Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

Oswald Tilghman papers

 Collection 0518-MDHC

The Oswald Tilghman papers consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, and working papers related to historian and politician Oswald Tilghman of Easton in Talbot County, Maryland on the Eastern Shore. Documents date from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Correspondence includes letters and an invitation. Tthe newspaper clippings relate to a published excerpt of Tilghman’s History of Talbot County, Maryland, 1661-1861 devoted to John Dickinson. The working papers include miscellaneous research notes, genealogical notes and copies of historical letters and accounts regarding figures of the American Revolutionary War.


  • 1882-1923
  • Majority of material found within 1882-1899

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise

specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 Half-Hollinger Box)

Scope and Contents

The Oswald Tilghman papers covers the period 1882 to 1923; the bulk of material dating 1882 to 1889. The collection consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, and working papers. Correspondence includes three letters and one invitation addressed to Oswald Tilghman. Letters principally relate to Tilghman’s History of Talbot County, Maryland, 1661-1861 and Henry Hobart Bellas’ A History of the Delaware State Society of the Cincinnati…. The invitation seeks Tilghman’s presence for an event in remembrance of the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge fought in Newark, Delaware.

The newspaper clippings consist of a two-part excerpt, published on March 4, 1882 and March 11, 1882 in an Easton, MD newspaper, from “The Worthies of Talbot” section of History of Talbot County biographing United States founding father John Dickinson. The working files are a mixture of miscellaneous research notes, copies of historical documents, and genealogical notes. The folder most notably includes a copy of a letter and an account relating to the death of Baron Johann de Kalb at the Battle of Camden. Other items include a list of descendants of American Revolutionary War officers, a list of French American Revolutionary War officers with information on the origins of Society of the Cincinnati, genealogical information on the Skillington and Kennard families of Talbot County, a short excerpt from the poem Morality by William Knox, and a note or potential excerpt regarding Thomas Rodney.

Biographical / Historical

Oswald Tilghman was the son of General Tench Tilghman and Henrietta Maria (Kerr) Tilghman. He was a descendant of Lieutenant Colonel Tench Tilghman, who served as an aide-de-camp to George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. Tilghman was born in 1841 in Talbot County, Maryland and later served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War under his uncle General Lloyd Tilghman. Following the war, Tilghman returned to Easton, Maryland where he practiced law and real estate. At the Yorktown Centennial in 1881, Tilghman represented Maryland and his ancestor Tench Tilghman as a Colonel. In letters thereafter, he is occasionally addressed as Colonel Tilghman.

Tilghman married Belle Harrison in 1884. Together they had one daughter and one son. He held a number of government and leadership positions, most notably representing Talbot County in the Maryland State Senate from 1894 to 1896, serving as Maryland Secretary of State from 1904 to 1908 as a Democrat under Governor Edwin Warfield, and serving as vice president of the Society of the Cincinnati of Maryland. He authored three books including a History of Talbot County, Maryland, 1661-1861 in two volumes, Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman, and Annapolis: History of Ye Ancient City and Its Public Buildings. The two former books were written with the assistance and resources of his father-in-law, Samuel Alexander Harrison. Tilghman died in 1932, aged 91.

Custodial History

The material was donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by James Stephenson on January 16, 1996.

Processing Information

The Tilghman papers were processed in September 2019. The materials were arranged alphabetically by subject. All items remained in their original order. All materials were placed in acid-free envelopes and in an acid-free box. One folded letter was removed from its envelope and flattened. Folded newspapers have not been flattened.

Guide to the Oswald Tilghman papers
Processed by Willem Kalbach
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742