New evidence has surfaced from the case of Lizzie Borden, the Massachusetts woman who was acquitted of murder after being accused of killing her father and stepmother in 1892, according to ABC News.
Journals written by Borden’s attorney Andrew Jackson Jennings may not solve the mystery of Borden’s involvement, but they do provide insight to the main characters in the trial — Lizzie Borden, her father Andrew Borden, and her stepmother Abby.
On August 4, 1892, after a falling out with her father and a mysterious dislike for her stepmom, Borden allegedly butchered both of them with a hatchet in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts.
In the summer of 1893, Borden was acquitted of the charges at the age of 32. After the trial, she was portrayed as a cold-hearted individual and her father a strict man who didn’t provide for his daughters.
An unsettling rhyme was also formulated after the murders: “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks, when she saw what she had done she gave her father 41.”
The actual number was less than 20, and the portrayal of Borden as an emotionless axe murderer has been called into question.
According to ABC News, the lawyer’s journals, along with the infamous “handless hatchet,” were sent to the Fall River Historical Society by Jennings’ grandson and revealed about a month ago.
Curator Michael Martins, who reviewed the journals, published 40 letters written by Borden herself while she was held in prison pending the trial, showing her sensitive, grieving side.
Martins said that the letters showed Borden’s love for her father. “That’s a new side to the story,” he added.
The letters and journals kept by Jennings, Martin said, also show that Borden’s father was not the evil man he was portrayed as.
“You have to create villains in order to justify the murders, and Andrew Borden is portrayed as evil,” he said, “but he gave his daughters a lot more than some other fathers were giving theirs.”
The journals are old and fragile, so the curator has not been able to go through all of them, but based on what he’s read he concluded that people enjoy fiction over fact, which the curator reasons is why the rhyme and other false views of Borden have endured.
“Most of what is known about Lizzie Borden is based on legend, innuendo and outright lies,” Martins said.