Welcome Home Miss Lizzie

Lizziedover1The Eagle Performing Arts Center

35 North Main Street  

Second Floor


Lizzie Borden is coming back home to Fall River on the 116th anniversary of her acquittal in New Bedford Superior Court this June 20th.    New York writer and actress, Jill  Dalton,  resurrects the spirit of Fall River’s most infamous character in a chilling, solo performance entitled,

Lizzie Borden Live 

            “I wanted to give Lizzie a voice to tell her own story following her day in court,” stated Ms. Dalton.  “That’s something she was not able to do when she was doped up on morphine during her famous murder trial.”
    Lizzie Andrew Borden was found innocent in a court of law, but judged guilty in the court of public opinion.  She was condemned by society and shunned in her hometown.  Ms. Dalton powerfully evokes Lizzie’s emotional turmoil and psychic trauma. She wrote the play from Lizzie’s point of view so that “the audience can hear her side of the story for the first time.”
      The legend comes to life with humor, empathy and insight when Lizzie steps on stage at the Eagle Performing Arts Center on 35 North Main Street at 8 PM on Saturday, June 20th.   This production, sponsored by the Luso American Gallery of Antiquities, is funded in part by grants from the John and Abigail Adams Program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Four Cities Collaborative of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.  
      “In addition to this state support, the Mayor’s Office and the Arts Uniting Fall River collaborative have participated in the planning and promotion of this community event and fundraiser,” noted LAGOA curator, Stephen L. Cabral. “Our organization is committed to promoting the arts, preserving our cultural history and providing scholarship funds for promising students. Lizzie Borden Live will help support these goals.”
      Jill Dalton is an award winning New York actress with a long list of television and theatre credits.  She has appeared in Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, As the World Turns, All my Children, One Life to Live and Saturday Night Live.   The East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May, New Jersey commissioned this play, which opened to standing ovations from the audience and critics alike.  Ms. Dalton won the 2007 Jacoby Award for her portrayal in Lizzie Borden Live. This dramatic crime thriller is set 13 years after the double murder at Maplecroft, the Highlands mansion Lizzie bought with money inherited from her father.  According to the Red Rock News of Sedona, Arizona: 
      “Dalton gives a compelling performance capturing the humanity, humor, irony and sadness of a woman who had time to reflect on horrific events.  She enacts a Lizzie that has never been portrayed anywhere in stage, screen or literature. ”
Fall River native son, Jack McCullough, is the director of the show, which has toured New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Arizona.  Mr. McCullough, a graduate of the Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Providence, RI, has also made his mark on stage and screen, but prefers to work behind the scenes of Lizizie Borden Live.  Jack has envisioned this homecoming since the play first opened.  He insists that this production will make the audience think twice.
      “We are very excited about performing on stage in the heart
      of Lizzie’s old neighborhood.  Jill and Lizzie have a compelling
      story to tell.  People come to see Lizzie expecting to find a monster and instead they discover themselves.”
    Check your calendar and order your $40 tickets from LAGOA, Inc. by calling 508-673-6624.   Seating is limited to 160 so make your reservations now.  The doors of the Eagle Performing Arts Center will open at 6:30 PM.  Harpist, Judy Mitchell will set the musical tone for the night, and members of the Mutton Eaters, dressed in period garb, will greet and engage the guests at the light buffet and cash bar prior to the show.
Lizzie Borden Live challenges the audience to rethink the legend that is Lizzie Borden.  Think you know her?  Think again!  
Stephen L. Cabral, Ph.D.
Luso American Gallery of Antiquities, Inc. (LAGOA)
484 Highland Avenue, Fall River, MA  02720
Tel.  508-673-6624

Brownell House Happenings




A visit on April 24th revealed a great change to the house on Green Street where Lizzie Borden’s sister Emma was staying at the time of the murders.  The house is undergoing extensive renovations. The back kitchen annex is demolished, the heavy vegetation is removed, and the house has received siding recently. The interiors have been gutted and rewired with the walls stripped back to the studs.  The graceful staircase to the second floor just inside the front door will remain, as well as the handsome wide-planked floors and the original wide granite base slab for the front exterior stairs.  The lightening fixture shown in the entry foyer was of course added on some time after the original construction. The owner of the property who is ordering the renovation plans to move in soon.  Neighbors out on the street seem happy something is finally being done to clean up the old property.

House of Secrets




One by one, over the years, the homes on Second Street between Spring and Borden streets have been demolished.  Miraculously the Andrew Borden house has survived as well as the neighboring house to the south.  Emma and Lizzie’s good friend Alice Russell had lived in this unpreposing cape-style home and thus became well-acquainted with the Bordens.  Alice was a key witness at Lizzie’s trial, stayed with the family for some days after the murders, and testified about Lizzie burning a dress in the kitchen woodstove the day after the funerals of Abby and Andrew Borden.

