• Bertha Manchester- that other hatchet job. . .

    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

  • Providence Journal Launches Six-Part Serial for the 120th Anniversary of Lizzie’s Acquittal

    ProjoA much-anticipated series debuted today in the Sunday Providence Journal. ” Projo” writer Paul Davis certainly did his homework for this six-part article which runs all week and features some new, never-before-published information. The writing is crisp, accurate and thought-provoking and highlights trial coverage from 1893 Providence Journals.  Lizziephiles will be over the moon with the expansive coverage.  If you cannot obtain a hard copy of the paper, read all about it at the newspaper online link.

    http://www.providencejournal.com/topics/special-reports/lizzie-borden-anniversary/content/20130621-part-one-to-me-i-see-nothing-but-the-densest-of-shadows.ece

    A short trailer was put up on Saturday night to heighten anticipation.

    http://m.providencejournal.com/projo/db_/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DDG8ZlUp

    A promotional online video is also on the Projo site and Youtube which features Warps and Wefts writer, Shelley Dziedzic who made a tour with Journal reporter Paul Davis in May.  The tour encompassed all things “Lizzie” in and around Fall River and a jaunt to the New Bedford courthouse to visit the scene where the 1893 trial unfolded.

  • Bridget Sullivan – “Stern, Humorless- and mean”?

    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.

  • A Red Letter Day in Fall River

    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!

  • Come and Get It!

    Put on your best bonnet and race to the corner of Rock and Maple Streets on Sunday, November 20th between noon and 3 p.m

      It’s Here!

    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?

  • Lizzie Reigns in October

    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

  • Bad news day

    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.

  • Not Guilty! 128 Years Ago

    The Gazette had an article marking Lizzie’s acquittal anniversary on June 20th.

    http://www.tauntongazette.com/news/x536836292/Lizzie-Borden-found-not-guilty-118-years-ago-today

    A welcome home party was given for Lizzie at the home of Charles and Marianna Holmes on Pine Street on the day of the acquittal.  Their house is still standing.  Those waiting outside the murder house on Second Street, hoping for a glimpse of Lizzie, were disappointed.

    Below:  The Holmes house on Pine Street today, the scene of Lizzie’s triumphant return to Fall River, a free woman.  It is now subdivided into several apartments.  In the background, steeple of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension on Rock St. (now called Holy Spirit).

  • Another unsolved axe murder of five

     

    August must be a bad month for homicide.  Curiously enough, on August 3, 1877 the bodies of Mr. Lewis Spencer and his four children were found hacked to bits in the family home and barn.  The Clark County, Missouri killings apparently occured on August 2nd and the bodies found by a family relative on the 3rd.  Mr. Spencer was a deacon at the Bethlehem Baptist Church near Luray, Missouri, and was a tax collector.  He often kept a large amount of cash in the home which was found to be missing at the time of the murders.   It may have had something to do with the murders.  The Spencer family had suffered the loss of Mrs. Spencer and two other young children prior to the murders.  All are buried together in the family plot. 

    Two men were put on trial for the deed but were acquitted while another suspect from Keokuk was set upon by an angry mob and hanged for the killings even though there was no proof he did it.  One suspect was the brother of Mrs. Spencer. The murder weapon was found at the back of the house covered in blood and there was the appearance that more than one killer might be involved.   Each victim was hit one to three times in the head, a fact which contrasts widely to the 19 blows to Abby Borden and the 10-11 to Andrew Borden in the Lizzie Borden case.

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F50616F63D5A127B93C7A91783D85F438784F9  Link to New York Times Article

    and an excellent detailed account of trials and crime scene here http://boards.ancestry.com/localities.northam.usa.states.missouri.counties.clark/793.1.1.1/mb.ashx

  • Spinner Publications & Keeley Library

    Although many of these publications are out of print, Amazon and Ebay frequently have Volume 3 and 4 of Spinner at a good price.  Volume 4 has many wonderful old photos of Fall River and New Bedford, and features articles and interviews which give invaluable details of the “good old days”.  Mrs. Florence Brigham, former curator of the Fall River Historical Society, gives a memorable interview about her memories growing up in the city. The history of ice cream parlors in New Bedford is another article full of information and charm.

