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The Great Tichborne Case Collection

Identifier: MS-0112

Scope and Contents

The Great Tichborne Case Collection is housed in the LaBudde Special Collections of the UMKC Miller Nichols Library. It is a lean but significant collection of ephemera and other items documenting the celebrated 19th-century legal case in the United Kingdom of Arthur Orton, an impostor who claimed to be missing heir Sir Roger Tichborne. Orton’s conduct was so outrageous that it was the target for much fodder in newspapers and other publications. The collection highlights the vast notoriety given to this case and the fate of Orton.

The collection includes a Pictorial Souvenir of the Great Tichborne Case with a narrative of the lives of Tichborne and Orton, and the accounts of both Orton trials: the first to claim heir to the Tichborne legacy, the second when he was charged with perjury after proven an imposter. In addition, there are chapbooks and song sheets that offer further background and insight into the public sentiment of the time.

News coverage in the collection primarily comprise newspaper runs of The Tichborne News and Anti-Oppression Journal and The Tichborne Gazette, both containing accounts of the legal case. There are additional articles and clippings from other sources dating as late as 1898, the time of Orton’s death. Satirical pieces in the form of caricatures, a greeting card, and “Tichborne Alphabets” – A-Z lists and illustrations based on the trial’s players and themes – round out this aspect of the collection.

Also included are facsimile documents of the Tichborne Estate Mortgage Debenture and The Claimant’s Letter from Newgate, the latter an appeal to the public by Orton after his arrest for perjury, first published in 1872 in London’s tabloid The Evening Standard. Finally, two topical pieces of sheet music were removed from the collection and are housed separately in the Sheet Music Collection.


  • 1871 - 1898

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status is unknown


4 Linear Feet (LaBudde: 1 Manuscript Box, 1 Oversized Drawer.)

Language of Materials


LaBudde: Teresa L. Gipson (supervising archivist).
LaBudde: January 2007.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Special Collections and Archives Repository