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Thelen Family Collection

of the Lizzie Borden Collection

Thelen Family Collection


This important archive is comprised of correspondence and greeting cards sent by Lizzie A. Borden to her friend, Mrs. Per Ture Eugen Thelen, née Amanda Persson (c.1875-1941), and the latter’s daughters, Olga Elinor Thelen (1907-1984) and Anna Victoria Thelen (1910-2006). It constitutes the largest single-family archive of Borden correspondence to have surfaced to date.

The collection is supplemented with photographs and a porcelain plate.


The intimate friendship that Lizzie Borden shared with the Thelen family was virtually unknown until uncovered by the FRHS curators during their research for Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River. Family members never discussed the relationship publicly until 1997 when Anna V. Thelen was interviewed by a reporter from Gateway Guide; the resulting article, “A Letter from Lizzie Borden,” revealed neither the family surname, nor the identity of the interviewee. Extensive sleuthing on the part of the curators furnished the means by which the family was identified.

It was Miss Thelen’s desire that the collection be donated to the FRHS “when the family was through with it,” an event that was prompted by inquiries from the curators.


TFC001TFC053 – Mrs. Per Ture Eugen Thelen to her daughter, Anna V. Thelen; to her heirs; to the FRHS, 2008, Accession Number: 2008.001.

TFC054 – Mrs. George Bentley Sharples, née Olga E. Thelen; and thus by descent in her family; to the FRHS, 2008, Accession Number 2008.002.


TFC001 to TFC046Manuscripts: Forty-six pieces of correspondence including letters, notes, postcards, and greeting cards.

Object Identification Numbers: 2008.001.001 to 2008.001.046

TFC047 to TFC053Photographs: Miscellaneous images.

Object Identification Numbers: 2008.001.047 to 2008.001.053

TFC054 – Plate: Bonnet Babies pattern plate.

Porcelain, Royal Bayreuth, Tettau, Bavaria; 7 ” diameter; circa 1912; wove paper holograph label, 3 ¼” x 2 ½”, affixed to reverse, inscribed in ink “Given to Olga E. Thelen from Lizzie Borden January 8, 1912” in hand of Mrs. George B. Sharples.

This collection is closed to researchers pending publication by the FRHS.

Object Identification Number: 2008.002.001


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  • 451 Rock Street, Fall River, MA 02720
  • (508)-679-1071
  • cha@fallriverhistorical.org
  • Due to a major infrastructure project, the FRHS Museum will be closed beginning July 22, 2023. The Musem Shop is closed until further notice.