Author: Henry Armitt Brown

Henry Brown, c. 1867

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Henry Armitt Brown (1844–78) was, as a boy, fixed upon the idea of pursuing a career in the military, spending much of his childhood studying and writing about military history. Instead, he entered Yale University in 1861, graduating in 1865, and, after attending Columbia Law School, practiced law in Philadelphia. In the years following, he established himself as a gifted orator, delivering commemorative speeches celebrating the nation’s history, the most famous of which include his address at Carpenters’ Hall in 1874 and his 1877 oration at the bicentennial of the formation of the Quaker town at Burlington, New Jersey. He delivered his last and best-known address, the oration at Valley Forge, on June 19, 1878, shortly before his death at age 33.

Valley Forge

Henry Armitt Brown

Throughout our nation’s history, the memory and example of George Washington and his accomplishments in the Revolutionary War have been appropriated by many people and used to inspire their contemporaries to pursue what they regard as worthy purposes. For Henry Armitt Brown (1844–78), author and orator, the cause was progress and enlightenment.