Category Archives: lizzie borden
Who knows what this is?
It is still inside the closet in “Bridget Sullivan’s bedroom” at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum.
Tim Weisberg‘s Spooky Southcoast podcast episode entitled: “The Real Lizzie Borden” was broadcast shortly after the publishing of Parallel Lives. The featured guests on that episode were Michael Martins and Dennis Binette (curator and assistant curator of the Fall River Historical Society). They help identify just what this is.
Advance to 46.10 to the relevant call in.
The Fall River Historical Society has just premiered their long awaited re-constructed website and it’s a stunner! Of course the menu tab has “Lizzie Borden” but contained therein will be found thrilling to Borden case researchers.
The curating and organization are exemplary. Outstanding all around.
Here’s a photo sampling from the various “Collections”. I’m not going to explain what they are or who they are because if you are reading this you need to go to the site and emerge yourself. Here’s the LINK.
Mrs. George S. Brigham was an intimate friend, confidante, and staunch supporter of both Emma and Lizzie Borden and, as such, figured prominently in events following the Borden murders. She remained a lifelong friend of Emma Borden, but severed ties with Lizzie subsequent to the Borden sisters’ estrangement in 1905. Privy to a great deal of personal information pertaining to the Borden sisters, she decisively refused to discuss, either publicly or privately, her friendship with the two women, or her involvement in the case.” -from the FRHS website – Lizzie Borden Collections – The Brigham Collection
Unlike certain TV documentaries, this one has an expanded cast including Uncle John Morse and Nance O’Neil – real life characters. This “Spindle City.…” musical takes into account the mill workers – something most often ignored in prior plays and T.V. documentaries on the case itself. This is the second musical I’ve heard, the first being “LIzzie Borden the Rock Musical” which has enjoyed a good measure of success.
Uncle John Morse
Judging by this casting call, artistic license once again will run rampant. As with so many TV depictions of the case, there are many fictional characters However, I’m looking forward to the singing and dancing. It is, after all, a musical – – not some 10 part PBS Documentary by Ken Burns or a major theatrical release directed by Martin Scorcese. (sigh)
I’ve been to the Secret Rose Theater in North Hollywood before. Its very small. Can’t imagine the dancing on that small stage but we’ll see. Maybe they go into the audience.
I still maintain that the VERY BEST PLAY on Lizzie Borden is “Lizzie Borden Took An Axe” by Garrett A. Heater, which premiered at the Covey Theate Company in Syracuse, NY, played at BMC Durfee H.S., and continues to be produced in New England. But that was a drama with age appropriate actors.
Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock continues to be the most produced of all Borden-related plays.
I’ll write a review in after seeing Katrina Wood’s production.
Meanwhile, I await Rebecca Pittman’s new book.
(RECYCLED POST from July 2014)
Lizzie’s motivation and the trigger to the murders can be found here. As the August 4th date approaches and all things Lizzie resurface and regurgitate, you may enjoy using this source as a focal point and research reference.
July 10, 1892 Morse again visits Bordens. AJB asks Morse if he knows of man to run Swansea farm. (CI 96)
July 11, 1892 Union laborers in Fall River celebrate new 58-hour workweek with giant parade.
July 18, 1892 Emma and Lizzie deed back house on Ferry Street to Andrew and receive $2,500 each. (LR556)
July 19, 1892 Lizzie’s 32nd Birthday.
July 20, 1892 Grover Cleveland passes thru FR enroute to NYC for Democratic Convention. (VVII-326)
July 20, 1892 Lizzie supposedly sees a stranger at the back door when she returns from being out that evening.
July 21, 1892 Lizzie & Emma leave Fall River; Emma stopping at Fairhaven to visit the Brownell’s.
July 21, 1892 Lizzie travels to New Bedford, staying with Mrs. Poole and her daughter at 20 Madison Street.
July 23, 1892 Lizzie went on street alone (New Bedford) to buy some dress goods (gone from rooming house 30 minutes). (WS31)
July 25, 1892 AJB writes letter to Morse to wait about getting a man to run his farm. (CI98)
July 25, 1892 Lizzie visits the girls at Marion at Dr. Handy’s cottage.
