Brief Description: Autograph, newspaper clippings, photograph, and booklet. Clippings include coverage of Beecher's trial in civil court for adultery in 1875, articles about him with sermon excerpts, reminiscences by his widow and posthumously published articles by Beecher. The 176-page booklet was published as part of the lawsuit and contains transcripts of the proceedings.
Collection 128 [June 3, 2002]
Beecher, Henry Ward; 1813-1887
Ephemera; 1870-1893, n.d.
1 Box (DC; .4 cubic feet), Oversize Materials, Photograph
|Full name||Henry Ward Beecher|
|Birth||June 24, 1813, Litchfield, Connecticut|
|Death||March 8, 1887, Brooklyn, New York, buried in Greenwood Cemetery|
|Parents||Lyman and Roxana Beecher|
|Siblings||Ten siblings including: Catherine (b. 1800), Edward (b. 1803), Harriet Beecher Stowe (b.1811), Isabella Beecher Hooker (b. 1822)|
|Marital Status||Married Eunice Bullard, 1837|
|Ordination||New School Presbytery of Cincinnati, 1838|
|1826-1830||Mount Pleasant Classical Institute, Amherst, Massachusetts|
|1834||Received degree from Amherst College|
|1837||Received degree from Lane Theological Seminary|
|1839||Pastor of a church in Lawrencebury, Indiana|
|1839-1847||Pastor of Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana|
|1847-1887||Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, Brooklyn, New York|
|Other significant information|
|1861-1863||Editor of The Independent|
|1870-1881||Editor of Christian Union|
|1874-1875||Accused of adultery but was cleared by a trial jury and by a committee of the Plymouth Church|
|1844||Authored Seven Lectures to Young Men|
|1871||Authored Life of Jesus Christ|
|1885||Authored Evolution and Religion|
[Note: In the Scope & Content section, the notation "folder 2-5" means "Box 2, Folder 5"]
Scope and Content
Materials in this collection include an undated signature by Beecher (folder 1-1), many newspaper clippings, a photograph of Beecher, and a booklet. The clippings are from two series that appeared in the Ladies Home Journal. Clippings from 1891 and 1892 (folder 1-2) were authored by Beecher's widow and include reminiscences of their life together. Unpublished words by Beecher are found in the series dated 1893 (folder 1-3). One small clipping (folder 1-5) dated 1927 (newspaper not listed) tells about a slave girl who was purchased out of slavery by Beecher. There are many full size pages of newspaper clippings in Oversize Folder 35 (OS 35) which cover the trial of Beecher for alleged adultery with Elizabeth R. Tilton and some which contain articles about him with sermon excerpts. The Chicago Inter Weekly Ocean contains an article about the Beecher's last days just before his death. Items in OS 35 are listed below,
|New York Herald|
|March 2, 14, 16, 21, 23|
|March 7, 21, 25|
|April 4, 7|
|May 21, 25|
|June 7, 12, 14, 16, 19, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30|
|The National Era, Washington, D.C., October 15, 1857|
|New York Daily Tribune, December 2, 1874|
|The Weekly Inter Ocean, Chicago, Illinois, March 8, 1887|
Folder 1-4 consists of a 176-page booklet published as part of the trial. Beecher was pastor of the Plymouth Congregational Church at the time the charges were brought against him, and both Mr. and Mrs. Tilton were members of his congregation. The suit for damages totaling one hundred thousand dollars was brought by Theodore Tilton and began in the City Court of Brooklyn on January 4, 1875. This booklet is a verbatim report of the first eight days of the trial, interspersed with commentary and containing a portrait of Francis D. Moulton, a principal witness. Moulton was a go-between for Beecher, dealing independently with various persons and the Tiltons during the four years which elapsed from the time the charge was first made until the issue was brought into the courts. Contents of the booklet include the opening argument for the plaintiff by S. D. Morris and the examination of Augustus Maverick and Francis D. Moulton, the latter testimony on pages 60 to 176. The address to the jury by Morris summarizes the events of the years between July 3, 1870, when Mrs. Tilton first confessed her relationship to Beecher and the circumstances which led to charges in a criminal court in 1875.
Materials in this collection were received by the Center in April 1979, February 1980, March 1981, April and May 1982, June 1984, March 1985, and April 1988. The booklet was purchased from a manuscript dealer.
Accession 79-38, 79-99, 80-31, 81-23
June 19, 1980
Mary Ann Buffington
January 25, 1983, revised
Frances L. Brocker
Accession 82-57, 82-62, 82-66, 84-89, 85-29, 88-35
June 3, 2002, updated
Wayne D. Weber
Accession: 82-57, 82-62, 82-66
Type of material: Oversize Materials
The following items are in the OVERSIZE FILE. Request by collection number and folder location (in parentheses).
Newspaper clippings: 1857, 1874-1875, 1887 (OS 35). Most cover the Beecher-Tilton and some report on Beecher's Sunday service messages, including sermon excerpts, at the Plymouth Church.*****
Type of material: Photographs
The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.
BEECHER, HENRY WARD. Beecher sitting in a chair; 1870. 1 b&w.
|OS 35||1857, 1874-1875, 1887|
|1||2||November, 1891 - August, 1892|
|1||4||Booklet: Theodore Tilton against Henry Ward Beecher, action for Crim. Con. tried in the City Court of Brooklyn, 1875.|