Isaac K. Funk

Isaac Kaufmann Funk was born on September 10th, 1839, in Clinton, Ohio. He attended at Wittenberg College and the Wittenberg Theological Seminary, in Springfield Ohio. In 1860, he was ordained as a Lutheran pastor, and acted as a pastor for various churches in Ohio, Indiana, and New York. 
     In 1872, he resigned from the ministry and later moved towards a career in publishing. In 1875, Isaac Funk teamed up with Adam Wagnalls (who was a lawyer, accountant, and a former Wittenberg classmate of Funk), to found the Funk and Wagnalls publishing company. Funk and Wagnalls published a variety of works, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, reference books, religious works, and temperance writings. It was a major publisher for Prohibition Party literature, and the writings of many important prohibition activists. This reflected Funk and Wagnalls support for the temperance and prohibition cause. 
     In 1880, Funk founded the Voice, as a national Prohibition Party publication.
     In 1885, Funk ran as the Prohibition Party candidate for Mayor of Brooklyn. He contended that outgoing Mayor Seth Low was not making satisfactory appointments to the city’s excise board, and argued that it was time for the city to elect an out-and-out prohibitionist. He received 925 (0.92%) votes, and came in 4th place. In 1888, Funk ran as the Prohibition Party candidate for Congress in New York’s 4th district. He received 292 (0.83%) votes and came in 3rd place. In 1892, he ran for Congress in the 2nd district, receiving 499 (1.420% votes and coming in 3d place. In 1896, he ran in the 2nd district again. He received 103 (0.29%) votes and came in 5th place. 
     Throughout, the 1880’s and 90’s, Funk was highly involved in the Kings County Prohibition Party. In 1894, he got into some controversy: In the 1893 election Funk had been working to elect Prohibition Party candidates in Kings County. The standard campaign procedure directed by the county committee was to distribute Prohibition Party ballots to local pastors, along with a letter encouraging them to both vote for and encourage others to vote for the local Prohibition Party ticket. In addition to this, Funk had also sent major party ballots and a letter stating that if one was unwilling to vote for all the candidates on the Prohibition ticket, to consider voting for at least some of them. In response, some members tried to expel Funk from the county committee. But the majority voted against expelling him, and the matter was tabled.
      In 1897, Funk ran for Brooklyn Borough President. He received 639 (0.34%) votes and came in 5th place.  
      Isaac Funk died on April 4th, 1912, and was buried at Green Woods Cemetery in Brooklyn. 
     In his life, Funk helped contribute to the publicity and political activity of the Prohibition Party, and through his publishing company had left behind many valuable works that help us in understanding the history of the Prohibition Party.


"Charter Election - Official Canvass." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn), November 24, 1885. "First in the Field." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn), October 14, 1885. "Funk Absent But Victorious. The Motion to Expel Him Tabled by the Prohibitionists." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn), July 10, 1894. "Isaac K. Funk." Wikipedia. February 14, 2018. Accessed September 26, 2018.
"Isaac Kaufman Funk (1839-1912) - Find A Grave..." Find A Grave. Accessed September 26, 2018.
"Our Campaigns - Candidate - Isaac Kauffman Funk." Our Campaigns. Accessed September 26, 2018. 0.
"They Still Love Funk. Prohibitionists Refuse To Expel Their Leader." Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn), March 6, 1894.

-- Contributed by Jonathan Makeley, photo from Wikipedia