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Chloe Sevigny Interview on Lizzie Borden

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.

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Maplecroft Update: Updated Details & Code Requirements

 

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

and 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..

 

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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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It’s Lizzie Borden’s Hair Again – This Time Being Sold on eBay

UPDATE: Some fool paid $260! http://www.ebay.com/itm/291990475406?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

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Well, it’s been nearly 8 years but the scam has surfaced again – this time on eBay. 

Before you get too excited take note I was contacted via an email from one “Robert S——” on May 15, 2009, looking to sell the very same thing as evidenced below:

From: Robert S——
Sent: Friday, May 15, 2009 6:50 AM
To: Faye Musselman
Subject: Emma Borden Letter

Greetings from Baltimore.   I have a purported Emma Borden letter.  I am wondering if I sent you a scan of it, if you could just see  if it looks like it is real.  Nothing official, just an off the record opinion.  Thank you for your time.  Regards,

Robert S——

I replied and we communicated further – and I did a little investigation on this which supported my immediate skepticism.  Read all about here in this blog posting I did at the time.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Collectibles, Just for Laughs

 

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If You Could Have Only One Book on Fall River’s Lizzie Borden – This Would Be It.

Click HERE

 

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Prepare yourself – – this book is justly warranted, as well as worthy, of such a lengthy review.

Exquisitely produced, brilliantly structured, thrilling and groundbreaking in its content, Parallel Lives – A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River is a seven pound, 1,179 page, ten-years- in-the-making epic that had it been written as a historical novel it would be right up there with Roots, The Secret Magdelene, and Gone With The Wind. It is a book of transformation and revelation – transforming in the way it compels readers to alter their mental landscape when thinking of Lizzie Borden, and filled with stunning revelations that meticulously dissect rumors and legend long thought to be truth. It is so rich and full it would constitute several Master’s Thesis, multiple biographies, and even a few individually published books based on its title. Indeed, it is so spectacular in scope and content, all future authors who write of Lizzie Borden must incorporate information from Parallel Lives or find their work irrelevant.

The book is a treasure trove of new information about Lizzie taken from the journals, letters, cards, photographs, artifacts and remembrances of those that knew her personally, much of which was coveted by their owners who were resolved in their belief that Lizzie “could not have committed those crimes.” Their beliefs and tangible mementos were passed down to third and fourth generation descendents who continued to keep them sequestered and private until trusted relationships were established between them and the authors.

Masterfully woven within the new information are expanded stories of known individuals and events (some prominent, some little or previously unknown) that had an impact on Fall River’s history and society.  The authors have beautifully crafted the world in which Lizzie Borden lived (from her birth in 1860 to her death in 1927). And while the crimes of August 4, 1892 are presented, allusions to or fresh insights on whether or not Lizzie was guilty are not presented. In fact, the murders and who did them become almost inconsequential to the broader tapestry presented throughout the chapters with its more than 500 photographs and other images, including 5 new images of Lizzie never seen before. Who committed the crimes or the case itself, are overshadowed by the depth and breadth of all that which deals with the people and stories within.

The book progresses almost chronologically in terms of events of each decade. People are often introduced in chapters with no mention of Lizzie but later re-introduced in the decade in which they factored into her life. The chapters are so beautifully written and the photographs so beautifully reproduced within the book that we can almost feel the silk and lace as we read their wonderfully detailed descriptions. We can rub our finger across the image of a pocket watch and feel the grooved indentations, or one of Lizzie’s traveling suitcases and feel the contrast of the brass to the leather. We can smell and see the wedding flowers and the sparkle of jewelry at the Assemblies and grand parties. The meticulous effort in the use of adjectives is remarkable. It is fairly obvious the authors wanted to be as accurate and precise as possible when applying descriptors to people, places and things.

The “reveals” of new information and closure of legends are bountiful and thoroughly engaging. We learn so much of Mary Ella Sheen (Mrs. George S. Brigham) and her sister, Anne Eliza Sheen (Mrs. William Lindsey, Jr.), two sisters whose lives took very different trajectories. Mary was Lizzie’s friend since girlhood and the future mother-in-law of Florence Cook Brigham, but Anne had been her friend as well for most of their lives. Anne was a “Grand Dame” and lived the kind of life that Lizzie most probably would have wanted for herself. We also learn that not only was Grace Hartley Howe such a close and devoted second cousin to Lizzie, we discover that Helen’s mother had a friendship that also was life lasting with Lizzie.The reveal of the true identity of “Todd Lunday” would have been anticlimactic had it not been for the intriguing story associated with it, or the story of Officer Phillip Harrington and police reporter Edwin Porter who penned the Fall River Tragedy and why Porter may have left Fall River so soon after its publication. Nor have we read anywhere the connection of reporter McHenry and City Marshall Hilliard. (I suspect that many “reveals” were derived from the so called “Hilliard Papers” which have been in the Society’s hands for 22 years).

We learn certain elitist members of the seven “first” families did a fine job in two-facing Lizzie after the Trial; they “cut” her quite severely and most obviously spoke of her “guilt”- handing down their opinions to their children who maintained those opinions and passed them down to their children. On the other hand, those that kept friendships and believed Lizzie was not and “could not” be guilty passed that info down to their children. The difference was that many of those who believed in her guilt spoke out, influenced by a biased press and the embryonic beginnings of misinformation that would grow with a sinister sustainability. Between those that “cut” (socially banished) her and the relentless and continuous newspaper coverage, the damage had been done. She endured that damage throughout her post-Trial life, and it subsequently served to give us a Lizzie Borden that is so grossly mis-characterized in contemporary pop culture.