July 26, 1892 Lizzie, Mrs. Poole & Mrs. Poole’s daughter ride to Westport to visit Mrs. Cyrus Tripp (old schoolmate).
July 26, 1892 Lizzie takes train from Westport to New Bedford to connect with Fall River.
July 30, 1892 Fall River Board of Health reports 90 deaths due to extreme heat, 65 are children under age 5. (VVII-331)
July 31, 1892 Bridget prepares first serving of the infamous mutton.
August 2, 1892 Andrews tells associate there is “trouble” in the Borden household.
August 2, 1892 Swordfish is served for supper and served again warmed over for dinner.
August 2, 1892 Andrew and Abby vomit during the night.
August 3, 1892
THE DAY BEFORE THE MURDERS
8:00 am Abby goes across street to Dr. Bowen; tells him she fears she’s been poisoned.
Dr. Bowen crosses street to check on the Bordens; Lizzie dashes upstairs; Andrew rebuffs his unsolicited visit.
10:00-11:30 am Lizzie attempts to buy prussic acid from Eli Bence at Smith’s pharmacy on Columbia Street. (PH310)
12:00 Noon Lizzie joins Andrew and Abby for the noontime meal in the dining room.
12:35 am Uncle John Vinnicum Morse leaves by train from New Bedford for Fall River. (CI98)
1:30 pm John Morse walks from train station & arrives at Borden house; Bridget lets him in front door.
2:00-4:00 pm John Morse and Andrew talk in Sitting Room; Lizzie hears their conversation. (TT141)
4:00 pm John Morse hires horse and wagon at Kirby’s Stable and drives to Swansea in late afternoon. (CI 99)
7:00 pm Lizzie visits Alice Russell in the early evening, states her fear “something will happen”.
8:45 pm Morse returns from Swansea, talks in sitting room with Andrew and Abby. (CI99)
9:00 pm Lizzie returns from Alice Russell’s and goes upstairs to her room without speaking to father or uncle.
9:15 pm Abby Borden retires to bed.
10:00 pm Andrew and Morse retire to bed. (CI 00)
August 4, 1892
THE DAY OF THE MURDERS
(Note: Times given are based on various testimonies taken primarily from the Preliminary Hearing held August 25-September 1st, 1892, and are approximated as close as possible).
6:15 am Bridget goes downstairs, gets coal and wood in cellar to start fire in kitchen stove, and takes in milk.
6:20 am Morse goes downstairs to Sitting Room.
6:30 am Abby comes downstairs, gives orders for breakfast to Bridget
6:40-6:50 am Andrew goes downstairs, empties slops, picks up pears and goes to barn.
6:45 am Bridget opens side (back) door for iceman.
7:00 am Bordens and Morse have breakfast in Dining Room. (Lizzie is still upstairs).
7:15 am Bridget sees Morse for first time at breakfast table.
7:30 am Bridget eats her breakfast, and then clears dishes.
7:45-8:45 Morse and Andrew talk in Sitting Room; Abby sits with them a short while8:30 am Morse sees Abby go into the front hall.
8:45 am Andrew lets Morse out side door, invites him back for dinner.
8:45 am Morse leaves for Post Office and then to visit niece at Daniel Emery’s #4 Weybosset Street.
8:45-9:00 am Andrew goes back upstairs and returns wearing collar and tie, goes to sitting room
8:45-9:00 am Abby tells Bridget to wash windows, inside and out.
8:45-8:50 am Lizzie comes down and enters kitchen
8:45-9:00 am Bridget goes outside to vomit.
9:00 am Andrew leaves the house.
9:00 am Bridget returns, does not see Lizzie, sees Abby dusting in dining room, does not see Andrew.
9:00 am Abby goes up to guest room.
9:00-9:30 am Bridget cleans away breakfast dishes in kitchen.
9:00-10:00 am Abby Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
9:30 am Abraham G. Hart, Treasurer of Union Savings Bank, talks to Andrew at Bank.
9:30 am Morse arrives at #4 Weybosset Street to visit his niece and nephew.
9:30 am Bridget gets brush from cellar for washing windows
9:30 am Lizzie appears at back door as Bridget goes towards barn; Bridget tells Lizzie she need not lock door.
9:30-10:05 Andrew visits banks.
9:45 am John P. Burrill, Cashier, talks to Andrew at National Union Bank.
