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Author Eric Jay Dolin presents on Rebels at Sea at a Member Lunch and Learn at the Museum.

Presenting the maritime world of James Forten, featured in the Museum's Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia special exhibit, with tales of daring maneuvers at sea from his latest book, Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution, author Eric Jay Dolin discussed how privateers, private vessels ranging from 20-foot whaleboats to 40-cannon men-of-war, were critical to the outcome of the Revolutionary War and reveal the entrepreneurial ethos of the new United States.

Dolin's presentation was part of a Black Founders-inspired Lunch & Learn event exclusively for Museum Members on June 3, 2023. Meg Bowersox, Manager of Gallery Interpretation, welcomed this lecture with a short performance of Meet James Forten by Nathan Alford-Tate.

About Eric Jay Dolin

Headshot of author Eric Jay Dolan along a coastline

Eric Jay Dolin is the author of fifteen books, including Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America, which was chosen as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe, and also won the 2007 John Lyman Award for U.S. Maritime History. His most recent book before Rebels at Sea is A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes, which was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Booklist, Library Journal, and the editors at Amazon. It was also selected as a "Must-Read" book by the Massachusetts Center for the Book for 2020. Rebels at Sea, the book he will talk at this event, was awarded the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award for 2023, and has also been selected as a “Must-Read” book for 2023. A graduate of Brown, Yale, and MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in environmental policy, Dolin lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, with his family. For more information, please see

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Two ships on the cover of a took titled Rebels at Sea

Rebels at Sea

Read an excerpt from Eric Jay Dolin's book, Rebels at Sea: Privateering in the American Revolution.
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A father holds his child as they look at the Forten family tree in the Museum's Black Founders exhibit.

Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia

February 11 - November 26, 2023
Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia explored the story of James Forten and his descendants as they navigated the American Revolution and cross-racial relationships in Philadelphia to later become leaders in the abolition movement in the lead-up to the Civil War.
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Image 090420 Museum Galleries Photo Credit Jeff Fusco 2
Jeff Fusco 

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