photos, floor plan and facts about the house on The Hill

  • After the Axe

    hatchet-700381The number of post-trial, post-hatchet, Maplecroft plays is ever- growing. The public never wearies of imagining the possibilites of Lizzie’s life after the acquittal.  If she was guilty, did she suffer twinges of conscience? Was she depressed- lonely?  If she was innocent- how horrible was it living under the cloud of suspicion all those years? Why did Emma leave her sister?  Who were Lizzie’s few friends who continued to call at the house on French St. ? So many unanswered questions opens up a rich field for exploration.

    Here is the Nick Pelino offering on the subject, written in 2006, available now on in the 10-12 dollar range.

    Lizbeth of Maplecroft- After the Axe

     2006 by Trafford Publishers

    Paperback, 243 pages

    isbn1425113893    (isbn13: 9781425113896)

     “This is the two act play, available in print! It is based on the later life of the accused axe-murderess, Lizzie Borden, years after her acquital. A three woman play that has performed to great success. By the author of THE FINAL WORD: THE HALL-MILLS MURDERS and its sequel and equally popular THE HALL-MILLS TRIAL, Nick Pelino, Jr. 

  • Spectral Borden Canines for Halloween?


    Even Lizzie’s late, lamented pets are in the spotlight for Halloween. Her three Boston Bull Terriers are the star attraction of the upcoming pet cemetery tour.

    Thursday, Oct. 22

    Haunted Pet Cemetery – The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s Dedham branch, at 55 Anna’s Place, is hosting a night of spooky tales on a stroll through the oldest section of its 100-year-old Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery – home of the dogs owned by the notorious Lizzie Borden – on Thursday, Oct. 22, Friday Oct. 23 and Saturday Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. each night. The cost is $10 per person (includes complimentary cider or cocoa). Information: 781-326-0729


  • After the Murders-a new Lizzie Play

    after the murders

    (photo credit) CELIA FRANK/For Shorelines
    Susan Roche (left) plays Emma Borden and Karen Garrett is Lizzie Borden in “After the Murders: The Quest of Lizzie Borden,” which will open Friday at Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre.

    Lizzie’s on stage again -this time in a mystery drama by Fernandina Beach playwright Richard Wolf entitled “After the Murders: The Quest of Lizzie Borden”.

    To read more about the new production which is set in the interval after the acquittal, visit this link

    “After the Murders: The Quest of Lizzie Borden” will be performed Friday-Sunday, Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 6-7 at the Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. The theater is in the Adele Grage Cultural Center, 716 Ocean Blvd., Atlantic Beach. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors, students and military. For reservations, call 249-7177 or visit

  • Interview with Sharon Pollack



    Blood Relations seems to be opening everywhere these days.  Lizzie B is a hot topic. To read more about this newest production and to read the interview with Sharon Pollack follow this link below.

    On the issue of who Ms. Pollack thinks did the deed-

    “I think that Lizzie did it and Bridget (Bridget Sullivan, Lizzie’s Irish servant, who was the only other person in the Borden house when the murders took place) knew that Lizzie did it,” Pollock says, pointing out that both maid and mistress were likely in collusion when it came to their testimony at the trial.


  • Blood Relations Comes to New Bedford

    bloodrelationsBlood Relations written by Sharon Pollack and directed by Stephen Kay opens November 12th.  The play runs November 12-22 at the Your Theatre Playhouse at 136 River Street, New Bedford.

    The play within a play structure in which, ten years after her acquittal, Lizzie Borden’s actress friend, Nance O’Neil acts out the crucial scenes, lends a fascinating sense of ambiguity to a familiar story.  For reservations call 508-993-0772.

    For more about the play read

  • Lizzie’s Companion


    The Herald coverage in today’s edition of last night’s Lizzie lecture at BCC revealed a particularly interesting tidbit- Lizzie had a lady companion named Trudy.

    It was a common custom of the time for wealthy ladies to have a younger companion to accompany them on trips out of town, shopping excursions and the like. Miss Trudy apparently lived at Maplecroft and enjoyed the elegant  library and hearthside of Miss Borden before going off to give matrimony a whirl.  How nice to know Lizzie did not lead quite such a reclusive and lonely life as many have thought.

