Although the society, for the most part, enjoys a light-hearted approach to its annual gathering and banquet, the awards given out each year are heartfelt and sincere. One function of the society is to review material relating to the case which has been made public over the year, and to recognize and applaud excellence in the research and presentation of such work. The Golden Fleece was chosen to symbolize worthy and outstanding merit in the areas of scholarship, research, and presentation of findings to the public which enrich and enhance the body of knowledge about the Borden case in a significant and lasting way. The first recipient of the Golden Fleece was Leonard Rebello in 2007 for his detailed research and published findings in his book Lizzie Borden: Past and Present, already a primary resource for all Borden historians. Also in 2007, LeeAnn Wilber and Donald Woods were awarded the Golden Fleece in recognition for the effort to restore the Borden house on Second St., the extensive renovations including the removal of the Leary Press annex, the rebuilding of the Borden barn on the property using the original blueprints, and maintaining public access to the premises and education about the case year-round.
The Lens of Sherlock was conceived as a symbol of astute observation and detection in homage to the great Conan Doyle fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. In 2007 Kristin Pepe, through good fortune but also tenacity and energetic effort, uncovered the whereabouts of Emma Borden during her school days away from home as being Wheaton Female Seminary which is currently Wheaton College. The discovery led to a visit to the college and the subsequent publication of an important article in The Hatchet about Emma’s time there. The award is a magnifying lens on a chain to be worn around the neck. The recipient of the previous year presents the new recipient with the award at the annual banquet. The Golden Fleece is a gold-plated sheep cast from an 1890’s die mold, and is presented in a gold frame with the seal of the SSI and chapter attribution, N.O. M. E. (Noble Order of Mutton Eaters) Fall River.
2008 marked the first year an award was given for recognition in the dramatic arts. The “Lambie” was given by the Mutton Eaters’ chapter of S.S.I. for the year’s outstanding performance of a Borden-related character on stage, film, or television and went to Lizzie Borden Live playwright and star, actress Jill Dalton.
For the first time, in 2008, the recipient of the Golden Fleece and the Lens of Sherlock was the same individual, Dr. Stefani Korrey, editor of The Hatchet, in recognition for the presentation of the Swansea portraits and further discoveries of Borden family documents, and for long-time excellence in editing and publication of the journal, The Hatchet.
In 2007 a special award was presented to Second Street long-time chef, Dave Quigley, in appreciation for his eleven years of dedicated service to the bed and breakfast museum which has included many hours of assisting guests with travel information as well as hospitable conversation and service. The Golden Spoon is not given out every year.
The “Lizzie” award was instituted in 2009 in recognition for one who has demonstrated hospitality and effort to coordinate and support the growth and vision of the Mutton Eaters as a group. This award was given in 2009 and 2010 to the Second Street Irregulars founder, Shelley Dziedzic.
2011 will mark the first presentation of The Silver Quill award, given for excellence in writing, fiction or non-fiction, which incorporates the Borden case and personalities in print. Nominations are currently being accepted.