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Author Lecture: John Barry – An American Hero in the Age of Sail

February 17, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

The Friends of the American Philosophical Society (located in Philadelphia) would like to extend an invitation to interested parties to attend their APS lecture and book signing by Tim McGrath on John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail.

Tim McGrath is a compelling and lucid writer, and is an executive who lives outside of Philadelphia. An avid sailor, he has been published in Naval History magazine. He has served on the board of directors of the Kearsley Retirement Community (founded by Benjamin Franklin’s physician) Christ Church Hospital and Fort Mifflin. He has written articles on management, U.S. history, and healthcare issues for various newspapers and magazines. John Barry has been nominated for the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Excellence in Naval Literature. Dr. Gregory Urwin of Temple University wrote about the book: “Readers of this vivid biography will imagine they smell the ocean’s salt air and the sulfurous fumes of gunpowder as they navigate these action-packed pages. Fans of Horatio Hornblower and Lucky Jack Aubrey will rejoice in discovering their real-life American counterpart.”

Ashore as well as at sea, Tim McGrath paints an informative, engaging and highly entertaining portrait of this worthy but neglected hero of American independence. The author shows us a man who was a magnificent embodiment of common sense—and uncommon courage and dedication. Every day, sightseers walk in a steady stream by the statue on the south side of Independence Hall.    They glance at the name “Barry” on the pedestal, and shoot photos of the animated figure ─ a naval officer, clasping a spyglass with one hand, pointing south with the other. Then, just as quickly, they leave, wondering, “Who was Barry?” Philadelphia has two statues of John Barry and a nearby bridge – the Commodore Barry – is named after him. Other statues can also be found in Washington, and in Barry’s native County Wexford, Ireland. Who knows that he served with Washington’s army at Princeton (while his ship was in dry dock), and helped guarantee a quorum for Pennsylvania’s ratification of the Constitution by seizing a couple of state assemblymen?

Barry’s life and times have been expertly brought together in the first comprehensive biography in generations: John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail. This very readable and exhaustively researched work was taken from primary source documents around the world and is an indispensable addition to U.S. Navy collections.

Reception: 5:30 PM Program: 6:00 PM


February 17, 2012
5:30 pm
Event Category:


Benjamin Franklin Hall
427 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA United States
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The Friends of the American Philosophical Society