The Trial of Lizzie Borden

As part of its response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the National Humanities Center encourages us all to recognize the ways the humanities can provide comfort, meaning, and a sense of connection in the midst of loss and upheaval. This extraordinary pop-up book club series spotlights leading humanists and authors discussing their work. In addition to learning about the featured book directly from the author, participants in these sessions will explore important and timeless questions about the human experience in all its complexities—from how we face personal tragedy to the ways we think about the afterlife, how we assign guilt or define greatness.

This engaging series is offered free of charge via Facebook Live.

Cara Robertson (Center Trustee; Fellow, 2004–06), Independent Scholar

Was Lizzie Borden a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady?

When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Scholar Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside the courtroom, offering a window into America in the Gilded Age.











When: Wed., May 20, 2020 at 7:00 pm

As part of its response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the National Humanities Center encourages us all to recognize the ways the humanities can provide comfort, meaning, and a sense of connection in the midst of loss and upheaval. This extraordinary pop-up book club series spotlights leading humanists and authors discussing their work. In addition to learning about the featured book directly from the author, participants in these sessions will explore important and timeless questions about the human experience in all its complexities—from how we face personal tragedy to the ways we think about the afterlife, how we assign guilt or define greatness.

This engaging series is offered free of charge via Facebook Live.

Cara Robertson (Center Trustee; Fellow, 2004–06), Independent Scholar

Was Lizzie Borden a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady?

When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Scholar Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside the courtroom, offering a window into America in the Gilded Age.

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