Blacks@Dartmouth 1775 to 1960

Theodore Milton Selden

Died in tragic train accident shortly after graduating from Dartmouth

alumnus image

Dartmouth College A.B.

Class of 1921

Phi Beta Kappa

Born  1897  Norfolk VA

Died 1922

Quotes from Biographical Sources

Theodore Milton Selden, age 22, a Norfolk lad, graduate of Norfolk Mission college and Lincoln University, was one of the twelve persons killed in the wreck on the Reading Railroad when the 'Midnight Flyer,' traveling at the rate of 75 miles an hour left the rails near Winslow Junction, N. J., and plunged down an embankment last Sunday night. Mr. Selden was the son of Mr. W. H. and the late Mrs. W. H. Selden of Norfolk.

Killed in Pullman: The coach in which the young man was killed as the first to go down the embankment when the 'flyer' hit the open switch, pulling the locomotive down upon it. When his body was extracted from the wreckage, in his hand was clutched his watch which had stopped at 12:24. The news of the young Selden's death reached the family of this city on Monday morning.

Popular in the City: The young man was well known in this city, his native home. He was one of Norfolk's old and prominent families. Mr. Selden was exceedingly popular and of a disposition that cased his popularity to steadily increase. He was very studious having graduated from Norfolk Mission College with honors in 1915, winning many prize debates during his career there. From Norfolk he went to Lincoln University, where he won more honors than the University had ever before bestowed upon any student. The University records the honors won by Milton Selden as follows: Bachelor of Arts, 1919; Honor Latin Salutatory; Annie Louise Finney Prize, Bradley Medal in Natural Science; Class of ''99 Prize in English; The O. B. Prize in Debate; second in Parmly Prize in Oratory; Senior Class-Magna Cum Laude.

Taught At Lincoln: After receiving his degree at Lincoln Mr. Selden remained there one year and taught chemistry. From Lincoln he went to Dartmouth College, where he received special mention for his advanced studies in chemistry. Leaving Dartmouth, the young man went through the South Western States on a speaking tour, making many friends in his travels. He cut the speaking tour short, however, to enter the School of Commercial Law at Pennsylvania University. He had finished last term at Pennsylvania only a few days when he entered the Pullman service to earn funds for his next year's school term. Mr. Selden did not come home at the close of the school as had been his custom, as the Pullman Company had an assignment waiting for him upon which he had to begin his duties at once. This he was doing at the time of his tragic death.

Many Relatives: Theodore Milton Selden is survived by a father, four brothers, and two sisters, besides a host of relatives. Two of his brothers, William H. and Wiley W. are letter carriers from the local post office, brother John S. is an instructor at Booker T. Washington High School and Percy F. is a shipping clerk for Sear Roebuck, Philadelphia. His sisters, Mrs. Dr. Beasley and Miss Agnes Selden, are in Kansas City, Missouri.

The body arrived in this city Tuesday and the funeral was held from the First Baptist church, of which he was a member on Wednesday afternoon. Rev. R. H. Bowling officiating.

Norfolk Man Killed in Wreck: Milton Selden Victim of Rail Road Accident. (Jul 8, 1922). New Journal and Guide, p. 1.

Other source(s)

  1. Penn Law pays tribute to Theodore Selden, Class of 1924 student who died in tragic train wreck. (Feb 2015). Retrieved from

Profile image source: Dartmouth Aegis 1921