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The Murder Of Mary BeanThe Murder Of Mary Bean

And Other Stories

Elizabeth De Wolfe

Winner, New England Historical Book Award; Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award; and Independent Publishers Book Award


Book published by Kent State University Press


The facts and fiction of an infamous New England murder:

When the winter ice melted in April 1850, residents of Saco, Maine, made a gruesome discovery: the body of a young girl submerged in a stream. Thanks to evidence left at the scene, a local physician was arrested and tried for the death of Mary Bean, the name given to the unidentified young girl; the cause of death was failed abortion. Garnering extensive newspaper coverage, the trial revealed many secrets: a poorly trained doctor, connections to an unsolved murder in New Hampshire, and the true identity of “Mary Bean”—a young Canadian mill worker named Berengera Caswell, missing since the previous winter. The Murder of Mary Bean and Other Stories examines the series of events that led Caswell to become Mary Bean and the intense curiosity and anxiety stimulated by this heavily watched trial.

Elizabeth De Wolfe is associate professor of history at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. She is author of Shaking the Faith: Women, Family and Mary Marshall Dyer’s Anti-Shaker Campaign, 1815–1867, which received the 2003 Outstanding Publication Award from the Communal Studies Association.





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