On the day of the murders, Mrs. Caroline Kelly, wife of pediatrician Dr. Michael Kelly,(new occupants to the house next door) saw Andrew Borden trying to enter his home around 10:45.  She was on her way to the dentist and was probably the last non-family member to see Andrew Borden alive.  Most Borden historians still refer to the house as the “Kelly House”.

Several decades before the Borden murders, a Mrs. Ladowick Borden, depressed and at wits’ end, threw three children in the old cistern at this house.  The two young boys died, but her daughter survived. Mrs. Ladowick Borden went upstairs and slit her throat with her husband’s straight razor. Who knows why.  This is a house with dark secrets and tragedy to rival that of #92 Second Street.  And today the two houses of death and horror remain-sole survivors of the wrecker’s ball. The Kelly house is for sale-for anyone who wants a house with a history.

A banner year for Mass. Superior Court



2009 markes the 150th anniversary for the Massachusetts Superior courts.  lady-justiceMany events and displays are on tap for the year . Of particular interest is this notation on their web site

“Lizzie Borden, Redux ~ Multiple dates and locations

 New Bedford Superior Courthouse ~ September 24

Fall River Superior Courthouse ~ October 22

 Taunton Superior Courthouse ~ November 19

 Ms. Borden was acquitted of the murder of her father

and mother and no other suspect was ever identified.

The trial, which took place in 1893 in the New Bedford

Superior Court, continues to interest and intrigue the

public. Not a re-enactment but in a mock trial, Ms.

Borden will be tried again with two lawyers serving as

team prosecutors and two lawyers as team defense. The

audience will vote a verdict.”

To see a listing of all the big doings for the year visit http://www.mass.gov/courts/press/summary-of-events.pdf

Lizzie Borden’s Morgan Street School

Lizzie Borden was fortunate to come of school-going age after Fall River’s post-Civil War school reform wave hit the city. The Morgan Street, School, which became the N.B. Borden School on Morgan  St. was built in 1868 and is an imposing structure.  The front roof cupola is gone now, but the wonderful woodwork still survives.  The school was closed two years ago and is now vacant and awaiting a new purpose.  There are no plans for demolition at this date. Lizzie was at school here until she was 14 ( 1874) when she went on to the Fall River High School. She became a high school drop out in her junior year.

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


Bridget’s Story


The Borden Case Fitchburg Daily Sentinel August 27, 1892

FALL RIVER Aug. 27.—The examination of Bridget Sullivan was continued

in the Borden hearing, this morning, Witness said that Mrs. Borden  told her she and and Mr. Borden were sick on Tuesday night. They had been vomiting and looked sick when Lizzie came downstairs. Lizzie said she had been sick, but witness did not notice that she looked  unwell. Witness had never seen Lizzie in tbe barn. She recognized the laugh in the upper hall way, spoken of yesterday, as that of Lizzie Borden. The night before witness ate some of the mutton soup that had been warmed over several times, and next morning felt a little sick. She went out into the yard to vomit; it was at that time that Lizzie was eating breakfast.


Witness said Mrs. Borden told her, Thursday morning, after breakfast, to wash the windows, that morning. Witness was sure Lizzie had coffee and cake for breakfast She did not read any, that morning; witness drank some milk; don’t know whether others did or not, but do know Mr. Borden had some of it on his toast in the morning.

Since the tragedies occured, she had never seen Miss Borden crying. At the conclusion of District Attorney Knowlton’s questioning, Lawyer Adams began his Cross-examination of witness. An official who stands high in the government that he has no hesitation in saying he believes Lizzie Borden guilty of the murders. He bases his judgment largely on the evidence of Bridget Sullivan at the examination, yesterday afternoon.


Bridget’s testimony and witness statement don’t do much to alleviate the suspicion of Lizzie’s guilt.  The article above records some interesting statements.  The pressing question is, of course, why did Bridget change her mind about hearing Lizzie laugh at the top of the stairs when Andrew Borden came in the front door?  At the Grand Jury Trial, Bridget will claim “I don’t know where the girl was.”  It would also be interesting to know who the official “high in the government” was who, thanks to Bridget’s testimony, was convinced Lizzie was guilty.  And then, there is the great revelation that Andrew Borden was a “milquetoast” as he saturated his toast with milk. Perhaps it was stale- along with the mutton soup.

A flaw in the Jury


An article by Lucy Stone in the Newport Mercury June 1893:

A Flaw in the Jury System.

