The Baron of Leiperville
by Richard Pagano
Book Review By Joe Arcidiacono
SPORTS EDITOR, Deleware New Network
The latest work from local sportswriter and author Rich Pagano, entitled “The Baron of Leiperville,” recounts the life and times of James F. Dougherty, a colorful character from the world of boxing and Delaware County native. Pagano, an expert on the lore and sports legend of Delaware County, presents many stories about the career of Dougherty in the sport of boxing as well as giving readers a glimpse into the history of Delaware County.
Known as “The Baron of Leiperville,” Dougherty had a long career in the sport and interacted with many of the biggest names of his era like Jack Dempsey, Doc Kearns, George Godfrey and more. The book is also a resource to explore the history of Delaware County, specifically the Chester and Leiperville (which is now known as Crum Lynne) areas where Dougherty spent his early years, which were once boxing hotspots.
Giving accounts of Dougherty’s early life and his upbringing, readers get a true sense of the man that would become known as “The Baron of Leiperville.” Dougherty was instrumental in raising the profile of boxing and brought many big names and big fights to the area. Also, this book gives great details about Dougherty’s many contributions to Delaware County, such as establishing Leiperville’s first fire company, the James F. Dougherty Fire Company, in 1908. Dougherty also constructed a hotel and bar on Chester Pike which was completed in 1906, called the Colonial Hotel, and boasted a 75-foot long bar which, at one time, was said to be the longest on the east coast. According to many accounts, Dougherty owned one of the first automobiles ever seen in Delco, a 1909 Studebaker E.M.F. touring car.
“The Baron of Leiperville” is full of colorful stories about the larger than life characters that populated the Delaware County and Philadelphia sports scenes of the time, such as Jack Johnson, one of the most influential black fighters during an era where racial segregation in the sport of boxing was still strong, and Harry Lenny, who became close to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt through the use of his “touch healing.”
A thorough amount of research for this book, as Pagano cites numerous sports journalists of the time as well as news articles on all manner of personalities and subjects and other historical sources on the subject of boxing which helps to paint a complete picture of the man known to many as “The Baron.” In addition to being a great resource of information, this book also contains a wealth of pictures from the era to give readers a window into the Baron’s life and a true sense of the subject material.
“The Baron of Leiperville” is a great resource for boxing fans interested in this bygone era as well as those seeking a look at the life and times of one of Delaware County’s most interesting characters.
“The Baron of Leiperville” can be purchased for $19.95 by contacting the author Rich Pagano at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 267-280-6696 for a copy.