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Authentic Portrayal of an 18th Century Barber Surgeon

I'm always pleased to answer any questions or inquiries on event information.

I've loved living history for most of my adult life.  Click to learn more about my life and passion.

Being in St. Louis, I look forward to doing 18th Century military events in the midwest area.

Prearranged full day and half day presentations available for educational assemblies.


"Mr. Murphy has portrayed an 18th century French barber surgeon named Joseph la Bollé for over thirty years at reenactments, lectures at medical schools,  secondary schools, universities, as well as at numerous historic sites across the country.  This presentation discusses, in detail, medicines used to treat a variety of illnesses and maladies suffered by colonial Americans.  

Medicines of the 1700s hadn’t changed much over the centuries; treatments were rather archaic with some treatments based on supposition and simple observations instead of in depth medical study. Oftentimes patients had a better chance of surviving what ailed them then what a physician was going to prescribe to cure them. Attendees of this lecture will learn about simple herbal remedies found in a kitchen garden, as well as, more complex concoctions such at Blue mass.

“Every time I attend one of John’s lectures, I learn something new. It’s an absolutely fascinating subject.” comment site director, RoxAnn Raisner. “He’s spent years researching this topic. His collection of medicines and medical instruments is one of the most extensive in the country.” Mr. Murphy’s portrayal of an early Illinois barber surgeon is truly authentic and well researched. Not only will attendees get to see a variety of 18th century medical tools and medicines but Mr. Murphy dresses the part too. His clothing is period correct for his portrayal of an 18th century surgeon; which he will also discuss why certain accouterments were part of his daily wear." - Stevenson House Site Director RoxAnn Raisner   

"Your recent visit with our students was an informative and valuable learning experience.  We thank you for taking time from a busy schedule to share your expertise with our students to help make their classroom studies more relevant and meaningful.- Beth Ruprecht  School/Community Facilitator Rockwood School District


"It takes a gifted and engaging presenter to work with elementary students; Mr. Murphy holds their attention and takes them back to the 18th Century.  We appreciate and applaud his passion, his professionalism and his talents." - Kim Litzau Supervisor, Partners in Education Rockwood School District

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