James W. Clarke, in the New York Recorder, discussing the present jury system, makes the following sensible suggestion in behalf of a woman juror in cases where a woman is on trial. Another jury reform suggests itself in connection with the Borden jury. Here is a woman put upon trial for her life, accused of a crime the alleged motive for which was a malicious enmity of  long growth against her stepmother,with the principal witness against her a woman—the whole case from beginning to end enveloped in a womanly atmosphere,and attended by circumstances of a domestic nature, of which the average woman would instinctively,and simply because she is a woman, be a better judge than the average man—and yet there is not one woman on the jury. I know that tbe law as it stands does not permit the presence of women on juries; but why not change the law, and correct another anomaly—to my thinking, one of the greatest anomalies—of trial by jury as it exists today? The old common law theory of the jury was that every accused person had a right to be tried by a jury of his peers or equals, drawn from the vicinitywhere the crime charged against him was committed. The centuries’ old assumption that is quietly made at New Bedford is, of course, that a jury of twelve men is not only a jury of the peers and equals, but of the superiors, of any woman who may be arraigned for trial. But the nineteenth century would seem to be old enough now to concede that a woman on trial for her life or liberty has the right to have equal sex representation on the jury that is to pass upon her guilt or innocence. Slowly, perhaps, but surely, the idea is growing that a jury ought to be composed of men and women, and that a woman especially should have a jury of her peers, not her sovereigns, as in the case of Lizzie Borden. LUCY STONE.

The new face of Second Street


It’s been a rough winter in Fall River with plenty of ice and snow as the familiar name in the photo below will testify.


But work on the new court house continues slowly.  The building looms over South Main Street and the back of the building dominates Second Street just across from the Borden house.  At one time the twin spires of St. Anne’s and the single steeple of St. Mary’s were the landmarks easily spotted from the Braga Bridge top-now the court house steals all the thunder.

Nance O’Neil 1911


‘Who, in the “Lily” under Belasco’s management has demonstrated her right to be considered the great actress the admirers of her earlier work prophesied. (from American Magazine  August, 1911)’nance1911

Nance is shown with a come-hither look all decked out in Titanic-era cartwheel hat with feathers.  At this point Lizzie Borden was a long-gone memory as Nance advanced with her stage and film career. Nance, always somewhat of a spendthrift, sold her large estate in Tyngsboro, MA (where Lizzie once visited) with 250 acres of it purchased by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1907.  It is now the site for Notre Dame Academy, a co-ed Catholic school. http://www.ndatyngsboro.org/page.cfm?p=13

Baltimore hosts 200th anniversary Poefest!


Those who follow the dark side of Victoriana, murder, mystery and mayhem might consider attending some of the events marking Poe’s 200th birthday.  Although Mr. Poe’s actual birthday on January 19th has just passed, there will be many events year long.  Visit the link  to see what’s in store for 2009 – just imagine what Poe might have made of the Borden story! http://www.nevermore2009.com/

The magic of Rick Geary


Rick Geary has spent a good many years as illustrator and cartoonist, capturing on paper  some pretty grisly tales from the corridors of dark history.  The Borden case caught his fancy and was immortalized as a graphic book, some years ago.  It is a must-have for fans of the case and is available on Amazon for as little as five dollars. 


Mr. Geary also produced a charming paper cutout sheet of the house on Second Street, which was, for a time available for sale at #92. It is not now so readily available.  Once selling for $1.95, the cardstock cutout, which when colored and assembled is a strikingly good facsimile of the house, is now sought after by Bordenites.  If readers know where it might be purchased- send us a comment!

Visit Rick Geary’s website at http://www.rickgeary.com/

Miss Lizzie’s Back in Town!



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE!        January 7, 2009

. . . think you know her? . . . think again.  The legend comes to life.

Back by popular demand.  Due to the overwhelming response “Lizzie Borden Live” is coming back to The Columbus Theatre (2nd floor Cinemateque), 270 Broadway in Providence, R.I. for three performances in March. Friday the 13th at 8:00 p.m., Saturday the 14th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday the 15th (Ides of March) at 3:00 p.m.  Tickets ($25).  Purchase on line at www.lizziebordenlive.com (click on Schedule page) or at the door.

On a hot August morning the bodies of Andrew Borden and his wife were found bludgeoned to death.  Their youngest daughter, Lizzie, became the only suspect.  Innocent in a court of law.  Guilty in the court of public opinion.  Condemned by society….The legend comes to life with humor and insight as the real Lizzie steps on stage.