    Spinner Publications http://www.spinnerpub.com/Home.html site posts on new publications, calendars, maps, etc. and maintains an unparalleled archives of vintage photos.

    Also not to be missed, for the serious student of Fall River history, is the Keeley Library Online collection of photographs and postcards, Fall River yearbooks and articles- many hours of free online material to enjoy if you cannot come to Fall River. http://www.sailsinc.org/durfee/fulltext.htm (articles)  http://sailsinc.org/Durfee/ (index page)  http://sailsinc.org/Durfee/fallriver.htm (vintage slides of the city)

  • Author Rich Lindberg visits Fall River

     

    (Rich Lindberg with Ellen Smith and Jack Faria at the Fall River Art Association)

    Among the special guests at the recent Second Street Irregulars’ annual reunion was Chicago history writer Rich Lindberg.  Mr. Lindberg , a newcomer to the Borden case, has a new book coming out in May on serial killers in the heartland, notably the infamous black widow, Belle Gunness and Johann Hoch.  The “Muttoneaters” enjoyed an evening of hearing about the new book from the author and the author learned a lot about Lizzie Borden as he toured Fall River, Swansea, New Bedford, Marion and Fairhaven and stayed four days at #92 Second Street.  Mr. Lindberg will be bringing the Borden case to Chicago in a lecture format in the near future.  http://richardlindberg.net/index.htm

  • The Buzz is Global on HBO project

    Chances are if you Goggle Lizzie Borden under the “News” heading, you will find several pages of stories on the Chloe Sevigny HBO project for a four hour mini-series, including stories in Polish, French, Russian and Italian!  And if you live in Connecticut, Rhode Island or Massachusetts, tonight at 6 p.m., Channel 10 news jumped on the promotion band wagon.  With all of the very positive buzz and excitement, it is hard to believe Tom Hanks and Playtone would change their mind about producing the four -hour series.  To view the Channel 10 clip, http://www2.turnto10.com/entertainment/2011/mar/17/sevigny-may-play-lizzie-borden-miniseries-ar-426649/

    The casting of Miss Sevigny as Lizzie is spot-on.  She has all the right physical attributes, right down to the mesmerizing and unsettling eyes, and is of the right age to pull it off.  She is also a better-than-good actress.  It will be very interesting to see who will be cast in the major roles.   Maybe Uncle John Morse will be included this time around.

     Due to street noise and the encroachment of modern living, and many other factors, the house on Second Street will not be a likely candidate for the  filming venue.  The 1975 Elizabeth Montgomery attempt did a pretty fair job of recreating Borden house interiors on stage sets. 

    There are very high hopes in Fall River, among the Borden house bed and breakfast employees, and students of the Borden case and Fall River history that this version will get the facts right and do the story justice.  Playtone and Hanks are synonymous with quality productions, so the end result holds very great promise.  It is surprising that it has taken so long to revisit the case and Lizzie Borden as the topic has been building momentum and interest since the Borden house opened for business in 1996.

    The buzz about the upcoming  Fall River Historical Society’s Parallel Lives, detailing Lizzie’s life and Fall River has been the hot topic around Fall River for many months as it promises revelations about Miss Borden which will open a few eyes.  The date of publication has not yet been announced but the long-awaited tome is in final proofing and chances are  it will be published by late Spring.  The nearly thousand -page volume will feature over 500 photographs, including some new views of Lizzie herself, and will disspell some commonly -held notions about her. It will be a must-read for Miss Sevigny and should have some major impact on her characterization of the enigmatic Lizzie. The series will probably have an early 2012 air date according to some sources.

     In any event, Lizzie is bigger now than ever, and the upcoming series will be a boon to the city as well as book sales of Parallel Lives.  It will be a very exciting year ahead.

    http://screenrant.com/hbo-chloe-sevigny-lizzie-borden-miniseries-yman-106311/

  • It’s Official- HBO Mini-Series Greenlighted

     

    Chloe Sevigny is Lizzie Borden
    Chloe Sevigny is Lizzie Borden

    “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. ”

    Sources: Deadline