    Other snippets read at the lecture included diary entries by a schoolchum named “Lulie” which added a bit more color as to the many moods of Lizzie as a school girl.

    The popular lecture series continues through November and is stirring up great interest in the launch of the historical society publication Parallel Lives which will go on sale before Christmas and is probably on every Lizziephile’s Wishlist.

    • Sept 28, Annette Holba, Ph.D., author, “Lizzie Borden as Conscious Pariah: A Discussion About Private Life.”
    • Oct. 5, Cara Robertson, legal scholar, “What the Jury Heard: Evidence in the Trial of Lizzie Borden.”
    • Oct. 19, Kim Dennis, psychic medium, “Lizzie Borden: Her Side of the Story.”
    • Oct. 26, Jill Dalton, award-winning actress, “Lizzie Borden Live: From Page to Stage.”
    • Nov. 2, Ricardo Rebelo, filmmaker, “The Myth and Media of Lizzie Borden.”
    • For information about the lectures or “Parallel Lives,” or to reserve a copy of the book, call 508-679-1071 or visit
  • Lizzie haunts on Halloween!

    ghostsmallThe Eagle Performing Arts Center on North Main Street in Fall River will be hosting  LIZZIE BORDEN LIVE  in a special All Hallows’ Eve Celebration on Oct 31st at 8p.m.  Come dressed as your favorite character from the story!  Bring out those leg o’ mutton sleeves, lace and hats, feather fans, boaters and frock coats! Are you a quiet Emma Borden- savvy attorney Mr. Jennings- or an enigmatic Miss Lizzie? Grand prize: one stay at the Lizzie Borden B&B! Tickets $25 available at  


  • Lizzie Borden’s Favorite Hymn


    Sung by Vida Turner at Lizzie’s private wake, many seem to find meaning in Lizzie’s requested and favorite hymn. Rev. Cleveland from the Church of the Ascension on Rock St. gave the prayers to a select few employees.  Miss Turner received a check for her services and was told not to repeat where she had been.  This version is from a period hymnal and the text is the text Lizzie would have known.  Do you see any hidden significance? Try it at home on your piano.

  • She’s back . . . . .





    Friday the 13th   thru   The Ides of March

    “Sweet, innocent, witty and savagely murderous.”

    Ed Wismer, Cape May Star and Wave


     ~ Columbus Theatre ~

    270 Broadway, 2nd floor ~ Cinematheque

    Providence, RI  02903

    (Accessible by stairs only)

     …Think you know her?…Think again….


    Written & Performed by: Jill Dalton

    Directed by: Jack McCullough                       Music by: Larry Hochman

    Lighting Design by: John P. Boomer


     Friday March 13, 2009 ~ 8:00 p.m.

     Saturday March 14, 2009 ~ 8:00 p.m.

    Sunday March 15, 2009 ~ 3:00 p.m.

    Advance Tickets ~ $25.00


    Click on “SCHEDULE “

    or purchase at the door


     JILL Dalton As: Lizzie Borden

    Winner 2007 Jacoby Award:


    “The nod goes to Jill Dalton for her Lizzie Borden in “Lizzie Borden Live.” She runs the gamut of emotions in her performance from that of a mild Christian woman to a ruthless murderer. Her reenactment of the murder of her mother (it was my stepmother!) and father is a chilling scene in this play and Dalton, who also wrote the script, vividly brings it to the audience.”

    Jacob Schaad Jr., The Cape May Gazette



    Dalton is nothing less than superb in her depiction of the character, as her Lizzie is alternating sweet, innocent, witty and savagely murderous. The audience is left to decide which Lizzie is the real one.”   Cape May Star Wave

    “I heartily recommend you see Lizzie Borden Live. . . . complex and most interesting Lizzie, in the person of Jill Dalton.   

    Cape May Star Wave

    “Absorbing performance . . . Dalton runs the gamut of emotions from supposedly mild Christian woman to that of a ruthless murderer.” 