9:40 am Morse arrives at the Emery’s on Weybosset Street.
9:55 am Everett Cook talks to Andrew at First National Bank.
9:30-10:20 am Bridget washes outside windows, stops to talk to “Kelly girl” at south side fence.
10:00-10:30 am Mrs. Churchill sees Bridget outside washing NE windows.
10:20 am Bridget re-enters house from side door, commences to wash inside windows.
10:29 am Jonathan Clegg (fixed time by City Hall clock) stated Andrew left his shop heading home. (TT173)
10:15-10:30 am Andrew stops to talk to Jonathan Clegg, picks up old lock; Southard Miller (at Whitehead’s Market) sees AJB turn onto Spring St; Mary Gallagher sees AJB at corner of South Main & Spring; Lizzie Gray sees AJB turning north on Second Street. (WS10, 43)
10:30-10:40 am Joseph Shortsleeves sees Andrew.
10:40 am James Mather sees Andrew leave shop (fixes time by City Hall clock)
10:30-10:40 am Mrs. Kelly observes Andrew going to his front door.
10:30-10:40 am Andrew Borden can’t get in side door, fumbles with key at front door, and let in by Bridget
10:30-10:40 am Bridget hears Lizzie laugh on the stairs as she says “pshaw” fumbling with inside triple locks.
10:45 am Mary Chase, residing over Wade’s store, sees man on Borden fence taking pears. (WS45)
10:35-10:45 am Bridget sees Lizzie go into Dining Room and speak “low” to her father.
10:35-10:45 am Andrew goes upstairs to his bedroom and returns in a few minutes, going to Sitting Room sofa.
10:45 am Mary Chase, residing over Wade’s store, sees man on Borden fence taking pears. (WS45)
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie puts ironing board on dining room table as Bridget finishes last window in the dining room
10:45-10:55 am Lizzie asks Bridget in kitchen if she’s going out, tells her of note to Abby & sale at Sargeants.
10:50-10:55 Mark Chase observes man with open buggy parked just beyond tree in front of Borden house.
10:55–10:58 am Bridget goes up to her room in attic and lies down on her bed. (WS3)
10:55-11:10 am Andrew Borden dies from blows to the head with a sharp instrument.
11:00 am Addie Churchill leaves her house for Hudner’s grocery store on South Main. (WS8)
11:00 am Bridget hears City Hall clock chime 11:00.
11:05-11:10 am Hyman Lubinsky drives his horse cart past the Borden house. (TT1423)
11:10 am Lizzie hollers to Bridget to come down, “Someone has killed father”. (TT244)
11:10-11:12 am Lizzie sends Bridget to get Dr. Bowen. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Bridget rushes back across the street from Bowen’s, tells Lizzie he’s not at home. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Lizzie asks Bridget if she knows where Alice Russell lives and tells her to go get her. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Bridget grabs her hat & shawl from kitchen entry way and rushes to Alice Russell’s. (TT245)
11:10-11:13 am Mrs. Churchill observes Bridget crossing street, notices a distressed Lizzie and calls out. (PH281-282)
11:10-11:14 am Mrs. Churchill to side door, speaks briefly, and then crosses street looking for a doctor. (PH283)
11:12-11:14 am John Cunningham sees Mrs. Churchill talking to others then uses phone ay Gorman’s paint shop to call Police.
11:15 am Marshall Hilliard receives call from news dealer Cunningham about disturbance at Borden house.
11:15 am Marshall Hilliard orders Officer Allen to go to Borden house. (Allen notes exact time on office wall clock).
11:16 – 11:20 am Mrs. Churchill returns from giving the alarm. (PH284)
11:16 – 11:20 am Dr. Bowen pulls up in his carriage, met by his wife, rushes over to Borden’s. (PH 273)
11:16-11:20 am John Cunningham checks outside cellar door in Borden back yard, finds it locked.
11:18-11:20 am Dr. Bowen arrives at Borden house, sees Andrew, asks for sheet; alone with Lizzie for approx. one minute.
11:20 am Office Allen arrives at Bordens, met at door by Dr. Bowen. Sees Lizzie sitting alone at kitchen table.
11:20–11:21 am Allen sees Andrews’s body at same time Alice Russell and Mrs. Churchill come in. (Where was Bridget?)
