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Ira David Sankey

1840-1908. Singing evangelist and associate of D.L. Moody.* Born in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, he early acquired musical talent. After service in the Union Army during the Civil War, he returned to Newcastle, Pennsylvania. Singing soon became his chief interest. He often sang at Sunday school conventions. In 1870 as a delegate to the international convention of the YMCA at Indianapolis, he impressed D.L. Moody, who persuaded Sankey to join him in his evangelistic work in Chicago. This meeting inseparably linked the two for the next quarter-century. He assisted Moody in a remarkable series of meetings in the British Isles (1873-75), during which their popular Sankey and Moody Hymn Book was published. On their return to the USA they were national figures. Sankey's baritone voice was not exceptional but, accompanying himself on a small reed organ, he could pour great feeling into the simplest hymn.