Perhaps the most thrilling photo from Parallel Lives was that of Lizzie on her veranda at Maplecroft with her little dog. Now we have two photos of the Borden maid around the same age. Whereas Lizzie looks rested, prosperous and content in her photo, Bridget has a stern and careworn visage. Two elderly ladies- worlds apart in many ways, but sharing one extraordinary day in common- August 4, 1892.
Photo of Lizzie and her dog courtesy of the Fall River Herald News Online as seen in Parallel Lives by Michael Martins and Dennis Binette.
Photos reproduced here courtesy of Diana Porter, a relative of John Sullivan
Photo of Bridget Sullivan courtesy of Diana Porter attributed as coming from the Barbara Knightly Hockaway Collection
The promised article is finally available via the Fall River Herald news http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x221044214/New-photos-surface-of-former-Lizzie-Borden-maid-after-murders
and contains the very interesting comment pertaining to Sullivan’s personality as being humorless, stern, and even “mean.” Reading Bridget’s testimony and statements made in 1892-1893, she gives the impression of being careful with her statements, and not just a little bit nervous and afraid to say anything negative about Lizzie or the family, so this new revelation causes one to wonder if Bridget developed the stern, mean and humorless traits after the trial or did she always have such a personality?
For decades the story has been widely circulated that Bridget had something to “get off her chest” and either died without telling “something about that Fall River business” – or else confessed it to a priest with her dying breath. What the something was, or even if all or a part of this story is true yet remains to be proven without a doubt. People have speculated what the something could be: she knew the dress Lizzie gave to the police was not the dress Lizzie had on that morning of the murders, Bridget helped clean up blood or other evidence, she knew Lizzie was guilty but protected the family in return for a favor, etc. The list of possibilities is endless. The notion that Bridget knew something but would never tell is, however, provocative and the recent disclosure of the photos and comments by a great niece of Bridget’s husband, John Sullivan, Diana Porter, only add even more flavor to conjectures about Bridget and what she knew. No single person was in a better position to know the daily workings of the Borden household better than Bridget, and so anything about her or anything which will emerge in the future promises to be greeted with eager eyes and ears.
Copies of the two photos will be added to Warps and Wefts as soon as the proper permissions have been granted.
When the phone rang at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast several months ago, the voice at the end of the line wishing to book a room was none other than the great niece of John and Bridget Sullivan. For years, the only photo known of the Borden’s Irish maid was the one taken at an unknown date shown below. The relative will be a guest, in Bridget’s room of course, this summer and will be giving an interview to Borden house co-owner, Lee Ann Wilber. There are plenty of questions to ask! Employees at the house have been excited about the photos and news for many weeks and have a list prepared. Will we now find out just where Bridget was from 1893 until she showed up in Montana in 1896? The story will be featured in the newspaper tomorrow but has a live interview at the link below with Lee Ann and reporter Deb Allard recorded early today. http://www.heraldnews.com/multimedia/video/x826304472/New-photos-of-Lizzie-Borden-maid
So much has been happening in the Borden sphere of late that you need a program to keep up. Not all has been happy news, but most has been cause for celebration.
1. The Central Congregational Church: Things are looking grim for Lizzie’s old church on Rock Street with hopes high yet for a reprieve once again. http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x962233671/Fall-Rivers-former-Central-Congregational-faces-wrecking-ball
2. HBO Mini Series The much-anticipated four-hour series starring Chloe Sevigny and backed by Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions is still simmering on the back burner. Hopefully when Miss Sevigny wraps her latest project, this fresh take on the Borden saga will get cookin’!
3. Donation of Andrew Jennings’ private notes and journal to the Fall River Historical Society was the exciting news this past weekend as the famous “hip bath collection” yielded one more treasure which was turned over to the historical society. http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x1785609188/Handwritten-journals-from-Lizzie-Borden-lawyer-donated-to-FRHS
4. Parallel Lives is recognized at New England Book Fair http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x570348962/Parallel-Lives-book-on-Lizzie-Borden-wins-honorable-mention
5. Coming Soon! Fall River Revisited by Stefani Koorey. Preorder now at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0738576840/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk
6. The Dead Files visit in January to the Borden house should be airing March 16th at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel. Check the website for schedule and more on hosts, Amy and Steve. http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/the-dead-files
If the publication of Parallel Lives was not enough excitement, the news of the donation of Andrew Jennings’ personal papers, notes, and newspaper clippings to the Fall River Historical Society was published in the Fall River Herald News today. The Borden community was anxiously awaiting the news of ” a significant development” after being alerted late last week to the fact that something exciting was about to break.
