Cummings Collection

Emma Laurette (Holmes) Cummings Collection

DESCRIPTION

This small collection is comprised of correspondence sent by Emma L. Borden and Lizzie A.  Borden to their dressmaker, Mrs. William Cummings, née Emma Laurette Holmes (1852-1925).

HISTORICAL NOTE

Mrs. Cummings was a successful dress and corset maker in Fall River, Massachusetts, active from the 1880s to the early twentieth century. She counted among her patrons an elite clientele including members of the city’s leading families, who visited her workrooms at her residence at 27 (later 142) Elm Street.

Lizzie Borden maintained a friendship with Mrs. Cummings and subsequently made the acquaintance of members of the latter’s family, including her niece, Mabel Holmes Little (1884-1961); in an 1897 letter, Lizzie inquires after the child, asking, “… has your little niece been to visit you?” Another of Mrs. Cummings’ nieces, Grace Estelle Quimby (1890-1972), recalled visiting Lizzie at her residence in Fall River.

PROVENANCE

Mrs. William Cummings; to her niece, Mabel Holmes Little (1884-1961); to the FRHS 1953, Accession Number: 1953.047.

INVENTORY

EC001 – Letter: Emma L. Borden to Mrs. William Cummings, March 23, 1894.

Holograph letter, signed; wove paper, 4 ½” x 7”; imprinted “7 French Street”; one sheet, single fold, inscribed in ink on three sides.

Subject: Dressmaking

Object Identification Number: 1953.047.001

EC002 – Letter: Lizzie A. Borden to Mrs. William Cummings, December 12, 1896.

Holograph letter, signed; wove paper with watermark of W. Joynson & Son, Joynson Mills, St. Mary Cray, Kent, England, retailed by John Glenn & Company, New York, New York, 4” x 5 ½”; imprinted “306 French Street, Fall River Mass.”; one sheet, single fold, inscribed in ink on three sides, with holograph envelope, 4 ½” x 3”.

Subject: A false rumor then circulating about Lizzie’s impending nuptials.

Object Identification Number: 1953.047.002

EC003 – Letter: Lizzie A. Borden to Mrs. William Cummings, August 22, 1897.

Holograph letter, signed; wove paper, 4 ½” x 7”; imprinted “7 French Street.”; one sheet, single fold, inscribed in ink on two sides.

Subject: Pleasantries.

Object Identification Number: 1953.047.003

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