Samuel J. Tilden (1814-1886) served as Governor of New York, 1875-1876, and was the Democratic nominee for the Presidency in 1876. Tilden began his career as a corporate lawyer; he served as Corporate Counsel for the City of New York, as a member of the New York State Assembly, and as Chairman of the Democratic National Convention. Monies from his estate contributed to the founding of The New York Public Library. His papers document his political and legal career and are comprised primarily of correspondence, political and legal files, financial documents, writings, speeches, and personal papers dating from 1785 - 1929 (bulk 1832 - 1886).
Acquisition: 1903 Tilden, Samuel J. - Estate & Trust Gift and purchase
Biographical/historical: Samuel Jones Tilden (1814-1886) was an attorney, prominent Democrat, governor of New York in 1874-1875, and U.S. presidential candidate in 1876. An advocate of reforms in taxation, legislative rules and municipal financing, Tilden was active in Democratic Party politics. He gained considerable acclaim for dismantling the Tweed Ring, and battling other instances of graft in state government. In 1876 he won the popular vote for the presidency but lost the election to Rutherford B. Hayes in the Electoral College. He declined the presidential nomination in 1880 and 1884, citing age and ill health. After his death, his estate was tied up in litigation until 1892 in a dispute over the provision of his will that specified that the bulk of the estate be used for the creation of a free library and reading room in New York City. The trust was later used to establish The New York Public Library.