Some very illuminating comments and information will no doubt be forthcoming from this new treasure trove.
Now, if we could only get the Hilliard papers published and the Robinson cache uncovered!
Christmas came early this year for those who enjoy Fall River history and have an interest in the Borden case and the enigmatic Miss Lizzie. Parallel Lives was released this morning to the public. By 11: 30 a.m. a long line snaked its way down the pavement toward Maple Street and there was a feeling of restless expectation in the air as the noon hour approached. . A man came around the corner bearing two copies of the coveted tome as heads swiveled to catch a glimpse. A spontaneous outburst of appreciation went up from the crowd followed by many comments as to the SIZE of the massive tome.
No preview copies were released for reviewing to anyone, so it was with enormous excitement today’s release was anticipated. Beginning on Friday, the benefactors of the publication enjoyed a special gathering, followed by Saturday night’s annual Christmas Open House for members, and capping off an extraordinary weekend with today’s public release of the book, viewing of a special exhibit of materials featured in the book (cards, letters, gifts Lizzie presented to friends, etc.) and a tour of the Christmas decorations, always an annual treat.
The authors held court in the front parlor at a beautifully decorated table with a red rose Christmas arrangement, signing autographs and having photographs taken with visitors. On the lawn, on the stairs, and anywhere one could sit, people clutched their volume, looking eagerly through the pages. From all corners came appreciative little shrieks of excitement as never-before-seen photos were discovered, especially those showing Lizzie herself. Even those who vowed not to ruin the surprise until they could sit at leisure soon gave way to overwhelming curiosity and were soon leafing furiously through the pages. Some had driven hours to pick up their copies.
It would be presumptuous to attempt any sort of review of this major work until the whole was digested, therefore the Warps & Wefts review will be forthcoming in the near future. Suffice it to say, Parallel Lives is as plummy a Christmas pudding as anyone could ever wish for, chock full of juicy morsels, delicious facts and photos, fascinating history, surprises and many hours of enthralled reading. To reveal too much would be to ruin your own Christmas surprise- so-
Just spring to your sleigh, to your team give a whistle,
To Rock Street fly like the down of a thistle.
Parallel Lives is the gift sure to please, so take heed,
Happy holidays to all, and to all a good read!
With a wrecker’s ball looming over the spire of the historic Central Congregational Church, today’s announcement in the Fall River Herald News brings a sigh of hope to city preservationists. The Ruskinian Gothic structure of red and white brick, designed by the prestigious firm of Hartwell & Swazey, was, until recently a culinary arts school with an attached restaurant, The Abbey Grille. The business went into foreclosure, the edifice was boarded up and weeds set in. The scenario looked bleak for the church, once the bustling religious center for many of the city’s society families from The Hill section. Andrew Borden paid for a pew in the vast sanctuary, although it was primarily Lizzie alone who attended regularly.
Jerry and son Chris Donovan have restored and rescued other properties in the city, most notably the old Eagle on North Main Street, now a center for performing arts. The historical commission is back in business and it looks like great things are in the works! Good news indeed.
The Eagle on re-opening night.
The sweet-faced lady on the piazza holding her pet is a far cry from the caricature of the raging homicidal spinster so often portrayed as being Lizzie Borden. The bobbleheads, tee shirts, and cartoons may have to undergo a re-do. Parallel Lives, the long-awaited biography of Lizzie and her times has released this amazing photograph of Lizzie with one of her Boston bull terriers (Laddie Miller), said to be taken around 1916 on the back porch of her French St. home, Maplecroft.
