July 2, 2022

Joel Barlow: American Citizen in a Revolutionary World – Meet the Author

Author and scholar Richard Buel will speak at the Essex Library on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. about his newest book, Joel Barlow: American Citizen in a Revolutionary World.  

Professor Emeritus at Wesleyan University, Buel has spent the last five years researching this fascinating but little-known figure from America’s founding: Connecticut poet turned entrepreneur, diplomat, and international revolutionary, whose circle included Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Tom Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Lafayette, and Yale classmates Noah Webster and Oliver Wolcott.       

Hear about how Barlow, born in humble circumstances, made a name for himself in a revolutionary era; his experiences during America’s war of independence (1775-1783); his efforts to sell Ohio lands to the French at the beginning of their Revolution; his revolutionary writing in England that made him persona non grata there, while the French granted him citizenship and asked him to run for the National Assembly(he lost); his response to the Terror and subsequent assignment by Pres. Washington to free American sailors from the Barbary Pirates; his eventual return to America and his purchase of an estate (at Jefferson’s suggestion) that he named Kalorama (just north of DuPont Circle in DC); and his last diplomatic appointment (by Pres. Madison) as ambassador to Napoleonic France. Also his secret marriage to Ruth Baldwin, their unusual relationship, and later their intimate friendship with Robert Fulton.

 Books will be available for sale and signing, and refreshments will be served. Please call the Essex Library at 860-767-1560 to register. The program is free and open to all.