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Mr. Martins and Mr. Binette have stated it was only when they explained the kind of book they were writing and, more importantly, after a solid basis of trust was established, that the possessions and remembrances were revealed. I strongly suspect much of what may have been was done so with soft-spoken caveats or perhaps some asserted caveats along the lines of:“Well, you may use these journals (or photos, or letters, or cards, or remembrances) but I trust you will present Auntie Borden (or Lizzie) in a good light because she never could have done those murders.”And/or:”I would consider it a great injustice to finally make this information known if it were used to give a poor impression of this wonderful woman or lend any credibility to the horrible reputation she endured during and after her life.”For decades, the curators of the FRHS have been meticulous in documenting the “drop in” visits or phone calls from people – many descendents of the principals – as to what they had to say and when. These “notes to file”, so to speak, have been preserved in their respective file folders and filed with the relative topics. These contain more of the “reveals”, some as surprising as finding out JR getting shot was only a dream, or Scarlett realizing she loved Rhett all along, or Edward glistening out of the cloud bank. As stated, the revelations are thrilling and and transforming.

The authors were literary craftsmen in the way they told these stories, presenting the information from the journals or letters, and in detailing information about the people involved without trumpeting a new path but sufficient to give you pause. The book is peppered with phrases such as: “Is it possible that…”, or “Although we can never know for certain, could it be that…”, or “Would it seem likely that…” and we pause on the page and hearing ourselves utter “hmmmm” and suddenly realize we are thinking things differently.

The End Notes are extraordinary and I found them thrilling to read. When reading, one says: “Where did they get that from?” and we go to the End Notes which are flush with information. Our eyes don’t just stay on the sight bite but naturally scroll downward until we know where most all the information for that chapter came from. The End Notes tell us more about relationships and just who had what information and for how long. The End Notes help us identify what came from FRHS “notes to file” as opposed to who held on to what for decades and allows us to identify from where the bulk of new information came.

Lizzie Borden has long been encapsulated in pop culture based on an inaccurate quatrain characterizing her as a one dimensional psychopath wielding a bloody axe. Parallel Lives has irrevocably transformed and revealed Lizzie Borden to be a three dimensional flesh and blood human being with heart, spirit and soul. Indisputably, this is the new “go to” book which researches and scholars studying the history of Fall River during its rise and decline, as well as the woman herself, will discover impossible to find anything more definitive or comprehensive, more exciting or enlightening.

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Parallel Lives is a monumental achievement and a body of work to make the entire Fall River Historical Society proud. It is representative of that level of excellence consistent in all endeavors of Messrs. Martins and Binette. It is truly a remarkable and unique work – the likes of which we shall not see again.

 
 

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Lizzie Borden in Hawaii

I decided to take Lizzie Borden with me to Hawaii this year.  Aside from bringing the most inappropriate clothing and a few surprising missteps in behavior, she was a most agreeable travel companion.

I usually stay on the more touristy side of the Big Island, Kona, but this year opted for Hilo – the only place in the entire State that is still representative of old time Hawaii.

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DSCN6421From the balcony of our hotel room we had a view of the cruise ships harbored in the distance.

Lizzie so enjoyed watching them sailing in and out and told me of her voyage on the Grand Tour in 1890.DSCN6657

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DSCN6685  I was surprised at her exploratory nature at my friend’s 5 acre estate just north of Hilo.

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“Lizzie get down from there, you’ll hurt yourself.”

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“That’s better.”

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One day we drove straight across the middle of the island on the new between the two volcanoes.

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Lizzie was in awe of its beautiful terrain.

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We lunched in Kailua Kona.

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We visited the old stone church across from the Queen’s Palace…….

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….where Lizzie suddenly became distressed that no one was in the pews.  I had to remind her it was Thursday.

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At one point she even climbed aboard the display of the ship on which the missionaries sailed from Boston in the 1870’s.

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Lizzie loved the many beaches and when she asked “Will we see more up the roadway?” , I answered “Since we’re on an island, I’d be saying Yes.”

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At the famous Rainbow Falls.

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“Lizzie, you’re too far out…..come in closer to shore.”

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“Thank you.”

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Sunrise.

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Moonrise.

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Always conscious of her deportment, I was surprised on one occasion having to say:  “Lizzie, get up off the table, you’re embarrassing yourself.”

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But in all fairness, this is what occurred a little earlier.

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Aside from that misstep, the trip was amazing for both Lizzie and myself.   I may even take her next year.

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Aloha and Mahalo.

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Translation of Newly Found Letter Written by Lizzie Borden

Translation of Newly Found Letter Written by Lizzie Borden

Since improved images of a letter written to Frances Willard dated July 23, 1893, have been posted on the Frances Willard House Museum website, I can provide a translation.

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Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard (1839-1898) was an American educator, temperance reformer, and women’s suffragist. Her influence was instrumental in the passage of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

My translation is as follows:

Fall River
July 23 – 1893

My Dear Friend

I can hardly
tell you how much
comfort and joy
your letter gave me.

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I thank you and
Lady Henry Somerset
from my heart for
the love and trust
you give me.
I appreciate it all

 

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the more as you
did not know
me yet still had
faith in me.
We have again
offered a reward
but our senior

counsel Ex. Gov. Robinson
did not deem it
wise to increase
the amount.
We have little hope
of our finding the
guilty one after so
long a time has
elapsed.
I hope some time
you and Lady
Henry Somerset
may come to America
and that we may
visit face to face.
With sincere regards
to you both, I am
yours in loving hands

Lizzie A. Borden

 

a

Lady Henry Somerset

 

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Collectibles, lizzie borden

 

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