Murder in a Mill Town: Sex, Faith, and the Crime that Captivated a Nation with Dr. Bruce Dorsey

  • October 19, 2023 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Aldrich House

    110 Benevolent Street
    Providence, Rhode Island 02906
Ticket Price Free This event is now over

Join Dr. Bruce Dorsey, author of Murder in a Mill Town: Sex, Faith, and the Crime That Captivated a Nation as he discusses the first true crime obsession of United States history: the explosive 1832 murder of a woman in Tiverton.


In December 1832 a farmer found the body of a young, pregnant woman hanging near a haystack outside a New England mill town. When news spread that Methodist preacher Ephraim Avery was accused of murdering Sarah Maria Cornell, a factory worker, the case gave the public everything they found irresistible: sexually charged violence, adultery, the hypocrisy of a church leader, secrecy and mystery, and suspicions of insanity. Murder in a Mill Town tells the story of how a local crime quickly turned into a national scandal that became America's first "trial of the century."


Dorsey will examine the case, as well as how it helped create an obsession with lurid stories within American culture.

Date & Time

Thu, Oct 19, 2023 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Venue Details

Aldrich House

110 Benevolent Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02906 Aldrich House
Rhode Island Historical Society

The Rhode Island Historical Society, the state's oldest and only statewide historical organization, is dedicated to honoring, interpreting and sharing Rhode Island's past to enrich the present and inspire the future. Founded in 1822, the RIHS is an advocate for history as a means to develop empathy and 21st  -century skills, using its historical materials and knowledge to explore topics of timeless relevance and public interest. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, it is dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible public programming and educational opportunities for all Rhode Islanders through its four sites: the John Brown House Museum, the Museum of Work & Culture, the Mary Elizabeth Robinson Research Center and the Aldrich House.

Find more Rhode Island Historical Society Events and Community & Culture events in Providence