    Cape May Gazette

    “Everything from Jill’s facial features (like Lizzie herself) to the way her voice can change throughout the play makes for compelling and oddly sympathetic viewing.”   Exit Zero

    “Truly superb . . . the script is fascinating. Jill Dalton is an astonishingly talented actress – she changes her mood and characters in a split second. The play should get a Pulitzer.”   

    Charles Alexander, writer for Time Magazine


    “Miss Dalton’s performance is a tour de force” 

     Richard Behrens, The Hatchet: Journal of Lizzie Borden Studies


    “Our audience comes to see Lizzie Borden Live expecting to find a monster….

    and instead they find themselves.” Jack McCullough, Director of Lizzie Borden Live



    Lizzie Borden Live was originally commissioned by: East Lynn Theater Company, Cape May, NJ


  • Happy Birthday Nance O’Neil


    One interview most Lizziephiles would loved to have had is with Lizzie’s close friend, actress Nance O’Neil.  Their intense friendship from 1904-1906 has aroused much speculation over the years.

    Born Gertrude Lamson on October 8, 1874 in Oakland, California, Miss O’Neil would enjoy great success on the stage.  She played at the Academy Theatre in Fall River and was a guest at Maplecroft.  Her estate in Tynsboro, Massachusetts is now a convent and school.  The two parted company in 1906, with Miss O’Neil always giving favorable comment about her old friend.  Nance died in Englewood, NJ in a home for aged actors in 1965.  Her ashes are deposed with those of her husband, actor Alfred Hickman (who died in 1931) in California.  These are her film credits, courtesy of International Movie Database.

    1. False Faces (1932) …. Mrs. Finn
      … aka What Price Beauty? (UK)
    2. Okay, America! (1932) …. Mrs. Drake (replaced by Virginia Howell)
      … aka The Penalty of Fame (UK)
    3. Westward Passage (1932) (uncredited) …. Mrs. von Stael
    4. Secret Service (1931/I) …. Mrs. Varney
    5. Their Mad Moment (1931) …. Grand Mere
    6. A Woman of Experience (1931) …. Countess Runyi
      … aka Registered Woman
    7. Transgression (1931) …. Honora ‘Nora’ Maury
    8. The Good Bad Girl (1931) …. Mrs. Henderson
    9. Resurrection (1931) …. Princess Marya
    10. Cimarron (1931) …. Felice Venable
    11. The Royal Bed (1931) …. Queen Martha
      … aka The Queen’s Husband (UK)
    12. The Eyes of the World (1930) …. Myra
    13. Call of the Flesh (1930) …. Mother Superior
    14. The Florodora Girl (1930) …. Mrs. Vibart
      … aka The Gay Nineties (UK)
    15. The Lady of Scandal (1930) …. Lady ‘Ducky’ Trench
      … aka The High Road (UK)
    16. The Rogue Song (1930) …. Princess Alexandra
    17. Ladies of Leisure (1930) …. Mrs. Strong
    18. His Glorious Night (1929) …. Eugenie
      … aka Breath of Scandal
    19. The Mad Woman (1919)
    20. The Fall of the Romanoffs (1917) …. Czarina Alexandra
    21. The Final Payment (1917) …. Nina
    22. Hedda Gabler (1917) …. Hedda Gabler
    23. Mrs. Balfame (1917) …. Mrs. Balfame
    24. The Seventh Sin (1917) …. Alma
    25. Greed (1917) …. Alma
    26. The Seven Deadly Sins (1917) …. Alma (Greed) & (Seventh Sin)
    27. The Iron Woman (1916) …. Sarah Maitland
    28. The Toilers (1916) …. Jane Brett
      … aka Those Who Toil (USA)
    29. The Flames of Johannis (1916) …. Zirah/Marika
      … aka The Fires of Johannis
      … aka The Fires of St. John
    30. The Witch (1916) …. Zora Fernandez
    31. Souls in Bondage (1916) …. Rosa Brenner
    32. A Woman’s Past (1915) …. Jane Hawley
    33. Princess Romanoff (1915) …. Princess Fedora Romanoff
    34. Kreutzer Sonata (1915) …. Miriam Friedlander
      … aka Sonata (UK)
    35. The Count of Monte Cristo (1913) …. Mercedes

  • Lizbeth of Maplecroft

    The following poem (click on poem for full size) was written by Michael Wilkerson for the Barrister Production of The Country Lawyer.  A copy was at each place on the tables at the Quequechan Club for guests to take home as a souvenir back in 1993.