Followers of the Borden case will be drinking in every detail of her dress, her furnishings, her expression. A picture is worth a thousand words. The thick volume, studded with over 500 photos may be pre-ordered from the Fall River Historical Society. For the full story and link to order click on this link http://www.heraldnews.com/features/x464394189/Historical-Society-announces-first-true-biography-of-Lizzie-Borden
So will this photo and new bio change your mind about Lizzie?
Guests and employees at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast enjoyed watching the TODAY show feature this morning in the parlor. Already the online clip has had nearly 500 comments and the phones are briskly ringing on Second Street. The interest in the Borden case?- Keen as ever.
“Big Love is set to air its series’ finale next Sunday, and some of the cast is not waiting around to find their next projects. Ginnifer Goodwin is already signed for the ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time, and now Chloë Sevigny has joined the cast of HBO’s upcoming four-hour miniseries on Lizzie Borden. Sevigny, who has been the driving force behind the project, is set to star as Borden as well as co-executive produce.
Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will produce through their joint company Playtone, which also produces Big Love. The story will follow Lizzie Borden’s trial, from which she was acquitted of killing her father and stepmother with a hatchet. Chloë Sevigny will star as Lizzie Borden, as well as co-executive produce.
Bryce Kass is writing the screenplay. The miniseries will likely air in 2012. “
The snows did fall and the wind did blow, but the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast had a busy winter and the month of March is jammed- packed with activities too. The first Murder Mystery Weekend was held over the Valentine’s Day weekend, followed by the Dead of Winter paranormal event with Chris Moon. The news, posted here earlier, detailing B&B visitor Chloe Sevigny’s proposed upcoming project of an HBO mini-series about the Borden case filming this summer was icing on the cake.
Last week, those who work at the house were thrilled to learn the TODAY show will be making a visit the end of the month to shoot a special on the fascination with the case. The timing could not have been better for the release of the eagerly-awaited Parallel Lives from the Fall River Historical Society. The authors will also be appearing on the morning televison special segment. The Second Street Irregulars will be descending on the 31st for a jammed-packed 3 days at the house and on the road, with some special guests and stops along the way. It looks like 2011 will be another banner year for Lizzie & Co.
”THE WORKSHOP THEATER and ALVIN OUT PRODUCTIONS present the New York premiere of Lizzie Borden at Eight O’Clock at the WorkShop Jewel Box Theater March 24th-April 3rd. The WorkShop Theater is located at 312 West 36th Street, 4th floor. Subway: A, C, or E to Penn Station. General admission tickets to Lizzie Borden At Eight O’Clock are $18, $15 for students and seniors. Also limited number of TDF @ the $9 Off-Off-Broadway rate (2 per performance). For Information / Tickets visit: www.workshoptheater.org or call 866-811-4111. The play is directed by Kenneth Tigar.
THE WORKSHOP THEATER and ALVIN OUT PRODUCTIONS’ production of Lizzie Borden at Eight O’Clock, tells the chilling first person account from Lizzie Borden herself of her father and stepmother’s gruesome murders.
Decades after her acquittal, Lizzie Borden takes the podium at her local Historical Society to once and for all clear her name, or will she? With a tour de force performance by Ellen Barry (Terrence McNally‘s A Perfect Ganesh) as Lizzie Borden, Lizzie relives the compelling events that lead to the headline murders of the century. The bloody dress, the food poisoning, the broken hatchet in the basement, the mysterious bloodless-ness of the crime scenes— all clues pointed towards Lizzie for the murders. But Lizzie has an alternate explanation, and, at long last, she’s ready to tell the whole spine-tingling story. Originally produced and developed and performed at the Historic North Hall in Huntington, MA, this is Lizzie Borden At Eight O’Clock’s New York City debut.
**NOTE*** Lizzie Borden At Eight O’Clock deals with graphic material that may be unsuitable for younger audiences.”
In case you missed it- an old theory back for another round. Review at http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8028572-lizzie-borden-didnt-do-ittrue-crime-solved Hard copy by Branden Books, or available now for Kindle.
