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Lizzie Borden Took An Axe: “The Crime of the [19th] Century”

October 19 at 5:00 pm

took an axe
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Visiting Scholar Virtual Public Lecture Sponsored by the University of Florida Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and the UF Department of History

Every murder tells a story, and Lizzie Borden’s arrest and subsequent trial for the brutal killings of her wealthy and respected parents on August 4, 1892, is a particularly fascinating one. The 32-year old Borden appeared to be the model of a pious, upright, and virtuous Victorian lady. Much of the sensational press coverage in the ensuing months was favorable, and she was acquitted of the crime, despite the damning evidence uncovered. Why do so many, then and now, still believe in her guilt? This lecture explores the dynamics of the American Gilded Age gender, social class, industrialization, and society to provide insight into the all-male jury’s verdict.

Speaker: Joan Waugh Professor, Department of History University of California, Los Angeles President-elect, Society of Civil War Historians


Professor Joan Waugh of the UCLA History Department researches and writes about 19th-century America, specializing in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Gilded Age eras. Waugh has published numerous essays and books on Civil War topics, both single-authored and edited, including The American War: A History of the Civil War Era (Flip Learning, 2015; 2nd edition, 2019), co-written with Gary W. Gallagher, and her prize-winning U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (University of North Carolina Press, 2009). The recipient of Huntington Library, NEH, and Gilder-Lehrman fellowships, she has been interviewed for many documentaries, including the PBS series American Experience on Ulysses S. Grant. Waugh has also published several op-eds on current controversies regarding Civil War issues for media outlets. In addition to serving on numerous advisory boards and editorial boards, Professor Waugh is President-elect of the Society of Civil War Historians. She has been honored with four teaching prizes, including UCLA’s most prestigious teaching honor, the Distinguished Teaching Award.



October 19
5:00 pm
Event Category:


Department of History
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