Biography of Ignatius Donnelly
Famous American Biographies

IGNATIUS DONNELLY, widely known as an author and politician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 3, 1831. He was educated at the public schools of that city, and graduated from the Central High School in 1849. He studied law in the office of Judge B. H. Brewster, and was admitted to the bar in 1852. In the spring of 1856, Mr. Donnelly emigrated to Minnesota, then a new territory, and, at Hastings, resumed the practice of law in partnership with A. M. Hayes. In 1857, and again in 1858, he was defeated for state senator, but in 1859 he was elected by the Republicans as lieutenant governor, and reelected in 1861. In 1862 he was elected to represent the Second district of Minnesota in congress. He was reelected to the same office in 1864 and in 1866. He was an abolitionist and warmly supported President Lincoln's administration, but was strongly in favor of leniency toward the people of the south, after the war. In many ways he was identified with some of the best measures brought before the house during his presence there. In the spring of 1868, at the request of the Republican national committee, he canvassed New Hampshire and Connecticut in the interests of that party. E. B. Washburne about this time made an attack on Donnelly in one of the papers of Minnesota, which was replied to on the floor of the house by a fierce phillipic that will long be remembered. Through the intervention of the Washburne interests Mr. Donnelly failed of a reelection in 1870. In 1873 he was elected to the state senate frOm Dakota county, and continuously reelected until 1878. In 1886 he was elected member of the house for two years. In later years he identified himself with the Populist party.

In 1882, Mr. Donnelly became known as an author, publishing his first literary work, "Atlantis, the Antediluvian World," which passed through over twenty two editions in America, several in England, and was translated into French. This was followed by "Ragnarok, the Age of Fire and Gravel," which attained nearly as much celebrity as the first, and these two, in the opinion of scientific critics, are sufficient to stamp the author as a most capable and painstaking student of the facts he has collated in them. The work by which he gained the greatest notoriety, however, was "The Great Cryptograrn, or Francis Bacon's Cipher in the Shakespeare Plays." "Ceasar's Column," "Dr. Huguet," and other works were published subsequently.

A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.

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