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Lizzie Borden

Fall River Home, Family Tragedy, A Good Daughter, William H. Moody, Her Day In Court

Born July 19, 1860 (Fall River, Massachusetts)

Died June 2, 1927 (Fall River, Massachusetts)

Accused murderer

Lizzie Borden was accused in the gruesome double homicide of her father and stepmother in 1892. The violent nature of the murders and the gender of the accused killer made the case a national sensation. The trial had all the elements of a media drama, ensuring the high profile case a place in American legal legend and folklore. Most people in the late nineteenth century could not accept that a woman from a socially prominent family might be capable of such a crime. The matter was settled in the court of public opinion long before it ever went to trial. Numerous books, plays, and movies have been devoted to the murders. More than a century after the Borden trial, the case remains one of the most notorious in American history.

"Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one."

A children's rhyme

For More Information


Hixson, Walter L. Murder, Culture and Injustice: Four Sensational Cases in American History. Akron, OH: The University of Akron Press, 2001.

Porter, Edwin H. The Fall River Tragedy: A History of the Borden Murders. Portland, ME: King Philip Publishing Company, 1985.

The Supreme Court of the United States: Its Beginnings and Its Justices— 1790–1991. Washington, DC: Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, 1992.

Web Site

"The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A Chronology." University of Missouri. http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/LizzieBorden/bordenchrono.html (accessed on August 15, 2004).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal Law