James Gibbons (July 23, 1834 – March 24, 1921) was an American prelate of the Catholic Church who served as Apostolic Vicar of North Carolina from 1868 to 1872, Bishop of Richmond from 1872 to 1877, and as ninth Archbishop of Baltimore from 1877 until his death. He was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 1886.
Gibbons was consecrated a bishop on August 16, 1868, at the Baltimore Cathedral. The principal consecrator was Archbishop Martin J. Spalding. He was 34 years of age, serving as the first Apostolic Vicar of North Carolina. He attended the First Vatican Council, where he voted in favor of defining the dogma of papal infallibility. In 1872, he was named Bishop of Richmond by Pope Pius IX. In 1877, Gibbons was appointed Archbishop of Baltimore, the premier episcopal see in the United States. During his 44 years as Baltimore’s archbishop, Gibbons became one of the most recognizable Catholic figures in the country. He defended the rights of labor and helped convince Pope Leo XIII to give his consent to labor unions. In 1886, he was appointed to the College of Cardinals, becoming only the second cardinal in the history of the United States, after Archbishop John McCloskey of New York.
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