Maud Ingersoll

On this date in 1864, Maud Ingersoll was born in Peoria, Illinois, second daughter of "the Great Agnostic," Col. Robert G. Ingersoll and Eva Parker Ingersoll. Maud, like her older sister, Eva, was given the middle name "Robert." With Eva, Maud received instruction at home by her parents, with extra tutoring in German, French, Italian, music and art. Both girls read before the age of six, although not pushed into formal education. As teenagers, they sometimes helped their father research the bible and religious writings for his lectures. "Father had read with us and together we have looked up references, localities and proofs," Eva once wrote, adding that the more they came to be acquainted with Christianity, the less they liked it. Maud became Ingersoll's special attendant, accompanying him on lecture tours. Maud once stayed in the courtroom throughout a protracted, 6-week trial her attorney father was hired to handle, involving a charge of forgery over a will, in Butte, Montana. After Ingersoll's death, Maud continued to refute spurious claims, which she was accused of circulating, that her father had recanted: "At the time of his death--in fact, the very morning of his death--he was working on a new lecture on Jesus Christ to be delivered the next winter and in which he intended saying that Christ was a myth," Maud reported. D. 1936.

“I wish to say emphatically that there isn't a word of truth in this statement. Neither my sister nor myself is connected with any church in any way. Although our father has always wished for us to study and think for ourselves, we agree with him heartily in his religious belief.”

—Maud Ingersoll, denying her alleged religious conversion in a slander put forth by Rev. W. W. Landrum, First Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia, 1883.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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