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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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Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft: To B or Not to B&B

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Photo by Deborah Allard, Fall River Herald News

It’s been over a month since the Facebook page “Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft” has revealed an update of the renovation progress or information on planned opening date for tours.

It is still most likely the residence where Lizzie lived the entire second half of her life will NOT be operated as a Bed & Breakfast as first indicated by Kristee Bates.   

While curators Rebello and Pavao have been on the hunt for furniture, fixtures and artifacts associated with the home during the period Lizzie lived there (1893-1927), they have yet to discover and acquire items with the “Wow” factor, such as the bed in which Lizzie died. 

Unlike 92 Second Street, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum, where the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden took place on August 4, 1892, there is not one fixed date of historical significance at 306 French Street.  Lizzie lived there for 35 years but only 12 with her sister, Emma (1893-1905).  So will the furnishings depict that period or post Emma?  Will it depict furnishings and artifacts of the elderly Lizzie?  Styles in home decor differed greatly from the mid and late 1890’s as cultural shifts in society changed from the Edwardian era to World War I to the Jazz Age.  Definitely a curating – let alone a seek and obtain – challenge.

One of the basic tenants of marketing an event is to build excitement.  If the event is to draw attention and excitement about a future tourist attraction, titillating “teasers”  are essential.  No doubt whenever the opening, there will be significant local interest.  Local media reporting will feed into the regional news, but with ongoing good marketing appeal would extend to national and international interest.   And our treasured Lizzie Borden and her story is not landlocked within our own shores.

Early on in Ms. Bates renovation endeavors she sent me nearly a dozen short videos of her sweat equity.  From the “steeple” room where she plans (planned?) to have “tarot card readings”, to the 3rd floor (attic, i.e., servant’s quarters), to kitchen, to basement, to enclosed porch “where I’ll serve tea and crumpets” these videos show exactly what was being done and explained by Kristee herself.    IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THESE VIDEOS, EMAIL ME AND I’LL SEND THEM TO YOU.

There are those who do not think “Maplecroft” will open to the public at all.   Perhaps it will be a seasonal thing and for tours only.   Whatever the use it should be marketed effectively.  The Lizzie Borden B&B Museum is self-marketing – Maplecroft is not.

 

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Lizzie Borden’s Impeccable Taste at “Maplecroft”

Time to revisit Maplecrof – Lizzie Borden’s home for the entire second half of her life.  She had great pride in this house which she nurtured, maintained, and coveted  as if it were the child she never had.

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Former owner, Bob Dube and current owner Kristee Bates – Fall River Herald News photo

House was purchased on November 21, 2014 by Twilight Enterprises (actually Howard and Kristee).

While its been written and often stated that Lizzie and her sister moved into a mansion on The Hill, the Charles M. Allen house was not a mansion.  Newport had mansions –  Fall River had stately Victorian homes.  “Maplecroft” was purchased in November 2014.

The house even has its own Facebook Page.  (A webpage by the new owner is being developed and you can set up a Google alert to stay current.  It’s aptly named “Lizzie Borden’s Maplecroft.”)

The Fall River Herald News ran this article on early discoveries Kristee made of her renovation endeavors.

Last year, Kristee sent me fragments of the original wall paper and drapes from Lizzie’s front bedroom which I framed and show here:

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Lizzie seems to have favored the darker colors, unlike her dining room paper shown below.

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Front Foyer Nov --2000

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There are attempts to identify and acquire books Lizzie owned  which, when signed by her, can cost several thousand dollars.  Copies on display in Maplecroft would most certainly lack the “oooohh” and “aaahhh”  factor as only things that really belonged to her will deliver satisfaction to visitors.  For example, having a tour guide correctly state: “And this is the bed that Lizzie Borden died in.”

The house – as a tourist attraction – will have to be furnished with exquisite and tasteful furniture, fixtures, and other appointments that Lizzie herself would have purchased. Such acquisitions will be costly and difficult to find or otherwise acquire, however, will grant great credit to the new owners if achieved.  I wish them the best of success in these endeavors and look forward to their progress.

 

 

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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.

Borden_letter1-compressed-

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

 

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Lady Henry Somerset

 

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

 

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New Letter Revealed Written by Lizzie Borden

Another letter written by Lizzie Borden was pictured and posted in the Frances Willard House and Museum website  today.  The letter is written to “Frances Willard and Lady Henry” according to the website.

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The letter appears to be written July 23, 1893 (Lizzie was acquitted on June 20, 1893).

“Frances Willard was a radical social progressive who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised.  She exposed the inherent hypocrisies of the status quo and forever changed accepted societal norms.

Willard forged a prototype for community organization and social reform that transformed our cultural landscape. The basis of our modern social welfare policies can be found in the initiatives fomented by Willard. Her life’s work is an example of what can be done when one is devoted to a cause.  Her ability to work hard and to mobilize others to work hard is a model of personal determination and amazing leadership skills.  To this day, Frances Willard continues to be “re-discovered” as the prototype of the modern, forward-thinking woman.”

This could be a letter expressing her gratitude for her  support.  It would seem Frances Willard may have championed Lizzie’s cause much as Mary A. Livermore, American journalist and womens’ rights advocate had done.  If simply a thank you letter, I find it interesting it is rather lengthy.

