Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Douglas Tilden Papers,
Collection Number: BANC MSS 89/124 c
Tilden, Douglas, 1860-1935
Number of containers: 11 boxes, 4 cartons, 6 oversize volumes, 1 oversize folder
Linear feet: 11.6
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Collection includes personal and professional correspondence (chiefly incoming), contracts, sketches, diaries, scrapbooks,
manuscripts of published and unpublished writings, and "written" conversations between Tilden, who was deaf, and others. Also
includes medals, other personal memora bilia. Principal correspondents are his daughter, Gladys Tilden, James D. Phelan &
Alexander Stirling Calder.
Information for Researchers
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library.
[Identification of item], Douglas Tilden, Papers, BANC MSS 89/124 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Title: Gladys Tilden Papers,
Date: 1875-1982 (89/229 c)
Materials Cataloged Separately
Photographs have been transferred to The Bancroft Library's Pictorial Collections.
The Douglas Tilden Papers were given to The Bancroft Library at the bequest of the estate of Gladys Tilden.
Douglas Tilden: Portrait of a Deaf Sculptor by Mildred Albronda, (T. J. Publishers: Silver Spring, Maryland / 1980)]
||Born May 1 in Chico, California to Dr. William Peregrine Tilden and Catherine Maria Hecox Tilden.
||Moved to Stockton where Dr. Tilden became resident physician of what is now the Stockton State Hospital.
|1864 or 1865
||Lost hearing and speech due to scarlet fever.
||January 25 entered the California Institution for the Education of the Indigent Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind in San Francisco,
which later moved to Berkeley and then, Fremont, and became known as the California School for the Deaf.
||California School for the Deaf relocated to Berkeley.
||Dr. William P. Tilden died in May.
||Graduated from the California School for the Deaf and takes position as teacher there.
||Became interested in sculpture.
Deaf Mutes and Their Education, published in the
Overland Monthly. Modeled small statuette,
Tired Wrestler. When this came to the attention of California School for the Deaf's board, they offered him the opportunity to study in New
York and Paris.
||Spent eight months in New York studying art.
||Arrived in Paris; studied under deaf sculptor Paul Choppin, among others.
The Baseball Player (plaster) accepted in the Salon. Assisted in inaugurating the first International Congress of the Deaf, in Paris.
The Baseball Player (bronze) unveiled in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
Tired Boxer purchased by subscription of individual members of the Olympic Club, San Francisco.
Football Players (plaster) in Salon. Returned to the United States and accepted a position to develop the first Department of Modeling at the
Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. Elected a member of the Bohemian Club.
Bear Hunt, arrived at the California School for the Deaf from the Chicago World's Fair.
||Married Elizabeth Delano Cole, also deaf, June 6, in her Oakland home.
Admission Day monument unveiled in San Francisco.
||Daughter Gladys born, January 5.
Football Players installed at the University of California, Berkeley.
||Resigned teaching position to set up his own studio in Oakland.
The Mechanics unveiled in San Francisco.
||Received the commission in a national competition for a monument to the California Spanish-American War volunteer infantrymen.
Son Willoughby born September 4.
||Received the commission for
||Spearheaded the organization of the California Association of the Deaf.
California Volunteers unveiled. San Francisco earthquake and fire. Tilden temporarily in Portland, Oregon.
Senator White statue completed.
Junipero Serra monument installed in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
||Elected president of the California Association of the Deaf.
Twelve Stages of Man (bronze) bas-reliefs placed on McElroy Fountain in Lakeside Park, Oakland.
||Worked on model,
Modern Civilization, for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
|1915 - 1916
The Autobiography of a Dummy, later renamed
||Moved his studio to 314 Hobart, Oakland.
||Became a machinist.
||Elizabeth filed for divorce. Went to Hollywood to work in the Hal Roach Studio fabricating animals for movie sets. Built new
studio at 834 Channing Way, Berkeley.
||Divorce final. Finished
|1929 - 1930
||Assisted Brother Cornelius in the Art Department at St. Mary's College, Moraga, California.
||Created plaster bust of painter William Keith for the opening of the Keith Gallery at St. Mary's College.
||Mother, Catherine Maria Hecox Tilden Brown, died.
||Found dead in his studio, August 6.
Scope and Content
Principal correspondents are nearly equally divided among deaf activists, artists and art world figures, and personal friends
and business associates. Among deaf activists are Olof Hanson, a Washington state architect; Jaye Cooke Howard, a Minnesota
printer, at various times an elected official of the National Association of the Deaf; George S. Porter, of the New Jersey
School for the Deaf and editor of the
Silent Worker; Oscar Regensburg, a National Association of the Deaf official; and George Veditz, a Colorado poultry publisher, also active
in the NAD. Among art world figures are Karl Bitter, a sculptor and professional art administrator; A. Stirling Calder, Panama-Pacific
International Exposition; Eugene Gruet, Jeune, his French founder; Col. James Jackson, the director of the
Oregon Volunteers effort; Willis Polk, San Francisco architect; and Lorado Taft, art historian. Among his personal friends are two deaf artists,
Theophilus d'Estrella and Granville S. Redmond. Ella Sterling Mighels, who first approached him about a pioneer mother sculpture,
became a personal friend and served to critique his literary efforts. There are also a number of correspondents who were in
some way connected with the California School for the Deaf. Among these are A. William Caldwell, L. E. Milligan, Elwood A.