“Dalton is nothing less than supurb 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.”  Ed Wismer, Cape May Star Wave

Jill Dalton, (writer/performer) an award winning New York actress with a long list of television and theatre credits, was commissioned by the East Lynne Theater Company  in Cape May , N.J. to write the play where it had a successful five week run garnering praise and standing ovations from audiences and critics alike.  Ms Dalton won the 2007 Jacoby Award for her portrayal of Lizzie in Lizzie Borden Live.  Ms. Dalton wants the audience to decide for themselves if Lizzie Borden was guilty of killing her father and step-mother on August 4, 1892.

The true crime thriller is set 13 years after the double murder in Maplecroft, the mansion Lizzie bought with money inherited from her father.  “Dalton gives a compelling performance enacting the humanity, humor, irony and sadness of a woman who’s had time to reflect on horrific events.” Susan Johnson, Red Rock News

Jack McCullough, (director) born in Fall River, said, “We had to get down to the very marrow of the bone, otherwise there’s no point in telling the story.  People come to see Lizzie expecting to see a monster and instead they find themselves.”

Haunting the performance is music written by Emmy winning and Tony nominated orchastrator and composer Larry Hochman, who created his original pieces based on the script and his personal observations during rehearsals.

Dalton’s credits include:  Law and Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Rachel Getting Married, Veronika Decides to Die (2009), Wall Street, Another World,  All My Children, One Life to Live, As The World Turns and Saturday Night Live.  Ms. Dalton was also a stand up comic for several years and won the Mary Jo Comedy Show Award for stand-up comedy in NYC.

McCullough, a graduate of the Trinity Repertory Conseveratory in Providence, R.I., also directed another of Dalton’s solo plays, My Life in the Trenches, most recently at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY and at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the International Midtown Theatre Festival NYC, the One Festival and the 78th Street Theatre Lab in  NYC.  As an actor he appeared in Third Watch, Desperate Measures, The Observer, Osmosis Jones, Spenser: for Hire, Mr. North and Providence.

The Columbus Theatre
(2nd floor Cinemateque)
270 Broadway
Providence, R.I.  02903

Tickets ($25).  Available at www.lizziebordenlive.com (click on Schedule page) and at the door .

Press contact:  Jack McCullough (917) 806-3243 or lizziebordenlive@gmail.com

More Lizzie in 2009 !


newyear1We’re back in 2009!  Hope your holidays were happy and filled with Good Things.  2009 promises to be a great year for Bordenites with several new Lizzie B bios, a re-enactment of the 1893 trial in New Bedford for the 150th anniversary of the Bristol County Courthouse, a few television specials about Lizzie and the case on the boards and in production, and more.  Lizzie Borden Live will be playing in the Providence-Fall River area in March and a few surprises are in store for the upcoming year. 

If you missed the big news last month, a new photo of Emma Borden was located by Hatchet editor, Stefani Koorey http://www.heraldnews.com/town_info/history/x1720687532/A-new-development-in-Borden-history  very exciting !

There are a few new things going on at 92 Second Street as well- stay tuned.  The house is open daily for tours but only open on weekends this month and next for overnight guests.  The mammoth courthouse across the street is building up full tilt and makes quite an impact on Second Street. 

A new blog link just added here, “Slip into Something Victorian” has posted a nice story on a visit in December to Second Street-  http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/lizzie-borden-sensational-victorian-murder/  Enjoy!

It pays to buy quality!


Andrew Borden knew a thing or two about home improvements and value.  The cast iron radiators he put in when the family moved into 92 Second Street in 1872 are still going strong today. Here is a photo taken on the day of the crimes in 1892 of the radiator in the front hallway.


Today, the same radiators heat #92 .  The current boiler is also located in the same place in the cellar that was the location in 1892. Oh, to get a metal detector under that boiler!




Lizzie Borden -The Musical


 “Lizzie Borden – the Musical” was first seen in Teaneck, NJ at the American Stage Festival in 1998, and also had a run at the Goodspeed’s Terris Theatre in Nov. 2001 directed by Bill Castellino.  Here is a 2004 Boston review http://www.theatermania.com/content/news.cfm/story/4713  This is the intriguing poster promo for the Norma Terris (Goodspeed at Chester, CT) production.  The musical is currently shelved, although the CD is available and is well worth buying.  If you have any update on the status of the musical, please leave us a comment.


Back by popular demand!


, ,


Due to overwhelming response LIZZIE BORDEN LIVE is coming back to the Columbus Theatre in Providence in March for three performances.

Friday the 13th @ 8:00 p.m.
Saturday the 14th @ 8:00 p.m.
Sunday the 15th (Ides of March) @ 3:00 p.m.

Tickets $25

Group rates are also available for groups of 10 or more