Four days earlier, Lizzie had turned 33 on July 19th, the same day the Fall River Weekly News reported Lizzie won a trip to the Chicago World’s Fair via a coupon write-in from the public.  (Lizzie kindly rejected the award.)   On the same date as the letter, July 23, 1893, and as reported in the Chicago Daily Tribune, Lizzie Borden was escorted to church by Dr. Bowen and Mrs. Holmes.

In any event, let us hope the Museum will sell – and the Fall River Historical Society will buy – this letter as they are the most logical and appropriate repository to archive this document with her other known letters.

 (Update 1/10/2016 – The following statement was included in the email I received

“As the letter is part of the very large “Papers of Frances E. Willard” collection, we have no intention of deaccessioning any part of the collection.”
Thank you,
Glen Madeja
Executive Director

 

 

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Interactive Aerials of Where Lizzie Borden Lived 1st & 2nd Halves of Her Life

Here’s some fun stuff to play around with via Bing Aerial Maps.  Be sure to note other Fall River locations to the left.
This is 230 Second Street, Fall River, Ma.; otherwise known as 92 Second Street, otherwise known as The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum. This aerial image was taken in around 2001-2002,  My Fall River Lizzie friends and Lizzie Borden case experts will be able to name everything shown here in a two block radius – and maybe more. Lizzie lived here from the time she was 12 in 1872 until after her Acquittal in July, 1893.

Built by Southard Miller in 1845, the house has remained in the same location and virtually unchanged for nearly 170 years.  Since this aerial was taken, however, the house has changed ownership, been painted green, the L-shape Leary Press has been demolished, the bus terminal directly across the street has been relocated and an architectural monstrosity known as the Superior Court towers in its place,  Subtle symmetry?  Perhaps.

Shown here is the French Street home, (otherwise known as “Maplecroft”)  that Lizzie and her sister moved into several weeks after her acquittal in 1893. This aerial was taken around 2001-2002. The house in the bottom of the frame, partially cut off, was also owned by Lizzie and is now owned by Michael Brimbau (author of Girl With the Pansy Pin). Stefani Koorey, Mr. Brimbau’s girlfriend, moved in to this house in 2006, Interestingly, neither one have ever been inside “Maplecroft”, which has been owned by Robert Dube’ since 1980.
Lizzie lived here the entire second half of her life until she died in 1927.
 

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Lifetime Movie Channel on Lizzie Borden Got The Most Obscure Thing Right!

While the poor reviews and commentary on the gawd-awful Lifetime Movie Channel’s Lizzie Borden Took An Axe (see my earlier post) starring Christina Ricci continue, I have to report on a most singular and obscure thing they DID get right:  The picture above the sofa where Andrew Borden met his fate.

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(Image above of the crime scene taken late afternoon of August 4, 1892, from my personal collection of second generation photos.)

You can see the picture here, actually a black and white print of a steel engraving. Here are a couple more images:

Elms1This image was also taken on August 4rh, 1892, after the sofa had been removed.

There never was any mention of this picture in any of the source documents, newspapers or subsequent books written on the case.  Apparently, never worthy of citing, it wasn’t nearly as notable as the sofa – which has been referred to as a “horsehair sofa of the Civil War era”.  But the picture has never raised an eyebrow nor an inkling of curiosity.  What that picture was remained unknown for 108 years.

In early 2000, Lizzie Borden expert Leonard Rebello, a Fall River native and author of Lizzie Borden Past & Present (1999) conducted some in-depth research and discovered it was a steel engraving called “The Village Elms – Sunday Morning in New England” by a rather prolific painter, Albert Fitch Bellows (1829-1883).  For the first time ever, EVER, the “picture above the sofa” was identified in print with the publication of the April 2000 issue (Vol. VII, #2) of the most excellent The Lizzie Borden Quarterly published by Martin F. Bertolet.  Lizzie Borden enthusiasts who subscribed to this august publication, were the first to learn of this discovery.   To my knowledge, there has never been any other feature article or any reference to this engraving – in context with the Lizzie Borden case – ever written about since.  A print of this engraving has hung above the sofa at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast since Mr. Rebello’s discovery.

bellowsAlbert Fitch Bellows

Here it is below:

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One can readily see this exact picture hanging above the sofa in the Lifetime Movie Channel’s film which first aired on January 25, 2014, nearly 14 years after the identification of the what and who first came to light.

So who, I ponder, in the production of this pitiful portrayal of the case was responsible for bringing that piece of historical accuracy to the film?  Who did the research?  How did they learn of the picture?  (Perhaps it was Lee-ann Wilber, manager of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, who had been contacted about “borrowing” the sofa).  Nonetheless, they got the sofa wrong but the picture is correct.  They got most everything wrong but they got the picture right.  A most obscure inclusion with absolutely no relevancy to the case itself.  If they troubled to research that and incorporate it into the film, why leave out so much that WAS relevant?

While it can now be said they got something right, that singular and obscure find still lacks sufficiency for redemption of all they got wrong.  Albert Fitch Bellows.  The Village Elms  And now you know.

ElmsColorColored version of “The Village Elms – Sunday Morning in New England”

Final note:  I’d be willing to bet it never hung at “Maplecroft”.  😉

 

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