  • Lizzie’s Spurned Friend


    Alice Russell, the former Borden neighbor and close family friend who testified about Lizzie burning a dress in the kitchen woodstove the day after the funeral services for Andrew and Abby Borden, lived very close to French Street and Maplecroft years after the acquittal. Miss Alice Russell, who was a bookkeeper, clerk and sewing teacher over the course of her employed years in the city, moved into the house above, #18 Hillside, with her mother in 1909 and continued to reside  in the two-family home until 1929.  

    Hillside is perhaps two blocks from French Street and Lizzie’s Maplecroft home. Lizzie and her sister Emma moved into Maplecroft in September of 1893, the autumn after Lizzie’s acquittal. Lizzie resided there until her death in 1927.  Older sister Emma left Maplecroft and her sister for reasons not entirely known in 1905, and is rumored never to have been in her sister’s physical presence again.

    Alice Russell earned Lizzie’s contempt after giving the damaging testimony about the burnt dress, and was no longer one of Lizzie’s intimate friends forever afterward.  With the two ladies living in such proximity, there must have been some awkward moments as they passed on the street over that eighteen year period.

    Alice Russell spent her days from 1930 until she died in 1941 at the Home for the Aged, now The Adams House, on Highland Avenue.  She is buried in Beech Grove Cemetery in nearby Westport.


    Adams House today on Highland Avenue

  • Emma’s Great Escape

    Lizzie’s quiet older sister Emma kept a great deal to herself and was of a retiring nature. The reason for her sudden 1905 departure from the shared domicile of Maplecroft is not known for certain but there is much speculation it had to do with Lizzie’s entertaining of theatre people including rising stage star Nance O’Neil, and possibly the frivolity at Maplecroft which might have included alcoholic beverages at these theatre party soirees. Emma lived in Fall River and Providence for the years following their separation, and just perhaps her trip to England and Scotland in 1906, which followed hard upon their split, was to get away from the unpleasantness on French Street. The passenger list gives her age as 55 at the time of the voyage- certainly mature for a first visit away from the country. There is no record found to date of any other foray into a wider world for quiet Emma.


    The White Star liner Cymric


  • Popular Print- “Alone”

    A painting or print which Lizzie allegedly gave to her handyman in partial payment for work done seems to have its origin in a very popular and often duplicated  print of the 1880’s. This one pictured below is now appearing on EBAY, the auction closes tomorrow, and is an oil copy.  Here is what the seller has to say :

    “This decorative 1880s painting based on a popular print depicts a sorrowful young woman seated in a flat bottomed boat in the moonlight. It is painted in oil on academy board and appears to be unsigned. The piece measures 16 x 27 ½” overall with the back rabbet opening of the frame 12 1/2” x 24”. The frame has wonderful untouched original gilt and lemon gilt surface with minimal wear and loss. I see no overpaint. ” Did Lizzie have a copy- or the original?  Was this print of any particular significance to Lizzie, or merely a popular print of the day like so many others?


  • The Lights Are Warm and Coloured


    It was a good day ebaying.  This short play set at Maplecroft was a great buy at $4.10- of course the shipping from the U.K. was more than the cost of the slim volume. It is a first edition, but the condition is not prime, thus the price reflects that.  Here is what the seller has to say:

    This is an unusual play as it is written for two men and six women. Plays where the women outnumber men are few and far between. Set in 1905, it is several years after Lizzie Borden’s trial and aquittal, following the murder of her father and stepmother. She lives with her sister in another house in the same district. One evening she invites a number of players from a visiting touring company for the evening. They re-enact the circumstances of the crime, playing various characters involved. Later the Bordens receive an unexpected visit from Bridget Sullivan who was their servant at the time of the crime, and a crucial witness. It transpires that afterwards Lizzie gave her a sum of money. Why? To conceal her own guilt? Or was Bridget, in fact, the murderess? No firm conclusions are possible, but as the final curtain suggests, this solution might at least be imaginable.Characters:

