William Moody, Borden case prosecutor, exhibit at Buttonwoods
From the EagleTribune:
HAVERHILL — William H. Moody was a remarkable man who served the city of Haverhill and his nation in several important ways.
You can learn more about him when the Buttonwoods Museum holds a free open house of the newly renovated, permanent exhibit of the Moody collection.
The open house will be Sept. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. and is part of this year’s Trails and Sails events taking place throughout the region. Buttonwoods is at 240 Water St. and is accessed via John Ward Avenue.
Moody served his country as a congressman, secretary of the Navy, U.S. attorney general and Supreme Court justice.
The Buttonwoods exhibition commemorates the life and legacy of Moody and honors the centennial of his death.
Moody, who lived from 1853 to 1917, was a friend of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, and made his name as a prosecutor in the Lizzie Borden trial. Throughout his career, Moody represented the people of Essex County and the ideals of the Progressive Era.
The self-guided exhibit addresses the complexities of Moody’s lifetime, including antitrust prosecution, tariffs and free trade, the role of government, and the role of the United States in the world.
Moody was a member of the Haverhill Historical Society — today, the Buttonwoods Museum — and, along with his sister, willed several objects to the museum.
After his death, Moody’s friends donated objects, helping the collection to grow. By about 1930, the Hon. William H. Moody Memorial Room opened at the museum.
“We’re thrilled to present an updated exploration of this influential man from Haverhill,” said Janice Williams, the director/curator at the museum. “We look forward to welcoming visitors to the exhibit during the open house and throughout the museum’s tour season.”
The open house is also part of the Essex National Heritage Area’s Trails and Sails. Light refreshments will be served.
Moody was born on the family’s farm in Newbury on Dec. 12, 1853. He graduated first in Danvers, then from Phillips Academy in Andover, and finally from Harvard in 1876.
Moody briefly attended Harvard Law School before studying to become a lawyer in the office of Richard Henry Dana Jr., a Massachusetts lawyer and author of “Two Years Before the Mast.”
After passing the bar exam in 1878, Moody practiced law in Haverhill. He also participated in the community by serving on the Haverhill School Board, becoming a member of the city’s Water Board and acting as city solicitor from 1888 to 1890.
He held the position of district attorney from 1890 to 1895. During that time, Moody was a special prosecutor in the trial against Lizzie Borden for the 1892 ax murder of her parents. Although Borden was acquitted, Moody gained public attention and respect.
Moody’s talents next took him to Washington, where he represented the 6th District of Massachusetts in the House of Representatives from 1895 to 1902.
Roosevelt then selected him to join his cabinet, first as secretary of the Navy (1902–1904) and then as attorney general (1904–1906). In energy, personality and appearance, Moody resembled the president. In conjunction with Roosevelt, Moody worked to grow and modernize the U.S. Navy and then to regulate trusts and railroads.
Roosevelt then appointed Moody to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served from 1906 to 1910, although severe rheumatism forced him to stop working in 1909 and retire in 1910. Moody died July 2, 1917, at age 63, after living several years in Haverhill as an invalid.
The exhibit is made possible by the Nathaniel & Elizabeth P. Stevens Foundation and Haverhill Bar Association in honor of Judge Kevin Herlihy.