American Women!
A Celebration of Our History
April 22 -- October 29, 2000

Axe Murderer?


Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one!


She was not convicted of murder, but Lizzie Borden was considered guilty by the townspeople of Fall River, Massachusetts, and most of the scandalized American public. Her father and stepmother were brutally killed with a sharp instrument on August 4, 1892, a day that Lizzie had spent at home. Though one spot of blood was found on her skirt, the clothing worn that day was suspiciously burned before the trial. Though a broken hatchet was found, the evidence was circumstantial.

Regardless of her acquittal, the mystery of the Borden murders would grow in myth and fascination. The axe murders were never solved and Lizzie inherited considerable wealth, but she was shunned by her church and sensationalized in literature and film. Now the house in which the murders took place is The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.

Historic Artifacts:

LEMONADE GLASS belonged to Lizzie Borden, engraved with her initials
CUP and SAUCER belonged to Lizzie
TRAVEL BOOK, with inscription, taken with Lizzie on a trip to Italy after the trial
COPY of Lizzie's indictment on murder charges
PHOTOS of Lizzie, her father and stepmother, and the Borden house
-- On loan from Fall River Historical Society Museum, Fall River MA

PHOTO of court room scene drawing of Lizzie's trial, 1893
-- From the collection of the Library of Congress, Washington DC

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