Stevenson, and Warring Wilkinson. Due to the solicitation of Wilkinson, W. E. Brown became a patron of Tilden's, purchasing
The Baseball Player.
Title: outgoing correspondence
will have to be found in the collections of the persons to whom he wrote, as he made very few copies of his outgoing letters.
In this collection there are only four principal recipients: Brother Cornelius of St. Mary's College, Jack and Charmian London,
and Mrs. Wildey Meyers, a friend and booster of his literary efforts. Brother Cornelius' letters are entirely transcripts,
prepared by Tilden's daughter Gladys; the location of these originals is not known. The letters to Jack London are also transcripts,
made by Miss Tilden from originals in the Huntington Library.
Because of Tilden's deafness, there is a box of written conversations, mostly undated, encompassing various topics relating
to his art and interests. Once again, Miss Tilden prepared transcripts for some of the conversations.
Title: Personal and family papers
contains biographical information, newspaper clippings, articles about Tilden, his marriage license and divorce Papers, and
bills and receipts (one folder from his years in Paris), as well as a file of writings by his mother Catherine Maria Hecox
Material from organizations and associations in which Tilden was interested or active is found in
Title: Series 4, Associations, 1876-1968.
These are primarily organizations devoted to deaf interests. As a graduate of the California School for the Deaf he was intensely
interested in the welfare of the school and in education for the deaf. He was a strong advocate in the separation of the educational
facilities of the deaf and the blind, as well as opposing the relocation of the school from Berkeley. He was opposed to the
method of education known as
and quarreled with the school authorities over the issue. Another squabble with the school erupted over his alleged indebtedness
to them. The school's Board of Trustees had extended funds to Tilden to further his education and development as a sculptor
abroad. Tilden was under the impression that the money advanced was a scholarship, but the Board considered it a loan. The
after its exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, was shipped to the school. Tilden requested it's removal to an exhibit
at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art which was denied, pending payment of the debt. The group still stands on the grounds
of the California School for the Deaf, now in Fremont. Miss Tilden continued to clip newspaper articles concerning some of
these organizations long after her father's death.
Tilden was a founding member of the California Association of the Deaf, an organization designed to advance the moral, social,
and intellectual standing of the deaf in California. About the same time, he became involved in a bitter and long-lasting
dispute with the National Association of the Deaf, involving, among other things, the relationship of state associations to
the N.A.D. The 13 folders concerning the
in this series contain clippings relating to this controversy. In addition, one folder in the
Title: Writings series
(carton 4, folder 26) also pertains to the
Title: Sculpture and Sketches, 1889-1970, (Series 5),
contains a miscellany of contracts, specifications, newspaper clippings, insurance papers, notes, and the like, relating to
particular sculptures, whether or not actually cast. The Bear Hunt folders contain a manuscript titled
The Amazing History of the Bear Hunt,
in which Tilden details his perception of the dispute. Miss Tilden typed and annotated this manuscript as she continued the
fight on into the 1950s. The sketches are preliminary works and portray particular sculptures such as
or ideas such as serpents or architectural ornamentation. Only those titles actually cast into sculpture are italicized.
Title: Writings, 1884-1935,
does not contain all of Tilden's published work. Tilden did not always retain copies for himself, or even if he did, he often
used the reverse side as writing paper for other purposes. Where it was possible to identify the writing on the reverse, photocopies
were made and placed in the appropriate series. Tilden used several pseudonyms, chief among them Zeno. Much of the Zeno writings
were mere paragraphs, which appear in a scrapbook and several folders at the end of the published subseries. In the unpublished
works there are several drafts of his autobiographical novel,
The Autobiography of a Dummy,
at the urging of Ella Sterling Mighels. In addition there is a
Bread Upon the Waters,
which, in correspondence to various publishers, he requested be reviewed by a male reader, as a woman reader would probably
take offence at his portrayal of women. At the end of the writings series are two folders which contain unidentified fragments.
Title: Five scrapbooks, 1860-1935
were assembled by Tilden's daughter, Gladys, after his death. They give an overview of Tilden's life, and contain photographs,
newspaper clippings, bills and receipts, mementos, and other such material. All of the identifications and annotations in
the albums were done by Miss Tilden, who continued to add newspaper clippings concerning Tilden and/or his interests to these
albums into the 1970s. Correspondence has been removed from the albums and placed in the appropriate correspondence series.
Researchers should be aware that Miss Tilden's papers, also owned by The Bancroft Library, contains correspondence from her
father as well as the notes of her own research into Tilden genealogy.