ParallelLivesParallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River

Michael Martins and Dennis A. Binette, Published by the Fall River Historical Society, 2011.

A groundbreaking work, Parallel Lives presents the life of Lizzie A. Borden against the backdrop of the city of Fall River, Massachusetts. In researching this volume, the authors were permitted unprecedented access to myriad resources pertaining to Lizzie A. Borden that had lain sequestered in private collections, world-wide, for decades. Drawing on this important, previously unpublished treasure-trove of material, including rare personal correspondence, photographs, diaries, and the reminiscences of some of her closest friends and associates, Parallel Lives is a breakthrough as a dual history of Fall River and a biography of its most infamous citizen.


Martins and Binette demolish the many legends of Lizzie…. What emerges from these pages is a fully realized portrait within the dense social web of Victorian Fall River: We finally see a flesh and blood woman inhabiting her world…. As a result, accounts that require a fictive Lizzie Borden, relying upon imagined events or inventive psychological states, are no longer credible.  – Cara W. Robertson, Ph.D., J.D.

5 Stars  – Goodreads

…the lush history of [Fall River] and its many residents…connect to the [Borden] family and its notorious daughter. A must-have for history buffs.  – Kirkus Starred Review  


Hardcover: 1138 pages, 524 black-and-white and color illustrations, fully indexed
Publisher: Fall River Historical Society, 1st edition (November 2011)
Language: English
ISBN number-13: 978-0-9641248-1-3

Parallel Lives Website

KnowltonPapersThe Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Lizzie A. Borden: The Knowlton Papers 1892 – 1893
Michael Martins and Dennis A. Binette, Editors

A watershed collection of primary source documents, the first ever to appear in print on the Borden case, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Lizzie A. Borden is a compilation of letters and documents from the personal files of Prosecuting Attorney Hosea Morrill Knowlton (1847-1902). Knowlton was a prominent New Bedford, Massachusetts, lawyer and District Attorney for the Southern District of the Commonwealth; in that capacity, he led the prosecution in the case against Lizzie A. Borden.

The existence of the documents included in this volume was unknown publically until the collection was donated to the Fall River Historical Society in 1989, by Knowlton’s grandson, Frank Warren Knowlton, Jr. (1912 – 2002). This important collection was preserved by that family for two generations, and offers an intriguing look into the prosecution of Lizzie A. Borden.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Lizzie A. Borden was published in a limited run of just over 1,000 copies. This much-sought-after volume is currently out-of-print and commands a premium on the secondary market.


5 Stars  – Goodreads

Borden buffs will be forever indebted to the Fall River Historical Society for gathering this information into one tome – guaranteeing that it will take its place alongside Edwin Porter’s The Fall River Tragedy as a mandatory and primary resource for anyone interested in the Borden case. A must for anyone who claims to know anything about Lizzie Borden. – Kenneth J. Souza, Editor, The Lizzie Borden Quarterly

Hardcover: 554 pages, 31 black and white illustrations, fully indexed
Publisher: Fall River Historical Society, First edition (October 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0-9641248-3-1