It seems whenever people flip their lids and really go off the deep end, we can’t get enough of the story… especially when a questionable court case is involved. This is certainly true in the historic Lizzie Borden double-murder case of 1892, and recently some new info has come to light.
Borden was defended by a lawyer named Andrew Jackson Jennings. At the conclusion of the case, Jennings retained the majority of the evidence. He stored the “handless hatchet,” some bloodstained pillow shams and other items in a Victorian bathtub in his attic. Recently, some very interesting new relics were uncovered…two journals Jennings kept while working on the Lizzie Borden case and there are some interesting bits of info inside.
“It’s all new material, completely unpublished,” said Michael Martins, curator of the Fall River Historical Society, which recently acquired the journals. “It’s the only file Jennings retained, and it’s the first idea we have about how the defense went about building its case.”
The journals were bequeathed to the historical society by Jennings’ grandson who had kept the items quiet for fear that the lawyer’s hard to decipher handwriting could be misquoted.
According to Martins, contained within the journals are newspaper clippings, lists of Jennings’ interviewees and some telling personal comments. Among the most revealing is the fact that Jennings wrote Andrew Borden, Lizzie’s father, would often mention how he enjoyed receiving letters from his daughter. This is in direct correlation to information contained in the book Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River.
“It’s clear from what these people said that Andrew Borden was apparently quite concerned about his daughters’ well-being, and he often referred to them as his girls,” Martins said. “We know now that he was not a gentleman who deprived his daughters of much.” This information flies directly in the face of a common perception of Borden as a grumpy and miserly man.
According to what Martins has read of the journals, it doesn’t currently appear the journals contain a “smoking gun” to definitively prove whether or not Borden killed her father and stepmother, but more digging may unveil future clues. You never know what may turn up.
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