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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

FALL RIVER CITY HALL DISPLAY ON HISTORIC PHOTOS

Jai Sotomayer poses in front of special display

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Click   HERE  

for an awesome display.  And if you live in or near Fall River, MA, you should go to see it.

Kudos to Jai Sotomayer.   (I made the contributions on Lizzie Borden, of course).

 

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in Fall River, Fall River History

 

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Louis McHenry Howe – Devotion vs Love

Tattered Fabric: Fall River's Lizzie Borden

(Reposted from 2009)

A study of the personal correspondence between Louis McHenry Howe and Grace Hartley Howe (second cousin to Lizzie Borden) cannot help but make one wonder if this man misplaced his unwavering devotion to President Franklin Roosevelt over the love for his own wife and family.  The letters reveal a man conflicted but unwilling to remove himself from the virtual shadow of  FDR where he relished being so close and so influential to the power on the throne.

Photo by Corbis

Julie M.  Fenster’s excellent book, FDR’s Shadow, is the first to reveal these letters stored at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, New York.  I went there to read them myself and came away with a few differing insights from Julie’s, but my mission was focused more on those letters between Louis and his wife than those between Louis and Franklin.

In the letters, time and…

View original post 598 more words

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft to Open to Public by April

Pictured is Ryan Woods.  Photo credit Jack Foley, Herald News

 

The Fall River Herald News ran this story today.

Just think of it – visitors will be able to tour both homes where Lizzie lived all but 12 years of her life.  She was born on Ferry Street in Fall River in 1860, but in 1872 Andrew purchased the home at 92 Second Street.  Indeed, from age 12 to 32 she continued to live under the auspices of her father, Andrew J. Borden.  Then, shortly after her 1893 Acquittal, she lived the remaining 33 years of her life at “Maplecroft” in The Highlands.  The contrast is astonishing.

She loved her home on French Street and coveted it as if  it were her child, nurturing it with nothing but the best.   (Paranormal enthusiasts take note:  If the spirits of Andrew and Abby Borden reside at 92 Second Street,  the spirit of Lizzie Borden resides at Maplecroft.)

I look forward to the inevitable videos, documentaries, travelogs, social media input, (and perhaps even a film on the second half of her life) etc.,  that will be forthcoming on the interior of Maplecroft for the multitudes interested in Lizzie.

Not only past and repeat visitors to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast will be flooding back to Fall River for a brand new experience related to their most compelling icon, but completely NEW visitors to Fall River will come for a look-see.  These new visitors, who may just want to stay at a Victorian B&B on their way to Newport may take a look around at development opportunities and……well, who knows.

Again, I say HUZZAH to the new owners.  And again, it was the only purchase that made sense.

 

 

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3D Tour of Maplecroft – Puts You Right Inside

 

From Sotheby’s International Realty’s listing of 306 French Street, aka “Maplecroft” here is a wonderful 3-D tour of the inside.  I especially like utilizing the blue circle to guide me up, down, sideways, close-up, around corners, through doorways, etc.,  to see virtually every bit of the home, –  its furnishings, paintings, portraits, photographs, ornamental items, original doors, doorknobs, tin ceilings, servant stairways, servants’ rooms, etc.

You can pause and zoom and take your time.  Making use of the blue circle – moving it to enlarge or reduce – really makes you feel you are walking around inside.  And truly gives you a better appreciation for the quality and detail Kristee Bates put into restoring this home.

Except for the stove and fire sprinklers – it is truly a turn-key operation for new owner, Donald Woods and his son, Ryan, who will be the Manager.  Huzzahs!

Click the link HERE and scroll down to the 2 images of Maplecroft and click the box on the right hand side to walk around inside Maplecroft.

Note:  The first time I was inside this home the dining room still had Lizzie’s original drapes.

 

 

 

 

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New “Lizzie” Movie – Chloe Sevigny and Kristen Stewart

 

The Reviews are now out on this long anticipated indie film showing at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival..  I labeled it soft porn (not that there’s anything wrong with that) long ago and, thus, the hook.  Sounds like slop pails will be needed for Borden case enthusiasts viewing both the new and regurgitated misinformation.  Salacious and simply wrong on almost all counts as I can conclude according to the reviews.

The REAL story, the TRUE story has enough emotional tension, suspense, mystery, historical significance, and much more that it seems to me Lizzie Borden’s story still screams out to be made.

