This article in the Fall River Herald News today by Deborah Allard includes several informative links (see my Timeline) and gives us the super bland recipe for Lizzie Borden’s meatloaf.
This article in the Fall River Herald News today by Deborah Allard includes several informative links (see my Timeline) and gives us the super bland recipe for Lizzie Borden’s meatloaf.
In this very recent Town & Country mag interview Chloe Sevigny admits her film “Lizzie” is fiction but it’s what she says about Lizzie the person where she gets it all wrong.
First of all let me say that whenever I ready ANYTHING about Lizzie Borden where it states unequivocably that an “axe” was used (instead of a hatchet), a red flag goes up in my critical, case purist mind. Alas, it was mentioned almost immediately. The trouble with the content of remarks made in this interview is that urban legends are reinforced once again.
Sevigny maintains Lizzie Borden was stifled under her father’s rigid control and had no outlets to vent her frustrations. Truth be told, Lizze at age 32, was just on the cusp of joining the core of that society she so craved. For the past 7 years she had been active in the Congregational Church, taking part in almost all it’s departments, i.e., Fruit and Flower Mission, also Reverent Buck’s Mission where she taught Chinese children, Womens’ Board of the Fall River Hospital, etc. etc. She pretty much came and went as she pleased, entering and existing by the front door as her sister, Emma, did while her father and stepmother used the back door. Lizzie went out frequently to make calls but most of her social engagements involved the Central Congregation Church. And just the year before she had gone a 16 week Grand Tour to Europe. She was no captive of her father’s doman, that’s for sure.
I have repeatedly said Sevigny’s film is soft porn. Just as there are books with hooks there are films produced for targeted audiences. This film is no exception. But I’ll still go see it. And I’ll keep buying those books.
George Dexter Robinson Blue Flo Plate of Gov. Robinson
3X Governor of Mass. private collection of Faye Musselman
Headed Lizzie’s defense team On loan to Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast
“By Paul Edward Parker, Providence Journal-Bulletin
FALL RIVER — In a locked storage room on the 16th floor of a high-rise office building in Springfield, a five-drawer file cabinet may hold the secrets of Fall River’s most enduring mystery: Who killed Andrew and Abby Borden. Only one man has the key to that locked filing cabinet, an administrator in the law firm that, more than a century ago, represented Lizzie Borden when she was acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother. Since June 1893, the papers inside that filing cabinet have remained a secret between Lizzie and her lawyer, former Gov. George D. Robinson. But all that may soon change.
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case involving former White House aide Vincent W. Foster, who committed suicide in 1993. Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr has demanded to see notes of a conversation between Foster and his lawyer just days before the suicide. The high court will hear oral arguments in that case on June 8, with a decision expected in late June or early July. The court will decide whether attorney-client privilege, which protects the secrecy of the relationship between lawyers and their clients, continues after the client dies. It is the attorney-client privilege that has kept the Robinson papers out of the public eye for 105 years. Though Lizzie is long gone, her lawyer lives on, in the form of Robinson, Donovan, Madden & Barry, the law firm that succeeded Governor Robinson’s firm.
The Supreme Court’s pending ruling opens a tantalizing possibility to historians and Borden buffs. “Would we like to look at Robinson’s papers? Absolutely, of course,” said George E. Quigley, president of The International Lizzie Borden Association.
Said Michael Martins, curator of the Fall River Historical Society: “Any documents that pertain to a case as notorious as the Borden case, a great unsolved murder mystery, would be of tremendous interest to researchers and scholars.” The historical society is home to the largest collection of Borden material, including the papers of prosecutor Hosea M. Knowlton and City Marshal Rufus B. Hilliard, Fall River’s police chief at the time of the murders. “I’m sure it’s an interesting collection,” Martins said of the Robinson papers, “but I doubt there’s anything that’s going to prove the case.”
The types of documents in the collection are as mysterious as what they might say.
Bruce Lyon, administrator at the Robinson firm, said the collection includes newspaper clippings and other materials that were publicly available. It also includes a lot more material, he said, all of which is privileged.
