On This Day in 1892, Lizzie Borden's Parents Were Murdered

Illustration for article titled On This Day in 1892, Lizzie Bordens Parents Were Murdered

On August 4, 1892, a prominent man in Fall River, Massachusetts, was hacked to death in his home, along with his wife. You probably know his daughter’s name: Lizzie Borden.


This reminder comes courtesy of the New York Times’ Times Machine:

Illustration for article titled On This Day in 1892, Lizzie Bordens Parents Were Murdered

Of course, attention quickly turned to Lizzie, the “spinster” daughter. And while she was ultimately acquitted (right or wrong) in a court of law, everybody knows how she fared in the court of public opinion. (“Lizzie Borden took an ax, gave her mother forty wacks...”)

And frankly, knowing the date probably says something about why she became such a national phenomenon. Sure, sure, a shocking crime against a well-to-do man and a narrative that offended every possible nineteenth-century American sensibility about women. But there’s also fuck-all news in August, and heat makes people restless. Her trial also commenced almost a year later, in June. Nothing catches the eye quite like a really sensational summertime murder, unless it’s a sensational summertime court case.

Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.

Photo via AP Images.

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Just came in here to say that my husband had legit never heard of Lizzie Borden or the murders until a couple of weeks ago. We were joking around about how we hope we don’t mess up our future kids, and then this happened:

Me: Yeah, I mean, we wouldn’t want them to Lizzie Borden us or something.

Him: What?

Me: You know, Lizzie Borden.

Him: Who?

Me: The girl who supposedly chopped up her parents with an axe? Like, THE Lizzie Borden?

Him: Never heard of her.

Me: Clearly you have lived your entire life under a rock.