April 22, 2018

Today in History: William “Boss” Tweed

The spirit of Tweed is mighty still "...and even yet you don't know what you are going to do about it!"
Today in History–December 4–the Library of Congress features New York City politician William “Boss” Tweed, who escaped from jail on this day in 1875. As leader of New York City’s Democratic Party, Tweed and his Tammany Hall cronies stole millions of dollars from the city. A vigorous campaign to unseat Tweed was ultimately successful when he was tried and convicted on charges of forgery and larceny in November 1873. Tweed was released in January 1875 but the state sued him for $6 million and he was held in debtor’s jail, from which he escaped. He fled to Spain but was eventually captured and was reincarcerated. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access more primary sources related to Tweed and the Tammany Hall political machine that outlived him.

William “Boss” Tweed image set

The life of Col. James Fisk, Jr. … and of the Hon. Wm. M. Tweed of New York, the Notorious Leader of the Infamous Tammany Ring (1872)

“Boss” Tweed front-page newspaper coverage (1873-1878)

Tammany Hall political cartoons & other images

Tammany Hall books & other texts

Tammany Hall sheet music

Tammany songs (recordings)

Tammany front-page historical newspaper coverage

Tammany magazine articles

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