If Lizzie could only have known!
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?
“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).
The Fall River Historical Society special August-4-Sept 30 exhibit will display, for the first time, the post mortem photographs of Abby and Andrew Borden. Other rare and never-displayed items from the trial and trial lawyers will be on exhibit.
Celebrated author, biographer and renaissance man, Charles Higham has died at the age of 81. He will probably be best remembered for his sometimes scathing biographies of world figures and celebrities. Two years ago Mr. Higham called to discuss his current project, a theory book on the Borden case. He thought he had come up with something new and exciting. His thought was that Emma and John Morse were thick in the plot to do away with the Bordens. I suggested he come to Fall River to get a better perspective on the crime scene, the city, and the circumstances. He adamantly refused to consider a trip, which is unfortunate. He also seemed dismayed that this idea of Morse and Emma was far from being a new theory. He never called again and the manuscript remained dormant on the shelf. Was he discouraged that he had not solved the crime? One wonders if his manuscript will now ever be published.
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.
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!
In Lizzie Borden circles she is best-remembered for her spot-on portrayal of Bridget Sullivan, the Borden’s Irish maid in The Legend of Lizzie Borden, but in years since the 1975 film, Flanagan has had an amazing career. The Dublin-born actress admits to the tough time she endured as an Irish actress in Hollywood in this article http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/insider-do-you-know-you-are-giving-a-reception-for-murderers-3009822.html and her perseverance to reach the top as a much-beloved star of television and the big screen. She will soon receive a lifetime achievement award from the Irish Film and Television Academy. To see her long lists of credits including current projects visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001217/ Borden house co-owner LeeAnn Wilber has met Ms. Flanagan and has invited her to spend a night in Bridget Sullivan’s room on Second Street.!
studio publicity photo
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!
Have your copy of Parallel Lives autographed. Pre-ordered your copy? Not to worry, pick it up Sunday at the Fall River Historical Society Book Signing! Don’t let your friends beat you to the punch! 1000 pages and over 500 photos. You just may have to take your vacation next week! Come back over the holidays to see a very special exhibit of ephemera and other items discovered while researching for the book: notes, cards, letters and more from Lizzie’s own hand. Who could ask for anything more?
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.
October has always been a 4 star month for all things Lizzie, but this year as Halloween draws nearer, the case is everywhere. Tonight Ghost Adventures showcases their investigation at Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum (Friday,Oct 21) at 9pm and Saturday Oct.22 12am or midnight on the 21st. The crew from CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood visited Lizzie’s last weekend (the same day Aron Houdini (relative of the famous Harry) came to entertain staff and guests. That segment will air on October 30th at 9 a.m.
But most thrilling of all, the long-awaited tome published by the Fall River Historical Society which will feature amazing new facts about Lizzie and her times is now launched and can be pre- ordered on the site.(November 21st availability). The anticipation for this thick volume, chocked-full of photos(over 500), some new ones of Lizzie, is going to fly off the shelves. Visit the website for all the latest information and content and order form. It’s going to be an exciting time ahead for all of us! http://lizziebordenparallellives.com/welcome/
Also visit the Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parallel-Lives-A-Social-History-of-Lizzie-A-Borden-and-Her-Fall-River/217117611686628
The front page of the Fall River Herald for August 4th featured a large colored photo of Kathleen Troost-Cramer and Barbara Morrissey as Lizzie and Emma Borden on the day of the infamous murders re-enacting the news about the killing of their father and stepmother. The front page also featured a headline of the Dow down to the lowest point since 2008 and news of bacteria levels in the Taunton River. At least one of the stories was old news from 1892.
Ray Mitchell as city marshal Rufus Hilliard. Story by Deborah Allard.
Many anxious eyes are watching the outcome for the old Central Congregational Church on Rock St. The building by Hartwell and Swazey is of significant historical value, and is in a state of disrepair currently that requires considerable money to restore. Here is a new video detailing the history of the edifice.
In addition to anticipating the upcoming release of the historical society’s Parallel Lives, August will welcome a new play about the famous case. The Herald News reports:
A new play, “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe,” depicting the well known Lizzie Borden case will be staged in Fall River for the 119th anniversary of the hatchet murders of Andrew and Abby Borden.
There will be two performances on Aug. 5 and 6 at the Nagle Auditorium at B.M.C. Durfee High School by the Covey Theatre Company of Syracuse, N.Y.
Fresh from winning two Syracuse Area Live Theatre awards for Best Original Play and Best Costumes, as well as the Gloria Peter Playwright competition from Aurora, NY, “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” left critics enthralled and Bordenophiles raving.
“Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” will be staged Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling 315-420-3729 or online at” www.thecoveytheatrecompany.com.
The annual costumed recreation of August 4th will take place as usual at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast on the 4th, which this year, will be a Thursday, just as it was in 1892.
Plenty of Lizzie on the way for August!
W&W is a little late getting this one posted. Shawna Waldron’s 93 minute Lizzie feature can be downloaded here: http://www.musicmovieshare.com/thriller/lizzie-2011/
You can see more on the Facebook page, including photos. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lizzie-the-Movie/378802895590?ref=mf&sk=wall#!/pages/Lizzie-the-Movie/378802895590?sk=wall