8 Yale J.L. & Human. 351 (1996)
Representing Miss Lizzie: Cultural Convictions in the Trial of Lizzie Borden

handle is hein.journals/yallh8 and id is 359 raw text is: Representing Miss Lizzie: Cultural
Convictions in the Trial of Lizzie Borden
Cara W. Robertson*
The preliminaries are completed, and this morning the curtain
ascends on the most notorious chapter of the celebrated Borden
mystery... . About it all there is the atmosphere of suppressed
excitement-the longing for the opening of the act, and the ending of
the suspense.
Fall River Daily Globe'
The scene of Lizzie Borden's trial for the murders of her father and
stepmother was a spectacle unparalleled by any previous American
murder case. Reporters from all over the United States flocked to
Fall River, Massachusetts, to witness the best show in the country.
Local reporters fortunate enough to have found employment in
Bristol County sent exclusives to papers around the world.2 Well-
known columnists arrived with their entourages and took up
conspicuous seats in the courtroom.3 Suddenly a mill town which had
been of interest only in their newspapers' business sections became
universally known through extended front page exposure. Similarly,
a woman whose typicality was her most distinctive feature became
* Cara W. Robertson is a J.D. candidate at Stanford Law School. She received her D.Phil.
[Ph.D.] from Oxford University. The author would like to thank Deborah Cohen, Jennifer Di
Toro, Marc Dolan, George Fisher, Ellen Fitzpatrick, Lawrence Friedman, Thomas Grey, Olwen
Hufton, Robert Lamb, Gail Mosse, Lisa Sitkin, Frank Wu, Kimberly Yuracko, and especially
Alex Owen for helpful comments on earlier drafts. The author would a!so like to thank the staff
of the Fall River Historical Society and Frank Knowlton for their assistance in locating sources.
1. Some Strange Sunday Scenes, Gathering of the Chief Workers in the Great Murder Trial
in New Bedford, Fall River Daily Globe, 5 June 1893, p. 6.
2. William F. Greenough of Taunton covered the Borden trial for the Associated Press. See
An Acknowledgment, Fall River Daily Herald, 22 June 1893, p. 4.
3. Joseph Howard, Jr., covered the trial for the Boston Globe and the New York Recorder.
Julian Ralph, the other prominent columnist at the trial, wrote a column appearing in the New
York Sun. For descriptions of the famous columnists, including their sartorial excesses, see
Some Strange Sunday Scenes, Gathering of the Chief Workers in the Great Murder Trial in
New Bedford, Fall River Daily Globe, 5 June 1893, p. 6; Alice Russell Tells Her Story, Fall
River Daily Globe, 8 June 1893, p. 1; Scenes and Incidents; Joe Howard, the Bigot, Fall River
Daily Globe, 17 June 1893, p. 1.

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