Around the time of the 100th anniversary of the murders, in 1992, the firm consulted with the Board of Bar Overseers, the agency that oversees the conduct of lawyers. The board informally advised that not only does the attorney-client privilege bar the firm from releasing the papers, it prevents the firm from disclosing the nature of what it holds. Lyon said the Robinson papers have been catalogued and placed in protective document holders, but he could not say anything more.
Speculation is that the files might contain letters between Lizzie and Robinson; letters between Robinson and other lawyers involved in the case; Robinson’s notes, both strategic preparations and documenting how the trial progressed; and other documents relating to testimony at the trial and preliminary proceedings.
Few expect to find anything directly incriminating Lizzie, such as a signed confession. But the papers may hold bits of information that may have seemed inconsequential at the time that, viewed with a modern understanding of the case, might bolster one or more theories of the crime.
“Some things in there might be historical,” Quigley said. “There might be statements in there that might be damning or might be helpful to her. There would be notes that Robinson wrote about the case that would be telling. Who knows.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling will probably only deal with whether lawyers can be ordered to divulge material relating to dead clients. A ruling paving the way for release of the papers would only be the first step to their becoming public. If the Robinson papers became publicly available and the law firm wanted to lend or donate them to the historical society, Martins would be happy to accept them, but added, “we wouldn’t go after them.”
Martins said the society, in such a case, would probably seek to publish the papers, a painstaking process involving years of transcribing handwritten notes. The society published prosecutor Knowlton’s papers in 1994, and has been preparing the roughly 600 documents in Hilliard’s papers, which are still several years from publication. Despite the keen historical interest in the material, even Martins and Quigley are hesitant to advocate that the Supreme Court extinguish the attorney-client privilege upon a client’s death.
Quigley noted that Foster has living relatives, who could be hurt by the release of confidential material. “Lizzie, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “She’s dead. She’s dead a long time.”
Martins thinks the privilege should be extended even to the long-dead accused ax murderess. “Personally, I think Lizzie Borden bought and paid for her defense,” he said. “Isn’t it important that they protect the documents of their former clients? I think it’s important that they do that.”
The Supreme Court, using the case of Vincent Foster, ruled that lawyers must still maintain the attorney-client privilege, even when the client is dead. Personally, I can see the merits of this with regards to private correspondence. But the firm most likely has what remains the only surviving copy of Bridget Sullivan’s Inquest Testimony. Testimony from all others called by District Attorney Knowlton has long since been made public via the “Jennings hip bath collection” sold by the Fall River Historical Society. The Inquest was a legal proceeding and if this firm does have Bridget’s testimony, it surely is not “material between lawyers and their client” and, IMHO, should be released and made public.
About 5 years ago I sent an email to attorney Jeffrey McCormick (no longer with the firm) following up on Jules Ryckebusch’s earlier plea in 1992 to release the files. I received a prompt and courteous email response citing their standard reply as indicated above.
The firm has evolved and grown, now known as Robinson Donovan P.C. Check out their website: http://www.robinson-donovan.com/index.epl
Partial extracts from my historic timeline for the month of June follows. It helps one gain a perspective on what influenced Lizzie Borden and the world she lived in. Well, sort of. One can also watch old films like Pollyanna to get a peek into the mores, customs, societal hierachy of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Speaking of Pollyanna, I watched it the other day and was particularly struck by its accurate depiction of the power the founding families had within their communities, including the Church. Just as Polly Harrington (Jane Wyman) dictated what her church minister (Karl Malden) would trumpet from the pulpit, made me wonder if the Bordens and Durfees influenced what their ministers would speak on for the Sunday sermons at the Central Congregational Church.
