The Ingersoll Chronology Project
Your Ingersoll Quote of the Day
From: What Must We Do To Be Saved?
There is only one true worship, and that is the practice of justice.
To see where this lecture was performed click here

Col.Ingersoll taken in Denver on May 12, 1877
Robert G. Ingersoll - A Chronology of his lectures,
with newspaper commentaries by Doug Schiffer

Getting Involved

Random Ads
Introduction What's New Ingersoll Resources
The Chronology What's Next Special Thanks

Some Research Notes

Apr 20th lectures in the Chronology.
How To Be Saved?
Which Way?
1895Bay City,
How To Be Saved?
1898New Britain,
Apr 19 Apr 21


Buy an Ingersoll Ad Poster!

Ingersoll's works on tape!

Visit the Ingersoll Birthplace Museum:

14th season opening on
on May 26th, 2007!

Robert G. Ingersoll - was a 19th century Freethinker, orator and lawyer extraordinare.  His name was a household word in North America from the 1870's until after his death in 1899.  If you were a literate American in those times, you knew of Robert Ingersoll, and his frequent lectures defending and advocating freethought.


   If you are interested in the life and times of "Colonel Bob", then you will find a wealth of information here about his career.  If you ever wondered if there is a history of freethought in your area, this resource may very well tell you the answer.

   This project has as its goal to document his life and lecture tours, and preserve the public reactions of Robert Ingersoll's American and Canadian lectures.  Here you'll be able to see where and when Ingersoll spoke, what he said, and what happened afterwards.  Although this project is well under way, it it is by no means complete.   The total number of lectures that Col. Bob delivered may have numbered as high as 2 thousand, and we currently have almost 1300 listed.  If you would like to help find additional lectures - and help document the history of freethought in America, click here.

Entries are being added every week, so if you don't see anything for your area, check back every so often!

The Chronology So FarPicture of the Chronology

Choose one of the following:

Look at the Chronology Statistics page, which lets you look for specific years, states, lectures and events.

Alternatively, you can browse the Complete Chronology


Getting Involved:

You can add your name or the name of your organization to the Ingersoll chronology.  If you have any new information that will help nail down Colonel Ingersoll's whereabouts during the period of 1866 to 1899, you can submit it to the chronology.  In return for your efforts, your name will be displayed as part of the event data.  Alternately, you can have your organization's name or logo displayed.  Your name or logo can also be hot linked to a web site or email address of your choice.  Of course, you can also contribute anonymously, if desired. 

Here's the sort of information that is especially wanted:

  • Lectures that aren't listed in the chronology.
  • The title of the lecture delivered on certain date, if it is not currently known.
  • Ads for lectures, from old newspapers.
  • Reviews of lectures, from old newspapers.
  • Copies of lithographs or theater programs for Ingersoll lectures.
  • Here's how to find more information  (it is as simple as a trip to the library)

    Some Randomly Selected Ads from the Chronology:
    (every time you reload this page, you'll get a new selection)
    Republican on Feb 26,1878
    Morning Dispatch on Nov 4,1878

