The Tilghman family have played a prominent part in American history. Richard Tilghman, a London surgeon, emigrated from England in 1660 and settled in Maryland. His grandson James Tilghman (1716–1793) was a lawyer and secretary of the land office of Pennsylvania. William Tilghman (1756–1827), the son of James Tilghman, was also a lawyer and was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from 1806 to 1827. William was the brother of Lieutenant Colonel Tench Tilghman (1744–1786) who became aide-de-camp to George Washington in 1776 and served with him throughout the War of Independence. Lloyd Tilghman (1816–1863), the grandson of Tench Tilghman, was a Confederate general in the Civil War and was killed at the Battle of Champion Hill. His son Oswald Tilghman (1841–1932) also fought in the Civil War, was a prisoner for two years, was elected to the Maryland Senate in 1894 and was the Maryland Secretary of State in 1904–08. Another member of the family, Bill Tilghman (1854–1924), was a celebrated buffalo hunter, deputy sheriff and marshal in Kansas, Oklahoma and other parts of the Old West.

Douglas Campbell Tilghman (d. 1970) was a direct descendant of Tench Tilghman. He served in the Australian Imperial Forces in 1917–18 and was wounded at the Battle of Hamel in 1918. Following his return to Australia, he held managerial positions in the Primary Producers’ Bank of Australia in Bega, Warwick and Dirranbandi. In 1931 he was commissioned by the Queensland Government to compile a handbook on Queensland. He later worked in local government and was town clerk of Yass from 1944 to 1951 and town and shire clerk of Bourke from 1951 to 1955. He then retired to Berry on the south coast of New South Wales. He had a strong interest in both US and Australian history and in his later years carried out research on the history of the Shoalhaven district and Bega and the lives of Hamilton Hume, Boyle Travis Finniss and Daniel Woodriff. His wife Margarita Tilghman was a descendant of Woodriff.

Tilghman assembled a large collection of books, pamphlets and journals, with particular strength in Americana and Australiana. From 1949 until his death he corresponded regularly with the Library about his research and he often recommended the acquisition of particular books and journals. From time to time he also donated issues of newspapers, printed ephemera and copies of documents that were absorbed in the general collection.


In 1963, at a ceremony at Parliament House, Douglas and Margarita Tilghman presented the manuscripts and paintings of Captain Daniel Woodriff and other members of the Woodriff family. In 1965 Tilghman donated his photographs of the Northern Territory. He bequeathed his American books to the Library and they were received in 1971.


Printed Materials

The Douglas C. Tilghman Collection contains about 260 books, pamphlets and reprints on American history. They cover the whole period from the colonisation of America until the age of Roosevelt, with particular focus on the War of Independence, the American Civil War, the history of Maryland and family history. The bulk of the books were published in the twentieth century, but there are a few earlier imprints:

Adams, Herbert B., Maryland’s Influence in Founding a National Commonwealth, or the History of the Accession of Public Lands by the Old Confederation (1877)

American State Papers, Being a Collection of Original and Authentic Documents Relative to the War between the United States and Great Britain (1795)

Bozman, John Leeds, The History of Maryland: Its First Settlement, in 1633, to the Restoration, in 1660 (1837)

Hall, Francis, Travels in Canada and the United States in 1816 and 1817 (1818)

Hamilton, Edward, The Life of Paul Jones (1848)

Memoir of Lieut. Col. Tench Tilghman, Secretary and Aide to Washington (1876)

Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania, from the Organisation to the Termination of the Proprietary Government (7 vols, 1851)

Original Papers Relating to the Siege of Charleston, 1780 (1898)

Radcliffe, George L., Governor Thomas Hicks of Maryland and the Civil War (1901)

Sparks, Jared, Correspondence of the American Revolution (1853)

Tilghman, Oswald, History of Talbot County Maryland, 1661–1861 (2 vols, 1915).

In addition, the collection includes several journals, in particular:

Maryland History Notes (1943–61)

Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (1948–62).


The papers of the Woodriff family include letters of Captain Daniel Woodriff (1756–1842), the log of HMS Endymion (1790), Woodriff’s report on the loss of HMS Calcutta (1805), the will of Sarah Woodriff (d. 1860), papers of Captain Daniel James Woodriff (d. 1860), his journal on HMS Bellerophon (1805), and other family documents.

The papers of Tilghman consist of three typescripts on the Diocese of Carpentaria and a letter from the Confederate States Memorial Society (1963).

Paintings and Objects

The Woodriff Collection contains oil paintings of Captain Daniel Woodriff, Jane Woodriff, Sarah Woodriff and Daniel James Woodriff, three paintings by Thomas Whitcombe of a battle between HMS Calcutta and French warships (1805), and an oil painting of Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet (c. 1865). In addition, there is a sextant and a writing desk that belonged to Captain Daniel Woodriff.


There are about 380 photographs in the Tilghman Collection. About 100 were taken on his two overland journeys to the Northern Territory in 1925 and 1927. Most of the other photographs were taken in Queensland in 1931–33 when he was compiling The Queen State: A Handbook of Queensland and include photographs of Bowen, Cairns, Charters Towers, Gympie, Kuranda, Magnetic Island, Mount Isa, Palm Island, Stanthorpe and Townsville. There are also some earlier photographs of Bega, Boydtown, Coolgardie, Penrith, Sydney, Yass and other subjects.


The books, journals and other printed items in the Tilghman Collection have been integrated in the general collection. The manuscripts of the Woodriff family are held in the Manuscripts Collection at MS 967, while the manuscripts of Tilghman are at MS 1166. There is a summary list of the Woodriff papers in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

The paintings of members of the Woodriff family and HMS Calcutta are housed in the Pictures Collection at PIC R356–359. The sextant and writing desk are kept in the Objects Collection within the Pictures Collection. The photographs of Douglas Tilghman are also held in the Pictures Collection at PIC P841. They have been catalogued at the collection level and two of the photographs have been digitised.

Related Collection

The Australiana collection of Tilghman was bequeathed to the Moore Theological College in Sydney.


Presentation of Historic Papers to the National Library, South Coast Register, 24 October 1963.

Tilghman, Douglas C., Daniel Woodriff, Australian Dictionary of Biography online

Tilghman Family, Maryland Historical Magazine, vol. 1, June–December 1906, pp. 181–4, 280–4, 369–76.

First posted 2008 (revised 2019)