|June 20, 1635||John Borden, wife, and two children set sail for America.|
|June 9, 1772||First naval battle of the Revolutionary War, British customs schooner Gaspee is burned off Rhode Island.|
|June 17, 1775||Battle of Bunker Hill in Boston.|
|June 18, 1804||Name of “Fallriver” changed to “Troy”|
|June 2, 1832||Caleb Blodgett (later Judge at Borden Trial) is born in Dorchester, New Hampshire.|
|June 12, 1836||Justin Dewey, later Judge at Borden Trial, is born.|
|June 26, 1838||Mary Augusta Demarest is born in NYC; later writes “My Ain Countrie”.|
|June 9, 1861||John W. Coughlin born; later three-term Mayor of Fall River.|
|June 19, 1863||Earl P. Charlton born in Chester, Conn. (Later becomes richest man in Fall River).|
|June 9, 1863||Ricca Allen is born in Canada, later friend of Nance O’Neil and Lizzie Borden.|
|June 6, 1865||Andrew Borden, 43, marries Abby Durfee Gray, 37, (43 days before Lizzie’s 5th birthday). Emma is 16.|
|June 16, 1867||Helen Leighton born in Millbridge, Maine.|
|June 28, 1870||Jerome C. Borden marries Emma Tetlow. (Did 10 yr old Lizzie go to wedding?)|
|June 19, 1874||Andrew has running water installed in the Second Street house with service from city.|
|June 25, 1876||General Custer and entire regiment killed at “Battle of the Little Big Horn.”|
|June 29, 1876||Mill #2 of the American Linen Company, foot of Ferry St., suffered fire damage in the two upper stories.|
|June, 1879||Spinner’s strike, major summer long strike of mill workers.|
|June 11, 1885||William Almy dies in Fall River.|
|June 17, 1885||The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, arrives in the U.S.|
|June 2, 1886||President Grover Cleveland marries Frances Folsom in Blue Room of the White House.|
|June 15, 1887||Dedication of BMC Durfee High School. William Lambert is first principal.|
|June 4, 1890||Lizzie signs her passport application for Grand Tour to Europe.|
|June 16, 1890||The first Madison Square Garden, designed by McKim, Mead & White, opens in New York City.|
|June 21, 1890||Lizzie sails on S.S. Scythia from Boston to Liverpool, England, embarking on 19 week long “Grand Tour”.|
|June 24, 1891||Daylight “robbery” at the Bordens. (KP74)|
|May/June 1892||Andrew kills pigeons roosting in the barn. Morse visits end of June.|
|June 30, 1892||Morse spends one day at Bordens; takes Butcher Davis’ daughter & Emma for a ride. (CI 96)|
|June 1, 1893||Grace Hartley graduates from Fall River High School. (FRHN 3/21/2004)|
|June 3, 1893||Jose Correiro arrested in Manchester case. (Jury is sequestered and does not learn of this arrest.)|
|June 3, 1893||Lizzie transfers to New Bedford Jail on Ash Street.|
|June 5-20, 1893||THE TRIAL OF LIZZIE BORDEN|
|June 1893||Grace Hartley graduates from Fall River High School. (FRHN 3/21/2004)|
|June 5, 1893Monday||Court convened at 11:28 am. 111 questioned before the 12 jurymen are were selected. Charles I. Richards chosen as jury Foreman.|
|June 6, 1893 Tuesday||Indictment is read; William Moody opens for the Prosecution. Lizzie faints and is revived.|
|June 6, 1893 Tuesday||Civil Engr. Thomas Kieran called, gives measurements, testifies a man could have hid in front entry closet.|
|June 6, 1893 Tuesday||Jurors travel to Fall River; visit Kelly’s house, Wade’s store, Crowe’s stone yard, Chagnon’s house, Kirby’s yard, Alice Russell’s house, Gorman’s store, Clegg’s store and banks. Tour finished at 4:00 pm.|
|June 6, 1893Tuesday||Jurors taken to Mellen House, Franklin & North Main Street where they spend the night.|
|June 7, 1893 Wednesday||James A. Walsh, photographer testifies as to the accuracy of the pictures he had made of the victims and the house on the day of the killing.|
