Fall River Outrage: Life, Murder, and Justice in Early Industrial New England / Edition 28

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Fall River Outrage recounts one of the most sensational and widely reported murder cases in early nineteenth-century America. When, in 1832, a pregnant mill worker was found hanged, the investigation implicated a prominent Methodist minister. Fearing adverse publicity, both the industrialists of Fall River and the New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church engaged in energetic campaigns to obtain a favorable verdict. It was also one of the earliest attempts by American lawyers to prove their client innocent by assassinating the moral character of the female victim. Fall River Outrage provides insight in American social, legal, and labor history as well as women's studies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A meticulous account that reads as engrossing as a modern murder mystery. . . . A deeply textured and highly readable book on which any such synthesis [about the social forces in Jacksonian America] must draw."—New York Times

"Kasserman scrupulously reconstructs events and supplies contexts for evaluation but avoids imposing interpretations, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions. The historical care will engage scholars and true-crime buffs."—Library Journal

Library Journal
In 1832, Sarah Cornell, an unmarried, pregnant mill-worker, was found hanged. A married Methodist minister was charged with the murder; his defense depended on showing Cornell's depravity. The trial threw tensions into relief: traditional New England, the new industries, independent wage-earning women, growing Methodism. It attracted prominent lawyers, avid reporters, playwrights, and pamphleteers. Citizen-amateur investigators raised questions science could not yet answer. Kasserman scrupulously reconstructs events and supplies contexts for evaluation but avoids imposing interpretations, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions. The historical care will engage scholars and true-crime buffs. Sally Mitchell, English Dept., Temple Univ., Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812212228
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/1986
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 28
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 919,738
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

David Richard Kasserman taught anthropology at Glassboro State College. His interest in the Cornell-Avery trial grew out of his research on the American cotton industry.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1 The Outrage
2 Beginning a Life in the Mills
3 Ending a Life in the Mills
4 The Minister
5 Preliminary Engagements
6 The Prosecution
7 The Defense
8 The Verdict
9 Public Justice


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