A Guide to Resources on Lizzie Borden at the Somerset Public Library
“Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done she gave her father forty-one!”
Anyone familiar with the greater Fall River area has heard this gruesome rhyme and the crime behind it. In early August 1892, prominent Fall River citizen and businessman Andrew J. Borden and his wife, Abigail, were found murdered in their home. Not long after Andrew’s thirty-three year old daughter, Lizzie, was arrested and put on trial for the crimes. Although she was found “not guilty” of the murders of her father and stepmother, the case has lived on in infamy and information sought after by scholars and casual researchers alike.
Due to the popularity of the subject and the relevance to the local history of the greater Fall River area, the Somerset Public Library has maintained a Lizzie Borden collection in the Local History Room of the Reference Department. In addition, many resources on the history of the city of Fall River and other relevant sources have been collected. This pathfinder is meant to assist researchers working on school projects, as well as those with an interest in the history and local lore that surrounded Lizzie Borden to her death in 1927 and beyond. It may also serve as a starting point for scholarly and professional researchers, and suggestions for more in-depth research are included at the end of the source list.
Please note: the library is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any Internet source.
ResearchFall River Historical Society
Lizzie Borden Collection
One of the foremost collections of Lizzie Borden information and memorabilia. The Fall River Historical Society maintains the hatchet said to have been used in the crime as well as crime scene photographs and other documents pertaining to the case. A must-see for any Lizzie Borden researcher.
Lizzie Borden: Did she take an axe and
murder her father and stepmother?
TruTV’s Crime Library website.
Lizzie Andrew Borden Virtual Museum &
Site run by Pear Tree Press. Contains a virtual museum, blog and even a literary
journal. A wealth of information.
Historical Investigation Into the Past: The Lizzie Borden/ Fall River Case
Created by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Using late nineteenth century primary source materials from the Lizzie Borden axe murder trial and from Fall River, Massachusetts, this project teaches students at all levels to reconstruct the historical past using their own ideas and explorations to explore the evidence at hand. The virtual archive and tools developed for this project include materials not generally available anywhere else for study.”
A work in progress.
Famous Trials: Lizzie Borden, 1893
University of Missouri-Kansas School of Law
An examination of the Lizzie Borden trial with emphasis on the legal issues and
impact of the trial.
Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast / Museum
In 1996 the home where the murders took place, 92 Second Street, was turned into
a Bed & Breakfast. Visitors can tour the crime scenes, sleep in the Bordens’
rooms and even partake in the breakfast foods the Bordens ate on the morning of
Lizzie Borden Society Forum
“A free society devoted to the serious discussion of the Borden murders of 1892,
Fall River, and Victorian America”
Tattered Fabric: Fall River’s Lizzie Borden
Blog run by an amateur Lizzie Borden researcher who has been studying the Borden case and collecting memorabilia for over forty years.
Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts Blog
A Blog about Lizzie Borden, the Borden murders and the Victorian Age in Fall River.
Pear Essential Productions
Home of the Bordenians, a stage group that brings Lizzie Borden to life.
Parallel lives : a social history of Lizzie A. Borden and her Fall River
by Martins, Michael
Publisher: Fall River Historical Society, c2010.
The Lizzie Borden "axe murder" trial : a headline
by Axelrod-Contrada, Joan.
Publisher: Enslow Publishers, c2000.
Lizzie didn't do it!
by Masterton, William L., 1927-
Publisher: Branden, c2000.
For More Information
For more information we suggest the following organizations (all of the following
organizations hold primary source material pertaining to the case, as well as
extensive secondary source collections):
Fall River Historical Society
451 Rock Street
Fall River, MA 02720
Fall River Public Library
104 North Main Street
Fall River, MA 02720
Fall River Police Department
685 Pleasant Street
Fall River, MA 02721
Check our online catalog for a complete listing of sources
Borden, Lizzie 1860 - 1927
Fall River (Mass.) - History
Fall River (Mass.) -- History -- Bibliography
Trials (Murder) -- New Bedford -- Massachusetts
Lizzie Borden - Vertical File
The Somerset Public Library maintains the following Vertical Files containing newspaper clippings related to Lizzie Borden:
Borden, Lizzie—Films, Theater, TV
Many other clippings and articles related to the history of the Fall River area are
also maintained. Please ask the Reference Librarian for assistance.