|June 7, 1893 Wednesday||John Vinnicum Morse examination conducted by Moody, not different from that as in the Preliminary Hearing. Lizzie smiled as her uncle tried to calculate her age and shook her head vigorously when he stated she was “33.” (She was only 6 weeks shy of 33),|
|June 7, 1893 Wednesday||Abraham G. Hart, Treasurer of Union Savings Bank, testifies as to Borden’s movements on morning of the 8/4.|
|June 7, 1893||Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, dies. Had home in Middletown, RI.|
|June 9, 893Friday||John Minnehan, patrolman assigned to follow John Morse on August 5, 1892, dies at age 48 in Fall River.|
|June 12, 1893 Monday||Lizzie’s Inquest Testimony ruled inadmissible.|
|June 13, 1893 Tuesday||AG Pillsbury arrives by train from Boston, consults with Knowlton & Moody & returns same evening.|
|June 14, 1893 Wednesday||John T. Burrill, Cashier of Union National Bank, Everett M. Cook, Cashier of the First National Bank, Jonathan Clegg, a hat dealer, Joseph Shortsleeves, a carpenter, and John Maher, a carpenter give testimony as to Andrew’s movements August 4th.|
|June 14, 1893||Judges ruling excludes Eli Bence’s prussic acid testimony .|
|June 14, 1893||At Knowlton’s request during Dr. Draper’s testimony, Dr. Dolan brings in the skulls of Andrew & Abby. Lizzie is allowed to retire from the courtroom. (TT1046)|
|June 14, 1893 Wednesday||9th Day: C. C. Potter’s son (Freddy) finds hatchet w/gilt on roof of Crowe’s barn. Carpenter Carl McDonnel claims it is his hatchet; prussic acid testimony (Eli Bence) ruled inadmissible.|
|June 15, 1893||FR Evening News reports hatchet found on roof of John Crowe’s barn. ( FREN18)|
|June 15, 1893 Wednesday||Opening statements by Defense are given by Andrew Jennings.|
|June 16, 1893 Wednesday||Emma Borden testifies.|
|June 16, 1893||Governor Robinson reads from Bridget’s Inquest Testimony (a missing document) (TT)|
|June 17, 1893||Carpenter McDonald claims Crowe’s roof hatchet is his. (FRHN)|
|June 18, 1893||Carrie Poole, Lizzie’s friend residing 20 Madison Street, New Bedford, dies.|
|June 19, 1893 Wednesday||Governor Robinson gives closing arguments; Knowlton begins his closing.|
|June 20, 1893 3:24 pm||13th Day: The Jury retires to deliberate.|
|4:32 pm||Lizzie Borden pronounced “Not Guilty” at 4:35 pm. (TT1928)|
|8:15 pm||Lizzie & Emma arrive by coach w/Mrs. Holmes at 67 Pine St. in FR; small reception follows. Lizzie spends night there. Large crowd gathered at 92 Second St. (CaseBook228)|
|June 22, 1893||Reupholstered sofa is delivered back to the house on Second Street. (LR1111-112)|
|June 23, 1893||Lizzie visits the Wm. Covel’s in Newport, RI, has classic picture of her “standing behind the chair” taken.|
|June 23, 1893||Morse attempts to get mileage reimbursement from Iowa to New Bedford from Co. Treasurer. (FRHN)|
|June 27, 1893||Lizzie & Emma go to Taunton to visit Sheriff Wright’s wife.|
|June 4, 1900||Mary Howe (Baker) is born, daughter of Grace and Louis Howe.|
|June 5, 1905||Newspaper article states Lizzie writing play for Nance O’Neil. (Spiering p208)|
|June 5, 1905||Boston Globe reports Emma moving out of “Maplecroft”.|
|June 21, 1905||Bridget Sullivan marries John M. Sullivan in Anaconda, MT.|
|June 2, 1906||Emma Borden departs on White Star liner RMS Cymric, departing from Boston for Queenstown & Liverpool, enroute to Scotland.|
|June 30, 1908||Lizzie writes to Asst. Supt R. I. Hospital re her maid Hannah B. Nelson. (Gateway Mag. Summer 1997)|
|June 15, 1909||Marshal Hilliard retires.|
|June 19, 1911||Opening Day of Fall River’s Cotton Centennial|
|June 23, 1911||President Howard Taft arrives in Fall River for Cotton Centennial celebration.|
|June 10, 1912||Grisly axe murders of 2 adults and 6 children, all while they sleep, in Villisca, Iowa.|
