‘Bad Bridgets’: The criminal and deviant Irish women convicted in America

Lizzie Halliday, serial killer from Co Antrim, was dubbed ‘the worst woman on earth’

Lizzie Brown Halliday (c1860 - June 18th, 1918) was the first woman sentenced to die in New York State’s electric chair (1894) but her sentence was commuted based on insanity and she spent the rest of her life in a mental institution. Image: New York NY National Police Gazette, September 23rd, 1893/Wikimedia Commons

Lizzie Brown Halliday (c1860 - June 18th, 1918) was the first woman sentenced to die in New York State’s electric chair (1894) but her sentence was commuted based on insanity and she spent the rest of her life in a mental institution. Image: New York NY National Police Gazette, September 23rd, 1893/Wikimedia Commons

Irish-America is awash with stories of successful Irish migrants; the men and women who built industrial cities, served its people, or educated its children.

Lizzie Halliday, who left Co Antrim as a child, is not an Irish-American success story. She was described by the New York Times at her death in 1918 as the “worst woman on earth”. She was the first woman sentenced to execution in the US by the electric chair.

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