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Bill Tilton papers

Identifier: ua01286

Scope and Contents

The Bill Tilton papers contain material on Tilton’s involvement in the Minnesota 8 during the 1970s and includes legal notes and court records. Other papers related to Tilton’s activity in the Minnesota Student Association, the African American Action Committee, and the Morrill Hall Sit in. There are also documents on his legal work and research into Wounded Knee and the Minnesota Prison Investigation. The collection also contains material related to the play, “Peace Crimes: The Minnesota 8 vs. the War,” produced by the St. Paul’s History Theatre and performed by the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Theater Center in 2008. The remainder of the collection contains subject files, publications, posters and newspaper clippings related to Tilton, his work and related activism.


  • 1958 - 2015

Conditions Governing Access

Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law Title 17, U.S. Code. Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Biographical / Historical

William (Bill) Tilton (1947-) is an active and well-known civil litigation lawyer and founding partner under Tilton Dunn and Gross PLLP of St. Paul, Minnesota. A St. Paul native, Tilton graduated from Cretin High School in 1965 and went on to attend the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate degree. During that time, Tilton participated in social movements on campus, including civil rights, the student power movement, anti-Vietnam War committees and the Minnesota Student Association, where he led as Vice President. In 1970, Tilton became one of the Minnesota 8, a group of men intending to remove draft records from official offices. Tilton was caught, convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, of which he only served 20 months. After completing his time, Tilton began his legal work by supporting a community team for the Wounded Knee Legal Defense and Offense Committee. This led him to attend law school at the University of Minnesota and in 1977, he received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree and became the first convicted felon to be admitted to practice law in the State of Minnesota. For the past four decades, Tilton has been dedicated to his practice, focusing on personal injury and wrongful death matters. He has also been lead counsel in many jury trials, including medical malpractice, auto accidents, products liability, murder, kidnapping, wrongful discharge, defamation, prison riots and more. He has received the “Minnesota Lawyer Attorneys of the Year” from Minnesota Lawyer in 2001 and has been named Minnesota Super Lawyer throughout his career. Outside of the courtroom, Tilton was also a former adjunct professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law. Tilton continues to educate professionals in the field, as well as, practice law regionally, to this day.


9.65 Cubic Feet (7 record boxes, 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



The Bill Tilton papers, spanning 1958-2015, contain legal material, activist documents and publications related to current lawyer, Bill Tilton, and his time as a student at the University of Minnesota.


The Bill Tilton papers are arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Minnesota 8, 1970-1995 Series 2: Minnesota Student Association, 1968-1972 Series 3: Activist Committees, 1968-2015 Series 4: Wounded Knee Defense Committee, 1972-1977 Series 5: “Peace Crimes: The Minnesota 8 vs. the War” Play, 1970-2010 Series 6: Minnesota Prison Investigation, 1972-1975 Series 7: Subject Files, 1965-2008 Series 8: Publications, Posters and Newspaper Clippings, 1958-2011

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives by Bill Tilton in 2020.

Related Materials

Related material include the following collections: Minnesota Student Association records Department of African and African American studies records

Katelyn Morken, 2020
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area