|June 25, 1914||Animal Rescue League of Fall River established as a corporation (Later becomes Faxon Animal Rescue League).|
|June 29, 1914||Austrian Prince, Archduke Ferdinand shot by Serbian assassin, in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, leading to World War I.|
|June 28, 1915||Patrick Doherty (Captain, FRPD) dies in Fall River, Mass.|
|June 15, 1918||Lizzie and Emma sell 230 Second St. (changed from #92) to John W. Dunn. (LR557)|
|June 19, 1919||Naval Fighting Ship commissioned “Moody” launched. William H. Moody’s sister, Mary E. Moody, sponsored the ship.|
|June 22, 1922||Emma Borden signs the Codicil to her Will.|
|June 1, 1923||Leontine Lincoln dies. (Grandfather of Victoria Lincoln and a founder of Fall River Historical Society).|
|June 1, 1927||Lizzie Andrew Borden dies of heart failure at 8:30 pm at her home “Maplecroft” in (59 days short of her 67th birthday).|
|June 4, 1927||Nance O’Neil’s interview about Lizzie appears in New Bedford Standard.|
|June 7, 1927||Lizzie’s Will is filed in Taunton Probate Court.|
|June 10, 1927||Emma Borden dies in Newmarket, New Hampshire at age 76.|
|June 12, 1927||Helen Leighton interview saying Lizzie was bitterly unhappy, suffered from depression. ( FRHN)|
|June 13, 1927||Emma Borden is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery.|
|June 30, 1927||Emma’s Will is filed in Taunton Probate Court.|
|June 3, 1939||Arthur Sherman Phillips writes to son of Defense Attorney Robinson asking to be forwarded Lizzie’s answers to the questions he posed her back in 1892.|
|June 23-27, 1936||Grace Hartley Howe attends Democratic Nat’l Convention in Philadelphia as a Delegate At-large.|
|June 14, 1955||Grace Hartley Howe, Lizzie’s cousin and legatee, dies at the age of 80 in Fall River. (FRHN)|
|June 1, 1961||Adelaide Churchill home destroyed by fire. (LR44)|
|June 13, 1981||Author Victoria Lincoln Lowe dies at age 76. Her body given to Science at John Hopkins University.|
|June 22, 1994||Josephine Vohnoutka McGinn (wife of John) dies in Fall River.|
|June 1, 2001||Jules Ryckebusch retires from Bristol Community College and names Gabriela Schalow Adler Publisher of The Lizzie Borden Quarterly.|
|June 2, 2004||Robert Dube files for variance to convert garage to single family residence on Maplecroft property.|
|June 7, 2004||FR Herald News reports 92 Second Street purchased by Donald Woods of Portsmouth, RI.; says he will tear down “Leary Press”, increase parking & rebuild the barn.|
|June, 2008||Lizzie Borden Took an Axe, or Did She? – A Rhetorical Inquiry by Annette Holba is published.|
|June, 2008||Leonard Pickel announces he will open a Lizzie Borden Gift Shop & “Museum” in Salem, MA.|
Occasionally, some of your visitors may see an advertisement here,
as well as a Privacy & Cookies banner at the bottom of the page.
You can hide ads completely by upgrading to one of our paid plans.
(I originally wrote this post back in 2010)
He was a noted librarian and prolific writer on true crime. In 1924 he began a correspondence with Frank W. Knowlton, son of Hosea Knowlton, the district attorney who prosecuted Lizzie Borden in her 1893 trial. Known as the “Knowlton-Pearson Correspondence” it is a remarkable assemblage – rich in content it clearly shows the eagerness with which Frank accommodated Edmund’s request. They were contemporaries, and Frank provided the author with “open sesame” to Lizzie’s contemporaries and others still living who knew her and/or were involved in the case. Pearson had access to all of Hosea Knowlton’s papers on the case, and also the preliminary hearing and Trial transcript. (Knowlton was unsuccessful, however, in tracking down Bridget Sullivan’s inquest testimony – a document still missing after all these decades).
