Scope and arrangement
The material in the records of the Tilden Estate and Trust consist of correspondence, financial and legal records, graphic material, and printed matter.
The Tilden Estate and Trust records are arranged in four series:
Correspondence, largely among the trustees and their financial and legal advisors, concerns the legal cases with Samuel J. Tilden's heirs-at-law to retain control of that portion of the estate which Tilden had hoped would be used to fund the creation of a free public library and reading room in New York City. The correspondence also concerns the management of the assets of the estate during those protracted legal battles. Other topics to be found within the correspondence are the construction of appropriate Tilden monuments and memorials, as well as the formation and construction of the New York Public Library (though this is not a large percentage of the correspondence). Correspondents include John Bigelow, James C. Carter, A. C. Flagg, Andrew Haswell Green, L. C. Ledyard, L. V. F. Randolph, and George and Emma Smith.
Financial and legal records are comprised of estate maps and inventories; material relating to mines and other investments; deeds; and depositions, briefs and arguments, along with some attached correspondence, concerning the distribution of the proceeds of the Trust funds and resources; continuing cases with particular heirs; and the eventual settlement with Mrs. Laura B. Hazard. There are also bank books, account books, and accounting records.
Graphic material consists of architectural drawings of proposed monuments to Samuel J. Tilden, as well as the statue eventually erected at 112th Street and Riverside Drive in New York City, and his tomb in New Lebanon, New York.
Printed matter is composed primarily of scrapbooks and clippings compiled by the trustees, tracing the court cases and decisions regarding the Trust, and printed copies of relevant arguments, decisions, and opinions