    • Emma Borden
    • Maggie
    • Nance O’Neil
    • Tom Fuller
    • Annie Beale
    • Henry Webb
    • Lizzie Borden
    • The Visitor

    The action takes place in the living room of ‘Maplecroft’ – a large house in Fall River, Massachusetts, USA, 1905.59 pages including all the usual additions one would expect from a French Acting Edition. Published by Samuel French, 1980. This is the first edition. 


  • Nance O’Neil- Secrets to the Grave

    nance.jpgLizzie’s reputed close relationship with actress Nance O’Neil caused nearly as much scandal and speculation as the murder trial itself.  Meeting in 1904, the actress, who was always short of funds, recognized in Lizzie a wealthy patron and benefactress.

    The late-night cavorting at Maplecroft, alcohol and merrymaking  with the theatre folks proved too much for Lizzie’s prim older sister Emma who left French Street suddenly in 1905.  Nance played the Fall River Academy Theatre which is still standing today as a luxury apartment complex, and the Providence Opera House which has felt the wrath of the wrecker’s ball.

    By 1906 the brief and intense friendship had waned and Nance went on to a moderately successful career in Hollywood, never receiving the acclaim there she had enjoyed on the stage.  She died in Engelwood , New Jersey in 1965 in a home for ageing screen divas-taking her secrets of life with Lizzie to the grave.


  • Lizzie’s Library. The Inner Sanctum

    window1.jpgmantle.jpgOf all the rooms in Maplecroft, none other captures the intimate and personal insight into the nature of Lizzie than her library. It is found on the east side of the house on the second floor and consists of two modest rooms accessed by passing through one to another by way of a pair of French doors.  The first room contains the carved mantelpiece which features deeply–incised Scottish thistles and At Hame In My Ain Countrie in bold script.  This is the title of a hymn said to be beloved of Lizzie and which she is supposed to have had sung by local church soprano, Vida Turner at her funeral.  This would have been the room where a comfortable settee would have been found, perhaps a footstool, chaise or upholstered chair-and quite likely a lady’s writing desk with exquisite embossed stationery and writing implements in a pen tray.  This is also the  room where light from the one generous window streamed through in shades of amber -gold, for the pane held a magnificent example of stained glass.  

    Around the top of the wallpapered walls, an embossed cove molding  boasts a floral motif which once was gilded but is now painted with the flowers picked out in color.  Through the French doors is the book room where a wide variety of titles once lined the floor to ceiling shelves.  There was probably once a library ladder so Lizzie could reach the topmost shelves.  Her books, lush with rich bindings and gilt titles facing into the room, must have been a sumptuous feast for the eye.  In some would be found her little bookplate, in others her LAB inscribed initials.  Today the stained glass is missing from the library window, its location unknown.

    What a haven of repose this little corner of the world must have been on a snowy day with a roaring fire, hot cider and a faithful canine companion !  It truly must have been a palace within a mansion, and “hame” in her ain countrie.


      Library window   window2.jpg (click on photo for large image)

     Below (left):  Two stained glass windows currently viewable on the foyer staircase .




  • Driving Miss Lizzie

    Among the dwindling circle of Lizzie’s friends in Fall River, surely her faithful chauffeur and confidante, Mr. Ernest, was golden in her estimation.  It is said Mr. Ernest would bring the car around front and take Lizzie on jaunts out to the country on sunny days, her little dog in the backseat wagging his stubby tail and panting with excitement. Lizzie had one of the first automobiles in the city- a black “Tin Lizzy”. Lizzie had a turntable installed in the wide garage which had been her carriage house so Mr. Ernest could drive in, then spin the car around facing out to avoid having to back up.

    Lizzie remembered those loyal few handsomely in her will, including longtime friend, Helen Leighton, her household staff, and her kindly chauffeur. Mr. Terry now reposes for eternity in Oak Grove Cemetery, along with so many of those who knew Lizzie.