Meanwhile, check out this new chat board to voice your opinion and read the reviews below of the latest rendition.  Poor Lizzie.

http://africanuniondiaspora.org/index.php/2018/01/20/chloe-sevigny-on-the-totally-unexpected-carnal-nude-scene-in-her-lizzie-borden-drama-sundance-2018/

http://www.sundance.org/projects/lizzie#/

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/lizzie-review-1076232

http://filmhaimdb.xyz/news/ni61878462

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Book: In My Opinion, The Inquest Hearing of Lizzie Andrew Borden

….. Volume I  by Keith A. Buchanan

 

Just started reading this new publication written with a fresh , creative approach.  Mr. Buchanan actually puts us inside the room where the Coroner’s Inquest was held where we are silent observers to the excellent guide/narrator, “John”.   “John” begins with laying the foundation of the case and reveals Witness Interviews making us feel as if they are talking to us, and later, some giving inquest testimony, “John” makes them feel familiar to us.

So far I am thoroughly delighted with this approach – the most original I have come across in decades.  The book is flush with illustrations, some never seen before.  The author’s extensive and detailed research is without question.  Not only does he capture the full inquest testimonies of all those called (with the exception of Bridget Sullivan, of course) but he provides personal profile information on them.  However, I have noted a few errors – not many – and one photo illustration attributed to the wrong person.  But this is such a fun read that I will forego comment on those until a completed read when I can do a valid review of this 503 page gem.    Meantime, get this book!

In the Lizzie landscape of non-fiction, this book is akin to a new ride at Disneyland.

Parts can be read HERE.

P.S.   Author Keith A. Buchanan is life long resident of Fall River.

Also, off topic but related to disposition of “Maplecroft” – this is the one option that made the most sense.  Thank you, Donald Woods! :0 

 

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Andrew Borden’s Prince Albert Coat

(Recycled from March 2008)

James E. Windward, “funeral director to the stars” or at least to all the best Fall River families (translation: Bordens, Braytons, Durfees, Chaces, etc.) during Lizzie’s time, was at the Borden house with his assistant around 4:00 pm on August 4, 1892. As Doctor Dolan testified, it was Undertaker Winward who removed the money from Andrew’s clothing and gave it over to him.

Winward had to wait until the in-situ crime scene photographs were taken and preliminary autopsies were concluded before he could claim possession of the bodies for preparation for Saturday’s funeral services. Could it be that Lizzie told him directly or had it conveyed to him as a discreet request by another (Alice? Uncle John?) that she wished her father to be “laid out” in his Prince Albert coat because it was such a signature garment to all those that knew him? The same Prince Albert coat that was photographed crumbled up under his head on the sofa. The same Prince Albert coat that his usual custom was to hang on a hook when switching to his more comfortable coat in which he wore in death? The same Prince Albert coat that is not on the list of clothing buried nor presented at Trial. The same Prince Albert coat that magically disappears like socks in the dryer. The same Prince Albert coat that District Attorney Knowlton alluded to as a possible shield against the assailant’s own clothing during his Trial summation? The same coat that had it been laid out and studied would have had telling blood splatters and not just a large stain from the seeping wounds of the ten hatchet blows to his head.

Let us assume that the Prince Albert coat was indeed removed from the premises by Undertaker Winward at Lizzie’s request. Let us further assume it was subsequently cleaned, pressed and put back upon the corpse of Andrew Borden. It would seem such an appropriate thing to do that his open coffin next to Abby’s in the Sitting Room would warrant narry a comment pertaining to evidence. “How peaceful he looks with his head on the side, and isn’t it natural that he should be wearing that oh so familiar coat?”, one might have commented to another.

Fast Forward – Oak Grove Cemetery:

The mortal remains of Andrew Jackson Borden lay crushed from a collapsed coffin, wood fragments embedded in the decomposed and tattered fabric of a certain Prince Albert coat. A high school ring dangles from his skeletal finger and his skeletal foot stretches out to just inches above Lizzie’s head. Each day at the stroke of 11:00 am, he shoves his foot against her head and in a muffled but strident voice only the dead can hear he speaks out to her: “Bad girl, Lizzie. Bad, bad, girl.” Thus, every day throughout eternity she hears those words at the stroke of Eleven – Lizzie’s own hellish, eternal doom.

I’d be willing to bet if Andrew’s grave were dug up, the collapsed coffin opened, there we would find the mortal remains of Andrew Borden. His head would be detached and displaced but he’d be dressed in that Prince Albert coat.

Smart girl, Lizzie.  Clever girl, Lizzie.