Born in New York in 1832, Rollin Daggett moved to Ohio when he was five and eventually worked there as a printer. At seventeen, Daggett became a '49er following the dream of California gold. Failing to become rich, he joined J. Macdonough Foard in 1852 to found The Golden Era. The famed San Francisco literary weekly featured many young writers on their way to prominence, including Bret Harte, Joaquin Miller, William Wright, and Samuel Clemens.
In 1862, Daggett came to Virginia City. The following year, he joined the Nevada Territorial Council. In 1864, he became an assistant to Joseph Goodman, co-owner of the Territorial Enterprise. Daggett and Goodman co-authored Psychoscope: A Sensational Drama in Five Acts (1871), a play foreshadowing Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886). When William Sharon purchased the Enterprise in 1873, he made Daggett editor-in-chief. Daggett left that position in 1878 to represent Nevada in Congress where he was a critic of the Central Pacific Railroad's unfair freighting costs.
Defeated in his first re-election bid, Daggett became the U.S. Minister to Hawaii. In 1882, he published a novel, Braxton's Bar: A Tale of Pioneer Years in California. Three years later, Daggett returned to San Francisco where he continued to write, editing Legends and Myths of Hawaii (1888). He died in 1901.
Francis Phelps Weisenburger. Idol of the West: The Fabulous Career of Rollin Mallory Daggett. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1965.
Myron Angel. History of Nevada: 1881. Berkeley: Howell-North, 1858.