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David Sheldon Barry, Sr. (May 25, 1859 – February 10, 1936)[1] was an American journalist who became the 17th Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate, serving from 1919 to 1933.[2]

David S. Barry
David Sheldon Barry

(1859-05-25)May 25, 1859
DiedFebruary 10, 1936(1936-02-10) (aged 76)
NationalityUnited States of America
ChildrenDavid S. Barry. Jr.

Barry's first-hand experience of politics began at the age of twelve as a page in the Michigan Legislature, where he served from 1871 to 1873,[3] going on to become a United States Senate Page in 1875.[4] He then entered a career in journalism which included stints as Washington correspondent for Detroit's Post and Tribune,[5] editor-in-chief of The Providence Journal (1904–1906)[6] and Washington bureau chief for The New York Sun, where he was known as a strong supporter of Theodore Roosevelt.[7] He drew upon his experiences as a Washington correspondent for his 1924 book, Forty Years in Washington.[8]

Barry was appointed Sergeant at Arms to the United States Senate in 1919, and was dismissed in 1933 after accusations that an article that he wrote for the journal New Outlook[9] libelled the Senate with claims that some members were well-known to sell their votes.[10]

He was the father of Col. David S. Barry. Jr., an officer in the United States Marines,[11] and great-grandfather of Julia Thorne and Ambassador David Thorne.[12][unreliable source?]


  1. ^ "David S. Barry, Former Senate Official, Dies". Chicago Daily Tribune. February 11, 1936. p. 18.
  2. ^ Haynes, George Henry (1960). The Senate of the United States: its history and practice, Volume 1. Russell & Russell. p. 264. OCLC 225372015.
  3. ^ Matson, Francis G. (1921). Official Congressional Directory. United States Congress. p. 231. OCLC 48473297.
  4. ^ "Live Pages in Political Affairs". Boys' Life. August 1922. p. 48.
  5. ^ Schwarzlose, Richard Allen (1987). Newspapers, a reference guide. Greenwood Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-313-23613-6.
  6. ^ Journal-bulletin Rhode Island almanac. Providence Journal Bulletin. 1998. p. 210. OCLC 228293898.
  7. ^ Ponder, Stephen (2000). Managing the Press: Origins of the Media Presidency, 1897–1933. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-312-23507-9.
  8. ^ "Forty Years in the Paradise of American Politicians; David S. Barry Tells a Little of All He Knows About Them". The New York Times. March 30, 1924. p. BR13.
  9. ^ Barry, David S. (February 1933). "Over the Hill to Demagoguery". New Outlook. 161: 40–43. OCLC 5361148.
  10. ^ Lowitt, Richard (1971). George W. Norris: the persistence of a progressive, 1913–1933, Volume 2. University of Illinois Press. p. 566. ISBN 978-0-252-00176-5.
  11. ^ "Col. David Barry, Marine 32 Years; Retired Officer, a Leader of Honor Guard When Harding's Body Lay in State, Dies". The New York Times. July 2, 1951. p. 18.
  12. ^ "The Ancestors of Julia Stimson Thorne (b. 1945)". William Addams Reitwiesner. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles P. Higgins
Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate
Succeeded by
Chesley W. Jurney