William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Lizzie to John Letters, 1875
Meg Hixon, October 2011
Lizzie to John letters
This collection contains five letters written by a woman named "Lizzie" to "John," a close friend or family member. She discussed her life in New York City, with a particular emphasis on the 1875 Henry Ward Beecher trial, religion, and life in Harlem.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Lizzie to John Letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
The collection is arranged chronologically.
On August 19, 1874, following the printed accusations of noted feminist Victoria Woodhall, Theodore Tilton sued Henry Ward Beecher, alleging that the famous preacher had committed adultery with his wife, Elizabeth, and demanding $100,000 as restitution. Beecher denied the charges, and the case was tried in January 1875. After six months of trial, Beecher was exonerated by a hung jury, though the scandal damaged his reputation and created a rift among women's rights activists.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This collection contains five letters written by a woman named "Lizzie" to "John," a close friend or family member. She discussed her life in New York City, with a particular emphasis on the 1875 Henry Ward Beecher trial, religion, and life in Harlem. Lizzie, who first lived near Columbus Circle, was interested in the ongoing litigation between Henry Ward Beecher and Theodore Tilton, and repeatedly expressed her desire to procure tickets should the famous preacher take the witness stand. She wrote that "There are some who would never believe him guilty but consider him the victim of a cruel plot or circumstantial evidence; but there are other some [sic] who express themselves as willing to accept whatever verdict the jury brings in" (January 21, 1875). Lizzie also shared the experiences of her daily life, particularly after her relocation to Harlem, which she described in a February 1875 letter. In addition, Lizzie provided her thoughts on her local church and, briefly, on the merits of a number of New York newspapers (May 12, 1875). In one letter, dated March 12, 1875, she drew a small diagram of her lamp chimney.
- Beecher, Henry Ward, 1813-1887.
- Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
- New York (N.Y.)--History--1865-1898.
- Tilton, Theodore, 1835-1907.
- Lamp-chimneys, globes, etc.
Additional Descriptive Data
Abbott, Austin. Official Report of the Trial of Henry Ward Beecher, with Notes and References. New York: George W. Smith & Company, 1875.
Clark, Clifford E. "Beecher, Henry Ward." American National Biography Online. Oxford University Press: 2000. DOI: 08-00112