ROBERT G. INGERSOLL AUTOGRAPH



Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll was born August 11, 1833 – died July 21, 1899. Ingersoll was a Civil War veteran, American political leader, and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. Robert Ingersoll was born in Dresden, New York. In 1855 after Cunningham was named register for the federal land office in southeastern Illinois at Shawneetown, Illinois, Ingersoll followed him to the riverfront city along the Ohio River. After a short time there he took the deputy clerk position with John E. Hall, the county clerk and circuit clerk of Gallatin County, and also a son-in-law of John Hart Crenshaw of the infamous Old Slave House. On November 11, 1856, Ingersoll caught Hall in his arms when the son of a political opponent assassinated his employer in their office. When he moved to Shawneetown he continued to read law under Judge William G. Bowman who had a large library of both law and the classics. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, he raised the 11th Illinois Cavalry Regiment and took command. The regiment fought in the Battle of Shiloh. Ingersoll was later captured, then released on his promise that he would not fight again, which was common practice early in the war. After the war, he served as Illinois Attorney General. He was a prominent member of the Republican Party, and though he never held an elected position, he was nonetheless an active participant in politics. Ingersoll was involved in several prominent trials as an attorney, notably the Star Route trials, a major political scandal in which his clients were acquitted. He also defended a New Jersey man for blasphemy. Although he did not win acquittal, his vigorous defense is considered to have discredited blasphemy laws and few other prosecutions followed. Ingersoll was most noted as an orator, the most popular of the age, when oratory was public entertainment. His radical views on religion, slavery, woman’s suffrage, and other issues of the day effectively prevented him from ever pursuing or holding political offices higher than that of state attorney general. At the height of Ingersoll’s fame, audiences would pay $1 or more to hear him speak, a giant sum for his day. Ingersoll died from congestive heart failure at the age of 65. Soon after his death, his brother-in-law, Clinton P. Farrell, collected copies of Ingersoll’s speeches for publication. The 12-volume Dresden Editions kept interest in Ingersoll’s ideas alive and preserved his speeches for future generations. Ingersoll is interred in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 3, Lot 1620, Grid S-16.5). In 2005, a popular edition of Ingersoll’s work was published by Steerforth Press. Edited by the Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Tim Page, “What’s God Got to Do With It: Robert Ingersoll on Free Speech, Honest Talk and the Separation of Church and State” brought Ingersoll’s thinking to a new audience.

 

Original Robert G. Ingersoll Autograph, Signed Card Stock. Dated Dec 30 97. Regular Price – $ 250.00 / Sale Price – $ 198.00.

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