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Credit: Library of Congress
Media type: engraving
Museum Number: LC-USZ62-121959
Annotation: In 1870 Elizabeth Tilton confided to her husband that she had been having an affair with his close friend and immensely popular Protestant minister and reform movement leader Henry Ward Beecher. Beecher himself has married and the father of ten children, though it was quietly suggested that the number of young women attracted to his strong personality and good looks garnered the majority of his affection. Though both Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton’s husband convinced her to recant the story of their affair, the news soon reached Victoria Woodhull who had previously been the target of one of Beecher’s sermons against “free love”. When Woodhull published the story in her widely distributed paper the scandal turned into a national sensation. The charges were never proven in court, and Beecher remained a popular celebrity until his death in 1887.