John Bigelow

John Bigelow

Infobox Person
name = John Bigelow

caption =
birth_date = birth date|1817|11|25|mf=y
birth_place = Malden-on-Hudson, New York, U.S.
death_date = death date and age|1911|12|19|1817|11|25
death_place = New York City

John Bigelow (November 25, 1817 - December 19, 1911) was an American lawyer and statesman.


Born in Malden-on-Hudson, New York, he graduated from Union College in 1835 where he was a member of the Sigma Phi Society and the Philomathean Society, and was admitted to the bar in 1838. From 1849 to 1861, he was one of the editors and co-owners of the "New York Evening Post". On June 11, 1850, Bigelow married Jane Tunis Poultney: their son Poultney Bigelow was a lawyer and a noted journalist and editor.

Political career

Abraham Lincoln appointed him Consul at Paris in 1861, progressing to Chargé d'Affaires, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Napoleon III. In 1865, he became Minister to France and helped block the Confederacy's efforts to acquire ships in Europe. He published "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin", and helped expose the graft of the Tweed administration in New York City. After three years living in Germany, he returned to New York, where he was elected Secretary of State. He was instrumental in the development of the New York Public Library, and a staunch proponent of the development of the Panama Canal. He was a friend of Philippe Bunau Varilla, who brought Panama's declaration of Independence to Bigelow's home: Panama's first proposed flag was made there by Mrs. Bunau Varilla, but was rejected by the Panamanians, who made their own.


On August 8, 2001, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani signed a bill adding the name "John Bigelow Plaza" to the intersection of 41st Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, directly in front of the famous main branch of the New York Public Library.


* [ Mr. Lincoln and Friends: John Bigelow]
*Mellander, Gustavo A.(1971) "The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years". Daville,Ill.:Interstate Publishers. OCLC 138568.
*Mellander, Gustavo A.; Nelly Maldonado Mellander (1999). "Charles Edward Magoon: The Panama Years". Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial Plaza Mayor. ISBN 1563281554. OCLC 42970390.
* [ ] at Bigelow Genealogy
* [] Bigelow and Union College, in NYT on May 18, 1913

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