1817 – Born on November 25th in Bristol, New York. American author, journalist, and diplomat who was the discoverer and first editor of Benjamin Franklin’s long-lost Autobiography. As U.S. consul in Paris during the American Civil War, he also prevented the delivery of warships constructed in France for the Confederacy.
1838 – Graduated at Union College and practiced law in New York and was called to the New York bar.
1849 – Bigelow was managing editor and, with the poet William Cullen Bryant, part owner of the New York Evening Post.
1856 – In the election campaign he was a principal adviser of the Republican Party’s first presidential candidate, John Charles Frémont.
1861 – Appointed consul in Paris, Bigelow adroitly gained support for the Union cause, emphasizing ideological considerations to the French liberal press and the trading potential of the Northern industrial states to French businessmen.
1865-1866 – As United States Minister to France (April–September), he dealt tactfully with the problem of the French-backed Mexican empire of Maximilian.
1868 – While living in Paris, Bigelow found and edited a manuscript of Franklin’s Autobiography.
1875-1877 – Served as Secretary of State of New York.
1887 – He later edited Franklin’s complete works, 10 volumes.
1888 – In "France and the Confederate Navy, 1862–1868", he recounted the episode of the French-built warships, which, if manned by Confederate crews, might have broken the Union blockade of the South.
1895 – He also wrote a biography of U.S. presidential candidate Samuel Jones Tilden and several works on the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg.
1911 – Died on December 19th in New York, New York.
2001 – Mayor Giuliani signed a bill adding the name "John Bigelow Plaza" to the intersection of 41st Street and Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.