Joseph B. Barry (1757–1838) was a noted cabinetmaker and upholsterer in Philadelphia. His shop was located at 148 South Third Street. Barry was born in Ireland and professionally trained in London before emigrating to America. Once settled in Philadelphia, he attracted customers by proclaiming his use of "the newest London and French patterns."[1] Thomas Jefferson periodically used Barry's services during his vice presidential years in Philadelphia. No specific pieces of furniture now at Monticello, however, have been identified as Barry's work.


Primary Source References

1797 July 1. "Drew the following orders on John Barnes ... in favor of ... Joseph B. Barry. cabinet maker 46.75."[2]

1798 February 21. "Gave Joseph B. Barry ord. on J. Barnes for 39.D. for mahogany work."[3]

1798 June 25. "Drew the following orders on J. Barnes. Joseph B. Barry 16.[D.]"[4]

1799 February 27. "Gave J. B. Barry ord. on Barnes for 4.50."[5]

1800 May 14. "Gave Joseph B. Barry ord. on J. Barnes for 193.D. cabinet work."[6]

1801 March 16. (Barry to Jefferson). "Sir, having had the honour of being employ’d by you while in Philadelphia, but fearing through the great press of business attendant on your Station; and the many applications likely to be made by people in my line, an obscure individual like me, might be pass’d by unnoticed. I am in hopes you will not think me impertinent for taking this method of reminding and solisiting a small part of your business; either in the cabinet or upholstery line: which if you will please to grant me, I will do my endeavour to give you Satisfaction, by paying the strictest attention to your orders—"[7]


  1. ^ Cornelius William Stafford, The Philadelphia Directory for 1801 (Philadelphia: Printed for the Editor, by William W. Woodward, 1801), 60; Robert T. Trump, "Joseph B. Barry, Philadelphia Cabinetmaker," The Magazine Antiques vol. 107, no. 1 (January 1975), 159-63. See also PTJ, 33:306n (note available at Founders Online); MB, 2:964n15 (note available at Founders Online).
  2. ^ MB, 2:964. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  3. ^ MB, 2:979. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  4. ^ MB, 2:986. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  5. ^ MB, 2:999. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  6. ^ MB, 2:1019. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  7. ^ PTJ, 33:306. Transcription available at Founders Online.