Sankey, Ira David



Noted evangelist and singer and the composer of a large number of popular gospel hymns. He is known chiefly in connection with the work of Dwight L. Moody in religious revivals throughout America and Great Britain. Mr. Sankey was born in Edinburgh, Pennsylvania, and had begun upon his career as a deputy to his father, who was a collector of customs, when, in 1870 at a meeting of the Young Men's Christian Association in Indianapolis he met Mr. Moody, who invited him to Chicago to sing and assist at revival meetings. A few months later Mr. Sankey resigned his position in his father's office and journeyed to Chicago, where he began his labors at the old Illinois Street Church, and at Farwell Hall. The two men remained there until the fire of 1871. Two years later they went to England, where they stayed three years. For twentynine years the two men worked together, Mr. Sankey composing and singing his gospel hymns. He composed many of the hymns in the Moody and Sankey Hymn book, The Ninety and Nine being perhaps his best known one. When the Mists Have Rolled Away; Faith is the Victory and numerous others have become very familiar throughout America and England. Sankey's compilations of hymns and tunes have had a larger circulation than any other books of the kind ever published, his sacred songs and solos, published in England in 1873, having had a circulation of 50,000,000 copies and having been translated into many languages. Mr. Sankey had a rich, full voice, and articulated with great distinctness. He is now seldom heard as a singer, and in recent years has lectured on the subject of Sacred Song and Story, his favorite theme.