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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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McWHIRR’S DEPT. STORE – WHERE LIZZIE WENT A-THIEVING

RECYCLED FROM JULY 27, 2014  and FROM ORIGINAL IN 2008

Mea Culpa Notice:  I was in error. McWhirr’s Dept Store, as shown here was not inside the Cherry & Webb Building.   It was a separate structure subsequently torn down and another building in its place.  The Cherry & Webb building, however still stands as indicated below.

In Lizzie’s day this was McWhirr’s Department Store, an upscale department store where anybody who was anybody shopped. Shown in this photograph, the name “McWhirr” can be made out on the top of the white building in the background.

The Cherry and Webb Building (so stated on the front of the building) is located at 139 South Main and is now the UMASS-Dartmouth Professional and Continuing Education Center a learning center for professionals, night students and other students. On the ground floor is the Café Arpeggio. Bristol Community College has recently leased space for special courses for special needs. Baker Books, once there on the ground floor in April 2007, gone by August 2007. Darnit.

Previously “one of the city’s most underutilized downtown structures”, Mayor Lambert is credited with its current public use.When I spoke to security, building maintenance technicians, administrators and students, one of the things I learned is that this facility is being used to assist with GED education for a number of the nearly 900 employees who lost their jobs by the closing of Quaker Fabric. I also learned that the only interior “original” to this building is the grand staircase shown below.

There was a time when the building was known to all Fall Riverites as “McWhirr’s”. Imagine Lizzie in her blue India silk bengaline inside this store moving about amongst the crowd. Imagine Lizzie taking a five fingered discount of oh, say, a pansy broach and sliding it up inside her so conveniently fitted gloved hand. Then, with a casual grace and the deportment of “a Borden” strolling towards this staircase and ascending to the second floor.

Without batting an eye nor turning her head to see if she’s being followed, she would maintain a steady but lady-like gait as she faked interest in nearby displays of hats, porcelain figurines, and petite carved bottles of French perfume. With a skill only acquired from experience, she would be diligently aware of any store employee watching her from a near distance.

Her heart beating to the exhiliarating thrill of this familiar challenge and satisfied no one was following, she would turn back to the stairway and begin her descent, one lady-like step at a time. Below her she would survey the vast array of glass table top and standing shelved display cases, filled with products from near and abroad. Men, women and children busy shopping, strolling and admiring all the goods. Busy store clerks packaging purchases and preparing sales slips. Busy, busy, busy. She would survey it all, calmly determined in her objective.

One gloved hand on the railing, the other modestly angled upright, her fashionable cloth purse looped over it. Posture perfect, a lady of some stature, she would have looked straight ahead, a seemingly blank stare masking a steeled will. She would descend, slowly, each step measured with her resolve and comforted in the fact her broach not the least bit detected as it nestled securely inside her modestly priced but exquisitely stitched leather glove.

Pausing at the bottom step, brazenly she would hold up that gloved hand with its secret deposit and there she would act as if only adjusting the fitting. Only a moment, but pause enough to quickly ascertain once more with a quick scan if any authoritative and watchful eyes were upon her. They are not. Only a fresh-face counter girl who looks directly at her and says: “Good morning, Miss Borden”. She would respond with a tilt of the head, a forced, kindly smile, and she would begin her walk towards the front door. A slight turn to the left and she would be on her path, curving here, curving there passing the cases, dodging a small child, brushing skirts against other ladies. Closer, each step closer. The front door now in sight.

Only 32 paces,…. now 20, and the heartbeat accelerates,….. now 12, and the breathing more pronounced…..now 9, and a slightly fevered brow…..now 7 and a quivering chin….the uniformed doorman sees her approach… now 2 steps, two steps only as the doorman pulls upon the door and tips his hat…the step across the threshold…, now daylight. No arm upon hers. No hand upon her shoulder. Big exhale. The quivering chin ceases to quiver, the pulse rate subsides, the fevered brow cools in the bright sun. A liberating wave of relief engulfs her. She feels…. a profound sense of…..special achievement by way of genetic entitlement.

Actually, considering the fashions of the day, forget the broach. She could have concealed a Virginia ham under those skirts. And many of the “ladies who went a-thieving”, in fact, did just that. But not at McWhirr’s.

 

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“What Is That Thing?” A Lizzie Borden Querry

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.

Here’s the link.

