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Robert F. Fisk, State Librarian 1861-1863

Robert F. Fisk

Robert Farris Fisk was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 5, 1819 to parents Deacon William and Jane Farris Fisk. He spent some time working in business, including a trip to the West Indies. He then attended Yale for his undergraduate degree and graduated in 1844. He went to Cambridge for law school, graduated in 1846 and was admitted to the bar in February of 1848. He never worked in law, however, and continued his business career. 

He married Narcissa P. Whittemore on June 16, 1847, and they had three sons while they lived in Massachusetts. 

They moved to Minnesota in 1857. He became involved in Republican politics and was connected to Alexander Ramsey. He also worked in real estate. In April of 1860, he was given the military rank of colonel in the army and was an aide-de-camp to Governor Ramsey. 

In late 1860, he was appointed private secretary to the governor as well as State Librarian. During 1863, he was ill and wasn't able to fulfill his duties. He had suffered health issues most of his life and in 1863, he moved back to the east coast. Pennock Pusey became acting temporary librarian until the governor could find a replacement.

He died suddenly on December 16, 1863 in Washington D. C. while on the way to Ford's Theater. The cause was heart disease, and he was only 44 at the time. He left his widow and 5 children behind. Another child had died in infancy.

You may read more about the life and work of Robert F. Fisk in the research resources linked in this guide, which are the sources of this brief biography.