Theodore Tilton

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Theodore Tilton c1870.jpg

Theodore Tilton (October 2, 1835 – May 29, 1907) was an American newspaper editor, poet and abolitionist. He was born in New York City to Silas Tilton and Eusebia Tilton (same surname). On his twentieth birthday, October 2, 1855, he married Elizabeth Richards, known as Libby Tilton. Tilton's newspaper work was fully supportive of abolitionism and the Northern cause in the American Civil War.

From 1860 to 1871, he was the assistant of Henry Ward Beecher; however, in 1874, he filed criminal charges against the clergyman for "criminal intimacy" with his (Tilton's) wife. During this period, he was the 1869 commencement speaker for the Irving Literary Society.

Following the apparent acquittal of Beecher in the trial (the public view was ambivalent to his acquittal), Tilton moved to Paris, where he lived for the rest of his life. In the 1880s, Tilton frequently played chess with fellow American exile (but ex-Confederate) Judah Benjamin, until the latter died in 1884.

Robert Plant put Tilton's poem "Even This Shall Pass Away" to music, a recording of which is on Band of Joy.

Principal works[edit]

  • Victoria C. Woodhull. A Biographical Sketch. 1871.
  • Tempest-Tossed A Romance. 1874.
  • The Complete Poetical Works of Theodore Tilton in One Volume With a Preface on Ballad-Making and an Appendix on Old Norse Myths & Fables. 1897.


  • Fox, Richard Wightman. Trials of Intimacy Love and Loss in the Beecher-Tilton Scandal. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
  • Applegate, Debby. The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher. New York: Doubleday, 2006.
  • Tilton's literary work Accessed January 25, 2008

External links[edit]