Fall River Historical Society to debut new Maplecroft photo

The FRHS announced an exciting donation to the Borden archive today.  The following appears on the FRHS Facebook page and is very exciting.  How can we wait until August 4th?

maplecroft seal“Lizzie Borden’s home: Extremely rare photograph discovered! Lizzie Borden had this green and gilt “Maplecroft” seal made for use on her correspondence — a rare example of her personal style during her years in that residence. Now we are excited to report that a truly unique photograph taken inside the French street mansion while Lizzie lived there has been given to the FRHS! It’s the only suchphoto ever to have surfaced, and anyone with an interest in Lizzie will find it fascinating. For the first time, we have a partial but revealing glimpse of the interior of her home. And the subject of the photo – something Lizzie apparently cherished — helps to debunk one of the biggest myths perpetuated about her.

Donated by a descendant of Lizzie’s personal maid, Ida S. Carlson, the photo came to us with impeccable provenance. Lizzie hired a professional photographer to capture the compelling image and had it mounted in an ornate frame, and around 1899 she gave it to Ida, who displayed the treasured piece in her home until her death, at which time it was acquired by a relative.

The photo will make its debut at the FRHS at a special exhibit opening on August 4, 2014, where it will join a collection of other recently acquired Borden-related items of note. Mark your calendar, and be sure to come and take our informative tour about the life and trial of Lizzie Borden!”  (Posted April 22, Facebook).

An interesting find added to the B&B museum archive


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You never know what you may find in an auction box stuffed full of odds and ends.  Recently Lizzie Borden B&B co-owner, LeeAnn Wilber inherited an interesting document signed by Abby Borden’s half-sister, Sarah Bertha Whitehead. Case historians will tell you how important the Gray-Whitehead house on Fourth Street figured in the further decline of warm family feelings among the Borden sisters and their stepmother when Andrew Borden bought out and deeded over this property to his second wife without informing “the girls”.

This 1901 document grants right of way for septic hook-up on the property until such a time Spring Street pipes were installed, and is signed by Bertie Whitehead.  At the time of the murder, Spring Street stopped at the corner of Second Street. Later on the Gray-Whitehead house was shifted onto a new foundation on the continued Spring Street where it rests today.

(courtesy of the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum Archive)


Prussic Acid and Eli Bence


Pharmacist Eli Bence made the cut in the Ricci film but why Lizzie told Bence she needed prussic acid to kill rats in the attic is hard to explain. The real reason is every bit as interesting. Lizzie wanted the poison to clean a set of sealskin sacques (loose fitting coat) of moths and moth eggs. Furs were generally put into cold storage in summer. Lizzie hung hers up in muslin bags on the third floor of the house. Lizzie denied going to the pharmacy at the corner of Columbia and South Main, or even acknowledging she knew where it was. Two men in the pharmacy at the time, Kilroy and Hart, backed Bence up. For more on Bence http://lizziebordenwarpsandwefts.com/mutton-eaters-february-article/

A flurry of new Borden books is on the way


After the great ratings and enthusiastic reception of the less-than-accurate Lifetime attempt at telling the Borden story, you can be sure a little flurry of books will soon be out there, hopefully getting all the facts right. Random House has signed up a new Lizzie young adult book to be published in Spring ‘16.  It’s a narrative non-fiction book called The Borden Murders, and is by Sarah Miller. Another released this month is now available on Amazon. Keep your fingers crossed for accurate research.  We can only hope, Lizziephiles!



Another hatchet on the loose in 1893

The hatchet killing which happened just before Lizzie’d trial began and which was referred to in the Lifetime movie this past weekend was the Bertha Manchester crime- which thankfully was solved. Care was taken that Lizzie’s jurors did not learn about this case as it would seem to suggest a killer was still on the loose in Fall River with a hatchet. Bertha Manchester is also buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F50B17F7345B1A738DDDAC0894DE405B8385F0D3

Lifetime’s Lizzie Borden Took an Axe

o-LIZZIE-BORDEN-570Did you watch tonight?  What did you think?  Airing again Sunday, January 26th.


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