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Advertised For Sale Nationally By Barry Himself!

Finely engraved image of William Taylor Barry, the U.S. Postmaster General from 1829 to 1835 during President Andrew Jackson's administration.

Engraving by J.B. Longacre after painting by C.B. King. 

As noted by Valentijn Byvanck,

In the early 1830s, this culture of representation manifested itself most prominently in the political realm, where aspirants for diverse public offices began to routinely commission portraits for the political market. Depending on the sitter's place in the political hierarchy, those portraits were multiplied in print and sold on subscription, shown in fledging portrait galleries and periodicals, or displayed in public halls and on household objects. Political appointee Postmaster General William T. Barry advertised his likeness for sale in the national newspapers.

William Taylor Barry (1784-1835): An American Statesman and Jurist

Born on February 5, 1784, near Lunenburg, Virginia, William Taylor Barry was influential figure in the political arena of early 19th-century America. A lawyer by training and a slave owner, Barry's public life spanned roles ranging from legislator to jurist, always maintaining a penchant for championing social causes.

Moving to Fayette County, Kentucky, in 1796, Barry's early life was marked by familial ties to the Revolutionary War and British ancestry from Lancashire. He attended the Pisgah Academy, Kentucky Academy, Transylvania University, and culminating in a law degree from the College of William & Mary in 1803.

Barry's political ascent began with his election to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1807. This was followed by a brief stint in the U.S. House of Representatives (1810-1811) and service during the War of 1812. Barry then represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate from 1815 to 1816. A proponent of public education, his correspondence with former President James Madison highlighted the importance of "popular information" for the effective functioning of a "popular Government."

In the wake of the Panic of 1819, Barry championed debt relief, defending relief laws that were eventually overturned by the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1823. Serving as the sixth Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky (1820-1824), he later became the Secretary of State of Kentucky (1824-1825). He subsequently was appointed Chief Judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals during the Old Court - New Court controversy. Barry's political career reached its zenith when he became the U.S. Postmaster General (1829-1835) under President Andrew Jackson. Notably, he was the lone Cabinet member to stand by Jackson during the Petticoat Affair, a social scandal that saw many resignations.

A series of appointments followed, including his nomination as ambassador to Spain. However, fate had other plans, and Barry passed away on August 30, 1835, in Liverpool, England, before assuming the role. Initially interred in St. James's Cemetery in Liverpool, his remains were later moved to Frankfort Cemetery, Kentucky.

Barry's legacy is preserved in various place names, such as Barry County in both Michigan and Missouri, Barrytown in New York, and the town of Barry in Missouri. Additionally, he was a member of the esteemed Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences, sharing membership with luminaries like Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams.

Beyond his public life, Barry had familial ties to political leadership, being the uncle to Kentucky Governor Luke P. Blackburn. A statesman, jurist, and advocate for social causes, William Taylor Barry remains an enduring figure in American history.

David Stauffer: American Engravers on Copper and Steel, Part II, #1930. (1907)
Valentijn Byvanck: The Jackson Figurehead; Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Winter, 2000), pp. 253-267