11:20-11:22 am Allen checks front door and notes it bolted from inside, checks closets in dining room and kitchen.
11:20 am Morse departs Daniel Emery’s on Weybosset Street, takes a streetcar back to the Borden’s.
11-22-11:23 am Officer Allen leaves house to return to station, Bowen goes out with him. Allen has Sawyer guard back door.
11:23-11:33 am Dr. Bowen returns home, checks rail timetable, goes to telegram Emma, and stops at Baker’s Drug store.
Telegram is time stamped at 11:32. (PH274)
11:25 am Off. Patrick Doherty, at Bedford & Second, notes City Hall clock time enroute to Station. (T589)
11:23-11:30 am Lizzie asks to check for Mrs. Borden; Bridget & Mrs. Churchill go upstairs, discover body. (PH29-30)
11:40 am Bowen returns to Borden house. Churchill tells him they’ve discovered Abby upstairs. (TT322)
11:34 am Bridget fetches Doctor Bowen’s wife, Phoebe. (T250)
11:35-11:40 am Officer Patrick Doherty & Deputy Sheriff Wixon arrive at house, see Manning sitting on steps, met at back
door by Dr. Bowen, who lets them in. (T447)
11:35-11:40 am Francis Wixon and Dr. Bowen check Andrew’s pockets and remove watch.
11:35-11:40 Officer Doherty questions Lizzie who tells him she heard a “scraping” noise.
11:35-11:40 am Officer Doherty views Abby’s body with Dr. Bowen, pulls bed out to view her better. (PH330)
11:35-11:45 am Morse arrives at Borden house, first going to back yard.
11:37 am Officer Mullaly arrives.
11:39-11:40 am Officer Medley arrives at 92 Second Street. (T686)
11:42 am Doherty moves bed out 3 feet to view Mrs. Borden. (PH330)
11:44 am Doherty runs to Undertaker Gorman’s shop around corner and phones Marshall Hilliard. (PH331)
11:45 am Doherty returns; Officers Mullaly. Allen, Denny, and Mr. Medley arrive
11:45 am Dr. Dolan arrives, sees bodies.
11:45 am Morse talks to Sawyer at side door, later testifies he heard of murders from Bridget.
11:45-11:50 am Morse sees Andrew’s body, then goes upstairs and sees Abby’s body.
11:50 am Morse speaks to Lizzie as she lays on lounge in dining room.
11:50 am Asst. Marshall Fleet arrives; sees bodies; talks to Lizzie in her room w/Rev. Buck, says “…she’s not my mother, she’s my stepmother” (PH354)
11:50 am Morse goes out to back yard and stays outside most of the afternoon.
11:50 am –Noon Deputy Sheriff Wixon climbs back fence and talks to workmen sawing wood in Chagnon yard. (TT452)
11:50-Noon Doherty, Fleet and Medley accompany Bridget to cellar where she shows them hatchet in box on shelf.
12:15-12:20 am Officer Harrington arrives at the Borden house. (WS6)
12:25 am Officer Harrington interviews Lizzie in her bedroom (she wears pink wrapper). (WS6)
12:45 am Marshall Hillliard & Officers Doherty & Connors drive carriage to Andrew’s upper farm in Swansea.
3:30 pm Crime scene photographs are taken of Andrew & Abby.
3:40 pm Emma leaves on New Bedford train for Weir Junction to return to Fall River. (CI107)
4:00 pm Stomachs of Andrew and Abby removed and sealed.
5:00 pm Emma returns from Fairhaven and arrives at the Borden house. (TT1550)
5:00-5:30 pm State Detective George F. Seaver arrives from Taunton. (PH453)
5:30 pm Dr. Dolan “delivers” bodies of Andrew and Abby to Undertaker James Winward. (PH388)
6:00 pm Alice leaves 92 Second Street to return home for supper. (CI149)
8:45 pm Officer Joseph Hyde, observing from a northwest outside window, sees Lizzie & Alice go down cellar.
