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Category Archives: Fall River

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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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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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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Cara Robertson Donates Historical Document to Fall River Historical Society

 

 

As a follow-up to my previous post, here is the final disposition of those two documents.  THANK YOU, Cara, for ensuring they were secured for the Fall River Historical Society.

You can read about it HERE.

 

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LIZZIE BORDEN POWER OF ATTORNEY ON AUCTION BLOCK

 

Break open your piggy bank.  LOL!

Click HERE.

Also to be auctioned, same day, same auction house, is a document signed by Emma Borden settling her 1/2 share of the 1917 sale of the Second Street home.

 

“We Love You, Lizzie – Oh, Yes We Do!”

(Originally posted in 2006)

(Think “We Love You, Conrad” from the movie Bye Bye Birdie.)

There was a great deal of sympathy and support for Lizzie Borden from the time of the murders to the time of her Trial – particularly during the time she was incarcerated at the ivy-covered Taunton Jail until June 3, 1893, when she was transfered to the New Bedford Jail.

While at the Taunton Jail, she gained sympathy from the “sob sister” style reporting of her jailhouse interview with Mrs. McGuire which appeared in print on September 20, 1892. In that interview Lizzie tells her of the flood of letters she has received from kind supporters. (Where ARE they? And who has any she may have written back to?)

Then on October 10th, the “Trickey-McHenry” journalistic fiasco by the Boston Globe so promptly retracted with apologies to Lizzie (and John Morse) garnered her more of the “that poor girl” image.

The papers reported the Government had a weak case but the critical revelation of the dress burning incident told by Alice Russell when the Grand Jury reconvened on December 1, 1893, was not published.

By April 1st, 1893, Lizzie was already a popular icon regardless of one’s belief in her guilt or innocence. Her popularity was evidenced by her name receiving the most write-ins for the below contest. The contest was for 5 tickets to the Chicago World’s Fair in 5 specific categories: (1) School Teacher, (2) Policeman, Letter Carrier or Fireman, (3) Mechanic or Gentleman Clerk, (4) Mill Hand, and (5) Lady Clerk – all to be residents of New Bedford. One simply had to cut out the coupon and write the name of the person they felt the most popular and designate which occupation.

Lizzie, a Fall River resident, won hands down for most popular “School Teacher”. Lizzie courteously rejected hers suggesting it be given to another, as it was. (It is believed, however, Lizzie subsequently attended the Columbian Exhibition towards its end run after her acquittal.)

How Lizzie must have relished in the glow of all this popularity. She had never been popular in school and so much wanted to be accepted among her peers. She played her “awful confinement” to the hilt.

Then, exactly one month later, on May 1st, 1893, there was the trumpeting of an “outraged” Mary Livermore at the police for their abuse and sheer adacity to even suspect this virginal Sunday school teacher who was the younger daughter of her long deceased friend, Sarah Morse Borden. And in this same article (below) we learn that even Emma received many letters of sympathy and support.

Lizzie’s Trial would begin on June 5th. She was still perceived as a victim. Her Inquest Testimony was disallowed. Her attempt to buy prussic acid was disallowed. She was acquitted. She was loved. “We love you, Lizzie Borden.”

Well, maybe not so much later.

By the way, just WHERE ARE all those letters Emma and Lizzie received, let alone those constituting their responses if they did correspond back? Emma, I would think, would have disposed of them. They certainly haven’t surfaced in the personal possessions she left Orrin Gardner. Lizzie, on the other hand, may have kept hers. If she did keep them, I have an idea where they might be. She was odd like that. For example, she had no fondness for Abby but she held on to that silver cup Abby gave her all her life.

I think Lizzie would have held on to the mementos that validated her popularity or when she felt loved.

So….

altogether now: “We Love You, Lizzie – Oh, Yes We Do!”

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New Books on Lizzie Borden Coming This Summer

Coming this summer – new books on Lizzie!  We recently had Christine Verstraete’s Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, and Rebecca Pittman’s The History and Haunting of Lizzie Borden.     The former is fiction horror and the latter is non-fiction.  Christine’s book has been well received and highly praised in reviews by those of its genre, and Rebecca’s book reflects a rare discipline to combine in-depth research with a totally captivating narrative.

But now we will be treated with a few more before the end of the year and I point out the two below worthy of attention.

Sarah Schmidt’s See What I Have Done is a gothic thriller described below.

                                                                                                      Sarah Schmidt

From the May 12, 2017 Critical Eye book reviews in The Guardian:

“Sarah Schmidt’s debut novel See What I Have Done takes a new look at the case of Lizzie Borden, who in 1892 was charged with the brutal murders of her father and stepmother. “A disquieting read,” wrote Antonia Senior in the Times. “There is an ambiguity here that reflects the endless, unanswerable speculation about what really happened that day. This open-endedness will irritate some readers; I loved it.” Jake Kerridge in the Sunday Express found it “dignified and sensual, as though Henry James had decided to tell the tale.  There are multiple well-characterised narrators and a dreamlike quality to the prose that enhances rather than detracts from the horror at the heart of the story.” For the Observer’s Hannah Beckerman, “Schmidt’s portrayal of Lizzie is haunting and complex, a deeply psychological portrait that forces the reader to question their preconceptions about what women are capable of – for better and worse. Both disturbing and gripping, it is an outstanding debut novel about love, death and the lifelong repercussions of unresolved grief.”

Another book to watch for is from an excellent writer who is to be commended for her equally excellent research abilities, Erika Mailman’s The Murderer’s Maid.  Here’s the cover art for that book.

                                                                   Erika Mailman

Erika has written several books:

Check out her website HERE. 

 

 

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