Ten Things You Should Know About Lizzie Borden

In anticipation of the upcoming The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller that is being released in January 2016, here are some things you should know about Lizzie Borden.


  1. You may have heard this rhyme about Lizzie:

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

    Fact? The rhyme is entirely inaccurate and has no bearing at all (in the least) in the events that occurred.

  2. If you’re not familiar with Lizzie Borden, her claim to notoriety is allegedly getting away with the murder of her father and stepmother. What would be the motive? Wealth perhaps. Lizzie’s father was worth $500, 000 (in 2015: 10 million). That’s a lot of money.
  3. This is what she looked like:
  4. Lizzie had a sister, Emma Borden, who was out of town visiting relatives/friends when the incident happened. She still didn’t escape public attention and some people speculated that she may have returned secretly to commit the murders.
  5. Incidentally, the murders were committed with hatchets.
  6. No one has conclusively solved the Borden murders. People still think Lizzie was responsible but due to insufficient evidence and reasonable doubt, Lizzie was acquitted.
  7. Lizzie and her sister died within nine days of each other. Lizzie was 67 at the time of her death.
  8. Lizzie and the Borden murders have inspired many an artist. Many books, movies, and plays ruminate on Lizzie’s innocence or guilt. The most recent novel is Maplecroft by Cherie Priest.
  9. Lizzie’s trial incited the masses and the American public were up in arms about the way she was being treated by the police. People and organizations were cheering for her and speculation exists that her acquittal may have been a result of the public outcry that followed her arrest.
  10. Lizzie left half a million dollars to an animal rescue league in her hometown.


Have I piqued your interest in Lizzie Borden? To find out more about her, read Sarah Miller’s excellent and exhaustively researched book The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century which will be in stores January 12, 2016.