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Tilford E. Dudley Digital Archives


Eastern Illinois University

Charleston, Illinois


Coles County



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          Tilford Eli Dudley (1907-1990) was born to
          Dr. Gerry Dudley and Mrs. Esther Shoot Dudley
          in Charleston, Illinois, on April 21, 1907. He
          served as a member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's
          New Deal Administration and  became an
          influential labor lawyer. The contributions Tilford
          Dudley made to his country and community
          merit recognition and remembrance of his life
          which  began in Charleston





dudley family

          Tilford attended the Lab School at
          Eastern Illinois State Teachers
          College and received a diploma from
          Eastern State High School in 1924.
          He left Charleston to attend
          Wesleyan University, graduating in
          1928. That  same year, he married
          Martha Ward, and the couple had
          three children: Gerric, Donnica, and
          Martha. Tilford  graduated in 1931
          from law school at Harvard  
          University, setting the stage for
                                                                                         his career.  




          In Washington, D.C. Tilford worked for the
          Federal Relief Administration, the Suburban
          Resettlement Program, the National Labor
          Relations Board, and the War Labor Board. He
          left his government post in 1944 to work for the
          United Packinghouse Workers and later the
          Committee of the Congress of Industrial
          Organizations.  He eventually became the
          director of the AFL-CIO  Speakers Bureau.
          Tilford made a career of fighting for causes
          including civil rights and economic justice. 




The EIU Historical Administration program, in conjunction with the Coles County Historical Society, prepared a series of public lectures and an exhibition to highlight his accomplishments and contributions. Click on one of the links below to learn more about one of Charleston's most famous sons. 

Tilford Dudley Digital Archives 

Public Presentation


 2007-2008 Historical Administration Class Project