 

 

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328 French Street Being Sold – Michael Brimbaugh and Stefani Koorey Move Out

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2006

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This image shows a side view of “Maplecroft’s” garage, not often seen.

The property next door to “Maplecroft” (as shown above) owned by Michael Brimbaugh, has been on the market for over two months.  Brimbaugh and girlfriend, Stefani Koorey, have moved out after making improvements and prepping the property.  Brimbaugh is building a new home in Westport.

Read Herald News article HERE with photos of interior.

This house was once owned by Lizzie Borden, indirectly. She had
instructed her business manager, Charles Cook, to purchase the home in
his name in 1926 the year before she died. When she passed away in
1927, this house was part of her estate.

“According to Len Rebello, in Lizzie Borden Past & Present (1999), “Charles Cook
sold the Henry property (house and land next to Maplecroft) to Mary K.
Buxton on March 14, 1928, for $10,000 but did not record the sale to
Lizzie’s estate. The property was purchased in December 1926, for
$12,000 with Lizzie’s money. However, the deed was in Mr. Cook’s name.
Lizzie had purchased other property and deeded it with Mr. Cook’s name
as trustee for her. This was a practice to avoid publicity. Lizzie paid the
taxes on the property and all repairs. Mr. Cook claimed it was Lizzie’s
intent that he have the Henry property when she died. Grace Howe and
Helen Leighton contested. They wanted the proceeds back in Lizzie’s
estate. The Probate Court ruled in their favor. The proceeds were placed
in Lizzie’s estate at a 6% interest rate. The decision of Probate Court was
appealed and heard at the state Supreme Court in Boston in 1932. Mr.
Cook claimed that the “Bristol Court had no right, while considering his
accounts as executor, to hear evidence as to the ownership of the
property.” (“Borden Case Before the Full Bench,” Taunton Daily Gazette,
April 8, 1932: 2) The Supreme Court agreed with the ruling of Probate
Court.”  from Every House Has a Story

Meanwhile, “Maplecroft” owner, Kristee Bates, still struggles with bringing her property up to compliance with various codes in accordance with permit processing and issuance –  a costly endeavor.  Also, the once announced Leonard Rebello and Bill Pavao as co-curators have long disappeared from the scene due to differences of opinion in the renovations (more on that later).   But at least Kristee will no longer have that invasive “hawkeye” peering from her now vacated neighbor.

 

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Tattered Fabric makes list of “The 50 Best History Blogs”

I’m thrilled to announce my Tattered FabricFall River’s Lizzie Borden blog has been given another award.  This one is for the The 50 Best History Blogs in the category of Criminal History.  Only four blogs are in this category and I’m flattered and proud to be in the same company as CLEWS, which is my all-time favorite crime blog that is so wonderfully structured and content-rich as created by author Laura James.

Notice of my making this list came in an email as follows:

—–Original Message—–
From: Nathan Williams [mailto:nathan@zencollegelife.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 7:46 AM
To: phaye@npgcable.com
Subject: Tattered Fabric: Fall River’s Lizzie Borden on our list of The 50 Best History Blogs

“Hello,

My name is Nathan Williams and I am part of the Editorial Team for Zen College Life. I wanted to let you know that Tattered Fabric: Fall River’s Lizzie Borden has been selected as one of The 50 Best History Blogs.

Our Editors and Readers selected your blog because of its high standard of quality information mixed with your excellent commentary.

We’ve also created a badge that you can display on your website to let your readers know you’ve made the list. If you want to display the badge, simply email me and I will help you post it to your blog.

In addition, if you are interested in being interviewed for our blog, please let me know.

Continued Success!”

Fellow blogger and author, Mirella Patzer is also a recipient of this award for her History and Women blog.   She also writes the Scandalous Women blog, which I love.  Both are on my blogroll.

My previous award “100 Awesome Blogs for History Junkies” can be found HERE – #77 under the “People” category.

The vast majority of subscribers to my blog are college students, and with nearly 1,000 hits a day it is not surprising someone would eventually recommend it for one of these lists.  Granted, it’s not a Nobel Prize, an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, or Grammy – but it’s always nice to get recognition for what you write.   🙂


 
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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in Fall River History

 

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Mirella Patzer

Author Mirella Patzer writes a terrific blog with outstanding links on “historical fiction”….. She’s from Canada.  Bright mind, this woman.  Check her out by clicking HERE.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2008 in Nothing to do with Lizzie

 

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