Frederick W. Tilton

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Frederick William Tilton (c. 1821 – June 6, 1890) was a New Orleans, Louisiana, businessman and philanthropist who endowed the F. W. Tilton Library at Tulane University.

Tilton was born in the coastal city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Timothy Tilton and the former Clarissa Wheeler. He was educated at Pittsfield Academy and by private tutoring. While he was still a teenager, Tilton formed a friendship with Henry Van Wart, a hardware manufacturer in Birmingham, England.

Tilton moved to New Orleans in 1840 and worked for a time in a hardware business before he became Van Wart's agent. He married the former Caroline Stannard; they had no children. Though he was of northern extraction, Tilton supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. He went to Britain to purchase arms. Most of his property was seized by Union troops when they occupied New Orleans under General Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts.

Thereafter, Tilton rebuilt his fortune as an importer of railroad iron. He was a patron of the arts and contributed to many cultural organizations. Before he died, Tilton expressed a desire to assist Tulane University. After his death, Mrs. Tilton donated funds for the Tulane library which bears her husband's name. The cornerstone of the library was laid on June 8, 1901, and the structure was completed in 1903.

The Tiltons are buried in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.

See also[edit]


  • "Frederick William Tilton", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), p. 701
  • Tilton obituary, New Orleans Daily Picayune, June 7, 1890
  • Alcee Fortier, Louisiana, 3 vols. (1909)
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