Calendar of Events

A Question of Sanity: The True Story Female Serial Killers in 19th Century New York

September 13, 2017, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Geneva History Museum
543 South Main Street
Geneva, NY 14456

This autumn our lecture series takes a disturbing track with the theme “After Dark.” Our presenters will focus on the unmentionable, the unexplainable and even creepy topics.

Author Michael Keene kicks off the series with a look at the horrifying history of female serial killers in 19th century New York. Based on his book, A Question of Sanity: The True Story of Female Serial Killers in 19th-Century New York, the presentation examines the lives and times of seventeen female serial killers, including Lizzie Halliday, convicted of murdering nine of her own family members; Catherine Claus, who boasted of killing 15 infants in her care; and Caroline D. Sorgenfrie, charged with the murder of her four husbands. Most of the women in Keene’s book are from Central New York and lived along the Erie Canal in small, isolated rural communities.

Michael Keene is the author of eight books of New York State history, including Folklore and Legends of Rochester, Madhouse, Abandoned, and Murder, Mayhem and Madness. He is also the producer of the award-winning documentary series, Visions. He will have copies of his books available for purchase the night of the lecture.

The Geneva Historical Society Lecture Series is supported in part by the Samuel B. Williams Fund for Programs in the Humanities and  KeyBank Foundation.  For more information about this program or the lecture series call the Historical Society at 315-789-5151 or visit

The Geneva History Museum is located at 543 South Main Street and is open Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Parking is available on the street or in the lot at Trinity Episcopal Church.

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