Diaries Trigger Fresh Look at Lizzie Borden
May show a more sympathetic side of Borden
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2012 12:40 PM CDT
In this Aug. 20, 2008, file photo, a photograph of Lizzie Borden hangs on a wall in the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, in Fall River, Mass.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(Newser) – Lizzie Borden is back in the spotlight, more than a century after her murder trial, thanks to her attorney's diaries. The two 100-page handwritten journals, which Andrew Jackson Jennings kept in a Victorian bathtub, were left to the Fall River Historical Society after Jennings' grandson died, ABC News reports. One journal contains newspaper clippings about the 1892 case, in which Borden was acquitted of killing her father and stepmother with an ax, and the other journal contains Jennings' notes from interviews he conducted during the case.

The fragile journals will be exhibited after being properly preserved, says curator Michael Martins, who, along with another curator, published a book about Borden last year that included letters and other documents never before published. The journals and those letters paint Borden's father much more sympathetically than the "villain" he was portrayed as who did not provide for his children, Martins says. The letters also show a more sensitive side of Borden, who was portrayed as cold and emotionless.

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Mar 14, 2012 8:37 PM CDT
My understanding of the story is that dad was a kind man but authoritarian. The whole incest/pedophile thing came up recently and I don't really believe it. Step-mom and Lizzy never did get along and that was the biggest source of tension in the house.I don't necessarily think dad got what he deserved, but then we'll never know for sure. One of those mysteries that will never go away.
Mar 14, 2012 3:55 PM CDT
The actual story goes that dad was a pedophile and step-mom did not step in to stop him. Dad was worth over $500,000 back in the 1880's but refused to bring plumbing into the house. Lizzie never had any boyfriends. Mom and dad got what they had coming.
Mar 14, 2012 2:14 PM CDT
"The letters also show a more sensitive side of Borden, who was portrayed as cold and emotionless." She was sensitive alright she gave dear ole dad 41 whacks,Bless her heart.