Most “Boomers” will recall the big hit Lloyd Price had with Stagger Lee back in the 60′s but few probably know that there is a true story of Victorian crime connected to the pop tune. St. Louis, Missouri was the place where Stack Lee Shelton and Billy Lyons had some kind of disagreement on Christmas night- whether over gambling, politics, or a woman, is not clear. The final insult came when Billy took Stack’s fine Stetson hat, and Stack pulled out his gun and shot Billy dead on the spot in a bar room.
Stack Shelton did time for the murder, ultimately dying in prison of tuberculosis in 1912. Their story has been immortalized in song in many versions over the years. Thanks to Murder by Gaslight for shining a light on this case. For much more about the details visit their link at http://murderbygasslight.blogspot.com/2009/09/staggerlee_05.html
The night was clear, and the moon was yellow
And the leaves came tumblin’ down. . .
I was standin’ on the corner
When I heard my bull dog bark.
He was barkin’ at the two men
Who were gamblin’ in the dark.
It was Stagger Lee and Billy,
Two men who gambled late.
Stagger Lee threw a seven,
Billy swore that he threw eight.
“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“I can’t let you go with that.
“You have won all my money,
“And my brand-new Stetson hat.”
Stagger Lee went home
And he got his .44.
He said, “I’m goin’ to the ballroom
“Just to pay that debt I owe.”
Go, Stagger Lee
Stagger Lee went to the ballroom
And he strolled across the ballroom floor.
He said “You did me wrong, Billy.”
And he pulled his .44.
“Stagger Lee,” said Billy,
“Oh, please don’t take my life!
“I’ve got three hungry children,
“And a very sickly wife.”
Stagger Lee shot Billy
Oh, he shot that poor boy so hard
That a bullet went through Billy
And broke the bartender’s bar.
Chances are that if you only take the day tour at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, you have missed meeting one of the great assets of the establishment, longtime head chef, Dave Quigley. Dave and the B&B started out together on the same day back in 1996, and Dave is the longest -serving employee of the business. When the house first opened its doors, Dave would come on duty at 10 p.m. just as the night tour of the house ended, and would spend the “third shift” perched uncomfortably on the narrow, hard Victorian sofa in the parlor, watching the tiny television set which received only 3 channels with rabbit ear antenna.
Dave was oncall to answer a million questions from overnight guests and deal with all the night time emergencies that can happen in an old house. “How do I get to Salem?”, “Where is Bellevue Avenue?”, “What’s a jonnycake?”, etc. and many other pressing inquires Dave had to field every morning. All these he answered cheerfully with good humor and an amazing talent for knowing the best places to eat, the best routes to take to most of New England attractions, and the usual queries about the Borden case and the house in general. Dave became a master of all trades by necessity. Leaky faucets, plugged up toilets, fire alarms going off in the night, special requirements from guests, unwanted visitors, power blackouts, snowstorms – Dave saw it all. And in the process probably flipped over 100,000 of the famous cornmeal jonnycakes. Foremost and primarily, Dave loved to cook and chat with the guests. Sometime’s Dave would forget the jonnycakes while visiting with the guests and the smoke alarms would sound, bringing the Fire Chief to the door in full gear, wielding an axe. Memorable moments.
The menu has not changed much since opening day: scrambled eggs, homefried potatoes, sausages or Canadian bacon, coffee, tea, fruit cup and jonnycakes, the last item served to the Bordens on the fateful day. Dave used to love to tell the story about jonnycakes, a local delicacy and an acquired taste. “Journey cakes, they were called because they could travel a long time in a saddlebag on a long trek”, Dave would intone every morning. “Put some maple syrup on ‘em- then they have some taste”.
Over the past few years Dave has been spared the hard sofa overnight, and arrives about 6 a.m. to get the coffee machine going for early risers. Chefs in training, Will and Logan, will be taking over for Dave next weekend. Here’s wishing Dave many happy golfing days on the greens, big wins at the casino, and relaxing hours with lovely wife, Jean. Best Wishes!
Dave’s old black gas Glenwood, once found rusting in a field in Vermont and refitted for gas pipes. “She’s temperamental but works like a champ if you know how to appease her”!
Today’s South Coast Today puts Lizzie in the Press again with coverage of last night’s “Mock Trial”. Read the story at http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090925/NEWS/909250337