In any event, Pearson’s investigative research resulted in Studies in Murder, first published in 1924, three years before Lizzie’s death. The book was a series of essays on notable cases, the first and expanded essay was on the Borden case. This would be the first of many writings in subsequent books by Pearson on Fall River’s most notorious citizen. But this first book was published while Lizzie still lived.
It is fairly certain that Lizzie Borden had read the very first book on the case published in 1893: Fall River Tragedy by Edward H. Porter. I think it further fairly certain she had read Studies in Murder. In the twilight of her years she was at least relieved of the awful annual editorials in the Fall River Globe commemorating the infamous crimes with their consistent innuendos that she had gotten away with the double murders.
Her life had been lived quietly and with the refinement and deportment that were her hallmarks of character. Her closest associates were her servants and a few loyal friends and relatives. But now came this publication. It must have been the talk of the town when it came out. Knowledge of Pearson’s meetings and inquiries with Lizzie’s contemporaries had proceeded the book itself, and those that assisted Pearson must have discussed it with their own associates. Perhaps it had been talked about in hushed circles long before its publication and perhaps Lizzie had heard as well through reports of who was talking to whom. The long essay left no doubt in the minds of the reader that the deed must have been done by Lizzie and only Lizzie.
Think for a moment how this must have affected her. Guilty or innocent, it must have been a devastating event to have this book circulating in Fall River, the region and all over the country, stirring up painful memories of a horrible time while also serving to provide interest to a whole new generation. Lizzie had been described as nervous and depressed, unhappy with her decision to have lived all the rest of her life in Fall River – and now, this.
Could the book have hastened her demise? Stress, nervous anxiety, depression. Lizzie had always wanted to be accepted by her peers. She lived her life kind to others and animals, generously giving and always thoughtful of the needs of others. And now, this. It must have played upon her mind and heart, a heart already long burdened and weakened by worry. Not long after the book’s success and wide readership, Lizzie would be hospitalized for gall bladder surgery and never fully recover.
Knowlton, Hosea M., white, b. May 1847, 53 yr., b. Maine
Sylvia B. Wife, Jan. 1850, b. Mass.
John W. son, March 1874, 26 b. Mass.
Abby A. dau, mar. 1876, 24, mass.
Frank W., son Aug 1878, 22, Mass.
Edward A., son April 1883, 17, b. mas.
Helen S., dau. Aug. 1884, 14, b. mass.
Sylvia P, dau. may 1890, 10, Mass.
Benjamin H., son, Jun 1892, 8 yr, b. mass.
SYLVIA BASSETT, b. New Bedford, MA, 20 Jan 1852; d. Watertown, MA, 31 Mar 1937; m. New Bedford, 22 May 1873, HOSEA MORRILL KNOWLTON, b. Durham, ME, 20 May 1847; d. Marion, MA, 18 Dec 1902; son of Isaac Case and Mary Smith (Wellington) Knowlton.
Their children, all born in New Bedford were:
The younger siblings were:
Helen Sophia Knowlton; August 1, 1885
August I. Knowlton;
Sylvia Prescott Knowlton born Ma7 29, 1890
Benjamin Almy Knowlton born June 13, 1892
Attorney General Herbert Parker is not only included in this correspondence but was also one of Pearson’s primary sources for his last essay in his book, Studies in Murder, titled “The Hunting Knife” concerning Mabel Page.
Frank Warren Knowlton, Jr. donated his grandfather’s papers to the Fall River Historical Society in 1989. (He died in October 11, 2002).
Here’s an awesome article in the Fall River Herald News with lots of new photos.
Also take note of the short video showing Manager, Ryan Woods. Click HERE
You won’t find short cuts on expenditures here – but that is the way of owner Donald Woods. He has spared no expense in his updates and maintenance to the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum either. And THAT prime Fall River tourist attraction has been exceptionally well managed for the past 14 years by Lee-ann Wilber.
The two Maple trees removed mentioned in the article create more enhanced spring and summer site lines for the easterly neighbors who remain vigilantly perched to criticize and spread misinformation.
Some photos have been shown before but click through them anyway. A feast to the eyes..