* presumably 9th November 1795 in Belfast, today United Kingdom
† 25th July 1865, London, today United Kingdom
James Barry was a doctor in the British army. He completed his studies with a doctorate in medicine. He traveled on assignment around the world to countries such as India, Malta, Jamaica, and Canada. In Cape Town, South Africa, Barry performed one of the first known successful Caesarean sections. Mother and child both survived the operation.
Barry was outraged by unnecessary suffering, and insisted on better living conditions for poor and simple people. Wherever he was stationed, he attempted to improve the living and sanitary situations of ordinary soldiers.
James Barry lived his adult life as a man. His origins, gender, and age are still not yet completely clear. Only after his death his body was discovered to be female. New evidence suggests that Barry was born Margaret Ann Bulkley to Jeremiah and Mary-Ann Bulkley of Ireland. It is widely believed that Barry decided to live as a man in order to study medicine at university, to achieve his desired career as a doctor and surgeon. At the time, it was practically impossible for women to study medicine.