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Lizzie Borden Ponderables

Originally posted August 24, 2012.

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

Have you ever wondered why:

Winnie French was so adamant to testify on behalf of Grace Howe & Helen Leighton at the Probate Hearing against Charles Cook’s claim of ownership of the Henry House?

Orrin Gardner had so little tribute in ink when he died, although it was highly deserved?

What specifically Bailey Borden sold of Lizzie & Emma’s possession in his Fall River store acquired from Hamilton Gardner?

Why there was so little reporting of Lizzie writing a blank check to Ernest Terry as she lay dying on her last day of life?  (All those people at the bank knew.)

Why Charles Cook parked his car in Lizzie’s garage and then charged the heating to her estate?

Why Ernest Terry went to work for Charles Cook after Lizzie died?

Why Grace Howe, with a keen eye for antiques, left so much of it?

Why so many of Lizzie’s good…

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Posted by on March 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Lizzie Borden’s Grand Tour Money Shortage

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

Recycled Post – Another trunk – this one owned by Lizzie.  Maybe the hand of Helen Leighton once touched it.  😉

On June 21, 1890 Lizzie Borden embarked on a 19 week Grand Tour of Europe. A month and two days later, she would celebrate her 30th birthday while on that Tour. It must have been her best birthday ever. However, according to reports, she would also have to wire home for additional funds, a necessary appeal that must have been a source of great embarrassment to her considering her travel companions.

(Could this be the trunk or one of the trunks Lizzie took on the Tour? Note that no port labels are visible. -from The Spectator, January 22, 1997)

Lizzie was enjoying the thrilling sights of England, Scotland, France, and Italy with sisters Carrie Lindley Borden and Anna Howland Borden, daughters of Colonel Thomas J. Borden (of the…

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Posted by on March 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Lysistrata – “Lizzie” to You –

(originally posted in 2008 – I’m adding new stuff at the end)

07Feb

Lizzie Borden, five years deceased, would have been appalled by the 1932 Carthay Circle Theater advertisement below.

Aristophane’s comedy Lysistrata (written in 411 BC) was performed at the Carthay Circle Theater in New York with Nance O’Neil in the lead role. The program ad below has “LIZZIE TO YOU” written below the title. One would think that a diminutive or nickname of Lysistrata was “Lizzie”, but Lysistrata really means “releaser of war” or “she who disbands armies”.

Lizzie might have even have found the play itself distasteful, classical Greek literature notwithstanding.

Anyway, 75+ years later, perhaps only those of us absorbed in all things Lizzie find the double entendre humor in this reference.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the play – hardly our “Lizzie” at all. Then again, in another life – she could have been. I can see that. Can you? 😉

“The women of Athens, led by Lysistrata and supported by female delegates from the other states of Hellas, determine to take matters into their own hands and force the men to stop the War. They meet in solemn conclave, and Lysistrata expounds her scheme, the rigorous application to husbands and lovers of a self-denying ordinance–“we must refrain from the male altogether.” Every wife and mistress is to refuse all sexual favours whatsoever, till the men have come to terms of peace. In cases where the women must yield ‘par force majeure,’ then it is to be with an ill grace and in such a way as to afford the minimum of gratification to their partner; they are to be passive and take no more part in the amorous game than they are absolutely obliged to. By these means Lysistrata assures them they will very soon gain their end. “If we sit indoors prettily dressed out in our best transparent silks and prettiest gewgaws, and all nicely depilated, they will be able to deny us nothing.” Such is the burden of her advice.

After no little demure, this plan of campaign is adopted, and the assembled women take a solemn oath to observe the compact faithfully. Meantime as a precautionary measure they seize the Acropolis, where the State treasure is kept; the old men of the city assault the doors, but are repulsed by “the terrible regiment” of women. Before long the device of the bold Lysistrata proves entirely effective, Peace is concluded, and the play ends with the hilarious festivities of the Athenian and Spartan plenipotentiaries in celebration of the event.” -Theater Database

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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Inside Lizzie Borden’s Renovated Maplecroft

Created by author Rebecca Pittman – The History & Haunting of Lizzie Borden.  Enjoy.

BTW, while I think Kristee Bates has done a very good job in renovating “Maplecroft”, I still do not think this is how Lizzie had it furnished and decorated in her day.  Lizzie selected only the very best of furnishings, fixtures and equipment because she could well afford it.  Her home, which she nurtured and lovingly maintained as if it were her child, had the very best appointments.  She bought only “the very best”.   Kristee worked on a budget and it does not escape the discerning eye.  Nonetheless, it is still beautiful and representative of Victorian homes of the 1890’s.  However, one only has to go to the Fall River Historical Society  or the Easton Tea Room (1870 Alexander Dorrance Easton residence also owned by the FRHS) to see the high quality wallpaper and exceptional quality furniture donated over the years.  The difference is remarkable and unmistakable.  There one will find furniture and fixtures inside these two establishments closer to what “Miss Lizbeth” would have had in her own home.

While the precise decade (1893 to 1927)  Maplecroft’s renovated interior  is reflecting is unclear, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum is furnished exactly as it would have been on August 4, 1892.  Aspiring and inspired detectives can play out what they know or suspect of the crimes with a full and thoroughly captivating  “stage”.   Kudos to the original “set decorators” and Kudos to General Manager Lee-ann Wilber  (since 2004)  and owner, Donald Woods,  who have not altered  its base authenticity.

And a special Kudo to Rebecca Pittman for providing us with the first ever video showing the interiors of both the Second Street and French Street homes in which Lizzie lived the entire first half and entire second half of her life, respectively.   Well done!

 

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Lysistrata – “Lizzie” to You

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden, five years deceased, would have been appalled by the 1932 Carthay Circle Theater advertisement below.

Aristophane’s comedy Lysistrata (written in 411 BC) was performed at the Carthay Circle Theater in New York with Nance O’Neil in the lead role. The program ad below has “LIZZIE TO YOU” written below the title. One would think that a diminutive or nickname of Lysistrata was “Lizzie”, but Lysistrata really means “releaser of war” or “she who disbands armies”.

Lizzie might have even have found the play itself distasteful, classical Greek literature notwithstanding.

Anyway, 75+ years later, perhaps only those of us absorbed in all things Lizzie find the double entendre humor in this reference.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the play – hardly our “Lizzie” at all. Then again, in another life – she could have been. I can see that. Can you? 😉

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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Uncategorized