    What's New:
    Apr 13, 2004 - Revised all Interview events to display the name of the newspaper on the chronology page. Split several combined interview events into separate events.
    Mar 28, 2004 - Added On this Day feature to main Ingersoll page.
    Feb 7, 2004 - Found new lectures in Manchester and Exter New Hampshire further filling in tour 85G during visit to Manchester public library.
    Jan 18, 2004 - Found a facinating series of letters from Ingersoll to various theater owners in 1879 for lectures in Jan 1880 - further completing lecture tour 80A with lectures in Xenia, Ohio and Lockport, NY and Albion NY.   These all came from reel 6 of the Ingersoll papers.
    Dec 12, 2003 - Yet another trip to Boston - and filled in every remaining unknown lecture for Massachussetts.
    Nov 21, 2003 - Visited the New York State Library and gathered ads and reviews for more lectures.
    Nov 8, 2003 - Visited the Manchester, NH public library and got ads and reviews for then known Manchester lectures.
    Oct 23, 2003 - Visited the Boston Public Library and nailed down most unknown lectures then listed.
    Oct 5, 2003 - Added lecture tour feature to chronology queries. All events that are part of a tour have tour hotlinks. Tour display includes mileage estimates of total distance travelled (straight line approximation).
    Jun 23, 2003 - Added numerous new lectures and citations from New England, following a weekend trip to the Connecticut State Library in Hartford and the Boston Public library.
    Jun 19, 2003 - Added extensive new entries and citations from Ingersoll papers reels 2-5, courtesy of the Center for Inquiry libraries.
    May 1, 2003 - Oh no! The Chronology is shrinking!! Actually removed all tour events,spurious duplicate lectures as well as Deleted Events. All this to make way for the big change coming soon.
    Apr 28, 2003 - After a trip to Cornell University, added documentation to Washington, Chicago and San Francisco lectures.
    Updated appearance of all chronology tables.
    Apr 13, 2003 - Added new documentation of Nashville, Tenn. lectures, kindly submitted by Johnny D. Walker, for 1895, and 1898
    Mar 23, 2003 - Added a bunch of new lectures and other events gathered over the last couple of months - including Pittsfield, MA, St. Louis, MO, Carlinville, IL and Harrisburg, PA,
    Jan 19, 2003 - Busy day!  Added new online lecture "Hell", added new experimental clickable map of Jan 1885 tour, and added info on lectures in Jan of 1885, all gleaned from the New York State Library.
    Jan 10, 2003 - Added New Hampshire lecture info from a trip to the Public Library in Concord, NH.  
    Dec 4, 2002 - Visited Clifton, NJ public library, and nailed down Paterson, NJ lecture.
    Nov 29, 2002 - Finished extracting information from reel 31 of Ingersoll papers.  Lecture total now 1176.  Unknown lectures now stand at 244
    Nov 22, 2002 - Once again, the Center for Inquiry Library
    has allowed me to examine another reel from the Ingersoll papers, this time reel 31.  More information to come soon.
    Oct 19, 2002 - Added documentation for 2 lectures in Ogdensburg and Lockport NY, after a quick trip to the NY State Library.
    Sep 15, 2002 - Made some minor cleanups of old entries, fixing bad links, and polishing some entries.  Added some new ads from a recent trip to the NY State Library.
    Sep 2, 2002 - Thanks to the Center for Inquiry Library's allowing me to examine reel 30 of Ingersoll's papers, 1895 is now the most well documented year in the chronology.  The data extraction from that microfilm is complete.  The lecture total is now 1166.  Unknown lectures - once over 300 - have shrunken to 257.
    Aug 27, 2002 - Reel 30 now 1/3 done.  Lecture total has broken thru the 1100 mark, and stands at 1114.
    Aug 24, 2002 - Finished reel 29, and included about 10% of reel 30.  Lecture total now stands at 1081.
    Aug 10, 2002 LOTS of new material - after a visit to the outstanding Center for Inquiry Library, added new lectures in 1897&98 - and added more supporting detail for existing ones.  Also included 2/3rds of reel 29.  All told, about 47 new lectures, and more detail on dozens more.
    Jul 17, 2002: Finished reel 28, and started reel 29. Added another Erie, PA lecture submitted by Tom Flynn.
    Jun 17, 2002: Started on scrapbook entries on reel 28 of Ingersoll's papers.  Mostly from 1883-1884 so far. Slightly over 1/3rd of the reel has been examined, and the lecture total stands at 978.
    We've now got over 900 lectures, 1500 events and 2500 citations in the chronology, and more on the way!
    May 31, 2002: Added material on Erie, PA submitted by Tom Flynn. 
    Added over 50 new lectures from Ingersoll scrapbooks contained in microfilm reel 26, mostly from 1877 and 1878.
    May 11, 2002: Added Oswego NY coverage, and some more quotes for the Quote of the day feature.
    Apr 28, 2002: Added half a dozen new newspaper ads from Ingersoll's scrapbooks - all outside NY state. Corrected some errors and made "Some Words of a Man on the Word of God" listed as "Mistakes of Moses".
    Apr 21, 2002: Added all remaining materials from Reel 27 of Ingeroll's scrapbooks.  Other reels will be started soon. Grand totals for Reel 27:  131 new entries, (of these 108 were lectures, 11 were political speeches). 
    Apr 14, 2002: Added New Ingersoll Resources to the list.  Ingersoll Concordance and Cornell University Library. Also brought in the latest harvest of events from scrapbooks.
    Apr 2, 2002: Began systematically adding materials from Ingersoll's scrapbooks. One reel of microfilm is being examined, and new entries are accumulating. Some of the latest entries
    Mar 17, 2002: 
    Added new online citations for Buffalo, NY, by bringing in all materials from the Buffalo folder.
    Feb 23, 2002: Digitized a couple of Ingersoll manuscripts for Utica NY & Kalamazoo, MI. In the process, added 4 new lectures in Feb, 1880.
    Feb 6, 2002: While waiting for a pizza, I visited the Bolivar Library and nailed down yet another Ingersoll lecture in Lily Dale, NY
    Jan 27, 2002: Added new online citations about the cancelled Norwich NY lecture of 1885.  To learn something about the character of Robert Ingersoll when things went wrong, click here
    Jan 26, 2002:  Added new online citations for Syracuse, NY, by bringing in all materials from Syracuse folder.
    Jan 22, 2002:  Added 2 new lectures and new online  citations for existing lectures in Bradford PA
    Jan 17, 2002:  Added new online citations for events in New Hampshire

    What's next to be done:

    Bring in all materials from Ingersoll Scrapbooks
    Search of Truth Seeker, 1898 & 1899
    Using new NY listings from above to fill in additional newspaper commentaries

    Thanks goes to:

    Tom Flynn

    Ranjit Sandhu

    The Ingersoll Birthplace Museum
    (a project of:)

    The NY State Library at Albany
    (specifically, the excellent newspaper collection)

    The New York Public Library

    Jervis Library, Rome, NY

    and of course, my wife and kids,
    who put up with me somehow!

    Some Ingersoll Resources
    Ingersoll Organizations
    Ingersoll Birthplace Museum
    Ingersoll Memorial Committee
    Online Ingersoll Text Resources
    Internet Infidels
    Positive Atheism
    Ingersoll Manuscripts - Microfilm
    Library of Congress Washington DC
    New York Public Library New York, NY
    Penn State LibraryState College, PA
    Cornell University LibraryIthaca, NY
    Harvard University Libraries  Cambridge, MA
    Center for Inquiry LibrariesAmherst, NY
    Note: These libraries have Ingersoll's papers on microfilm 
    Other Ingersoll Manuscripts
    Georgetown University
    The collection includes a large quantity of autograph manuscripts by the noted lawyer and lecturer Robert Green Ingersoll...
    University of Iowa Libraries
    Papers of the Ingersoll Family, 1875-1923
    Center for Inquiry Libraries
    Has a collection of original manuscripts, in the Gordon Stein Collection

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