ASPI, II, III = The Phillips History of Fall River
AB = Arnold Brown
Beasley = David Beasley, McKee Rankin & Heyday of American Theatre
CI = Coroner’s Inquest
D-C = The Democrat & Chronicle Newspaper
DK = David Kent, Forty Whacks
ER = Edward Radin
ES = The Evening Standard (New Bedford)
Fenner = History of Fall River
FREN = Fall River Evening News
FRHN = Fall River Herald News
FRI = A Fall River Incident
KP = Knowlton Papers
KPC = Knowlton-Pearson Correspondence
LR = Leonard Rebello, Lizzie Borden Past and Present
NYT = New York Times
PH = Preliminary Hearing
TT = Superior Court Trial Transcript
VL = Victoria Lincoln, A Private Disgrace
VVI = Victorian Vistas, Volume I
VVII = Victorian Vistas, Volume II
VVIII = Victorian Vistas, Volume III
WP = Washington Post
WS = Witness Statements
RECYCLED POST FROM FEBRUARY, 2014 – DVD’S STILL AVAILABLE.
Nance O’Neil (October 8, 1874 – February 7, 1965) was an American actress of stage and cinema of the early 20th century.
She transitioned successfully from the theatre to silent movies and on to sound movies into the early 1930’s.
Nance O’Neil was associated with Lizzie Borden from 1904-1905, and it is often asserted or speculated they were lovers although no credible evidence of any sort has ever surfaced to validate that claim.
The years 1930 and 1931 were very productive film years for Miss O’Neil. She worked with some very well known, even legendary, actors, such as Barbara Stanwyck, Basil Rathbone, Anita Louise, Zasu Pitts and Edgar Kennedy. She also acted with a young Lawrence Olivier in Westward Passage, one of her last films made in 1932.
It was quite unusual for a Broadway tragedienne of the early 1900’s to have such a long career in transitioning to movies. O’Neil must have had a terrific agent or good connections. Or perhaps, because she had been such a big star on the stage, producers thought her name would be an added draw to audiences.
I am offering here three films of Nance O’Neil from the 1930’s on DVD:
The Secret Service (1931) with Richard Dix. I just loved this movie. It holds up after 80 years! Think of Richard Dix as Agent 007. Nance plays his mother in this exciting film full of dramatic tension and surprises! Easy to see why Dix was such a popular actor aside from his Westerns.
Ladies or Leisure (1930) directed by Frank Capra is a wonderfully engrossing drama starring Barbara Stanwyck. Jerry Strong (Ralph Graves, Submarine) is the wealthy son of stuffy but permissive parents who allow Jerry to follow his ambition to be a painter. When he hires party girl Kay Arnold (Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity) to be a model for one of his paintings, the two fall in love despite their obvious differences. But eventually, class distinctions push Kay away back toward her old life, one just shy of prostitution. Directed by Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), LADIES OF LEISURE was also one of Stanwyck’s first roles and the one that made her a star. Newly remastered.
Nance O’Neil plays the mother of Jerry Strong and has some terrific scenes with super closeups. In one she trys to convince “Kay” to let go of her love for the betterment of his life. It is quite touching and highly dramatic. One can easily see O’Neil’s acting chops in this film.
Both Stanwyck and O’Neil have been perceived as lesbians. It’s true Stanwyck had an abortion at 15, married two times. Her second husband, actor Robert Taylor, was also rumored to be Gay. That marriage was arranged by Louis B. Mayor of MGM when both were stars there.
In what seemed like an inappropriate “thank you dear for seeing my point” kiss, Nance plants one smack on Barbara’s lips. It almost looked like it to Babs unexpectedly, and she gently seems to push O’Neil back.
As a loves story, this movie holds up, not corny at all.
Floradora Girl has a similar theme as Ladies of Leisure only this time the girl wants to get rich. Here again, O’Neil plays the wise woman to set the girl on the moral high ground. This movie stars Marion Davies and was produced through her film company established by William Randolph Hearst to showcase her stardom. Perhaps O’Neil met the august Hearst during this time.
Yep, the 1890’s and early 1900’s were the American Theater’s heyday, and the 1930’s were Hollywood’s Golden Years. And Nance O’Neil rode the crest of the former and was still afloat for the latter.
EACH IS $20.00 OR $45.00 FOR ALL THREE! IF INTERESTED, EMAIL ME AT:
POSTAGE WILL DEPEND UPON LOCATION AND BUYER’S PREFERENCE FOR DELIVERY.