John A. Nagy


John A. Nagy is a Scholar in Residence at Saint Francis University, Loretto, Pennsylvania, a consultant for Colonial Williamsburg and the William L. Clements Library of the University of Michigan on espionage, and an expert in antique documents. He is a founder and past President of the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia. He graduated from Saint Francis University, Loretto, Pennsylvania (BA) in 1968 and Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey (MMS) in 1979.

He was the source of information used in the very popular webpage “Spy Letters of the American Revolution from the Collections of the Clements Library” at the University of Michigan.

Brad Meltzer, author and host of History Channel's Brad Meltzer's Decoded said "John A. Nagy knows more about spies in the American Revolution than anyone in history."

John was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and he now resides in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

His first book Rebellion in the Ranks Mutinies of the American Revolution won the American Revolution Round Table of Philadelphia's Book Award for the best book on the American Revolution Era published in 2007.

ISBN-10: 1594160554

ISBN-13: 978-1594160554

Thomas Fleming author of The Perils of Peace, America's Struggle to Survive After Yorktown said "This book is the American Revolution seen from a new angle, full of rage, suspense, and subterfuge. Best of all, every word of it is backed by John Nagy's years of research in British and American archives."

John C. Dann author of The Revolution Remembered said "John Nagy has collected an essential, encyclopedic body of information, much of it new to historians, on the mutinies during the American Revolution. The book documents effectively that American military victory and our Independence, in the balance throughout the long conflict, should never be taken for granted."

Robert A. Mayers author of The War Man said "If you are interested in knowing the truth of how precarious the American Revolution really was, this book is must reading. Through incredible research, Nagy reveals tragic but engrossing events of the frequent mutinies that threatened the cause for Independence during the entire war, actions that have been overlooked in the commonly related accounts of those critical years. Nagy corrects many of the inaccuracies of these sad events and identifies insurrections that were previously unknown. His accounts of incredible courage, hardship and defeat are often drawn from the participants themselves, their daily suffering and the perspectives of the mutineers. This work is historically important and will open your eyes to the truth about the War as you have never heard it related."

Caroline Cox's review in the Journal of Military History, Vol. 72 No. 4, October 2008 wrote "Despite the rich material on lesser known mutinies, Nagy’s book is especially thorough on the recounting of the mutiny of the Pennsylvania line, which occupies about a third of the book. For this, he has uncovered a dazzling array of evidence and is able to recreate both the events and people’s perceptions of them at the time, thanks to material he has found from the spy networks of both the Patriots and the British. He has unearthed a reservoir of sources that will be of use to scholars and students for a long time to come.

His second book released in 2010 was Invisible Ink Spycraft of the American Revolution. It was based on almost two decades of primary research. It discusses the craft used by spies such as codes, ciphers, invisible writing, dead drops, mail intercepts, deceptions, and hidden compartments during the American Revolution. Many of the methods are still being used today. It is used as the guide for RevQuest at Colonial Williamsburg.


ISBN-10: 159416097X

ISBN-13: 978-1594160974


ISBN-10: 1594161410

ISBN-13: 978-1594161414

Also in digital


Thomas Fleming author of The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers said "John Nagy has written another remarkable book about the intelligence war in the American Revolution. No historian today can match the depth of his knowledge and breath of his insights. Invisible Ink should be on the shelf of everyone interested in the War of Independence."

Taylor Stoermer, Senior Historian Colonial Williamsburg said about Invisible Ink Spycraft of the American Revolution "As solid an overview of the practice of espionage in the Revolutionary War as there is. A much-needed contribution to the literature in the field."

Robert A. Mayers author of The War Man said "This expert piece of historical research from John Nagy author of the critically acclaimed "Rebellion In The Ranks" is an important work on the revolutionary war. Fascinating accounts are told with clarity and can be enjoyed by everyone and not just hard core fans of the era. Nagy brings to life a largely forgotten but important aspects of the war. He visits forgotten places and identifies many unsung heros of our struggle for independence. My favorite passage-The capture of a Redcoat spy who swallows his message filled bullet (twice) and then is threatened with surgery! Invisible Ink is like eating potato chips-you just can't stop reading it.

His third book Spies in the Continental Capital: Espionage Across Pennsylvania During the American Revolution was released in 2011. It is the first comprehensive work on espionage in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. It contains information on 130 spies.


ISBN-10: 159416133X

ISBN-13: 978-1594161339

Also in digital


Thomas Fleming author of The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers said "John Nagy continues to amaze us. With careful attention to primary source documents, he has discovered stories about mostly forgotten heroes and villains, For anyone who wants a look beneath the surface of the American Revolution, Spies in the Continental Capital is a must read."

His fourth book Dr. Benjamin Church, Spy: A Case of Espionage on the Eve of the American Revolution will be released by October 1, 2013.


ISBN: 978-1-59416-184-1

Thomas Fleming author of Liberty! The American Revolution said about the new book "John Nagy has devoted his astonishing research skills to unearthing the truth about the least known and most dangerous spy in American history."

John A. Nagy Lectures

He has appeared on radio and television such as the History Channel, C-SPAN, and local educational TV. He was the subject of two one-hour interviews on the Pennsylvania Cable Television Network. Podcasts of his talks are available at Youtube, Itunes, C-SPAN, Scientific American Magazine, and New York Military Affairs website. He was also an extra in the 1976 John Huston film Independence (un-credited).

John A. Nagy has spoken about spies and mutinies in the American Revolution before numerious organizations.

Have John A. Nagy speak to your organization. Contact him to make arrangements at

A partial list of some of the places where John A. Nagy has lectured and most have been more than once:

Sons of the American Revolution State Convention, Princeton, NJ
Washington Association of New Jersey Annual Meeting, Madison, NJ
Washington Association of Delaware Annual Meeting, Wilmington, DE
Fraunces Tavern Museum, New York City
MENSA Chapters in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and their National Gathering [Convention] in Michigan
New York Military Affairs Symposium at City University of NY Graduate School
Fort Ticonderoga (NY) Annual Seminar on the American Revolution
Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Spy Museum, Washington, DC
New Jersey State History Fair, Washington Crossing State Park, Titusville, NJ
Lewis Lapham’s “A World in Time” podcasts
Montgomery County Historical Society, Norristown, PA
Covenant Masonic Lodge, Palmyra, NJ
Hope Lodge Historic House Museum, Fort Washington, PA
Summerseat House Museum, Morrisville, PA
Valley Forge National Historic Site, Valley Forge, PA
Princeton Battlefield, Princeton, NJ
Mercer County Library, Lawrenceville, NJ
Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA
Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, PA
Bloomberg News Radio, New York, NY
Moland House Museum, Hartsville, PA
Philadelphia Library System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Battle of Iron Works Hill and the Fire and Ice Festival, Mount Holly, NJ
West Deptford Free Public Library, Thorofare, NJ
Ocean City Free Public Library, Ocean City, NJ
Cape May County Library, Cape May Court House, NJ
Mount Laurel Historical Society, Mount Laurel, NJ
Washington Crossing Park, Washington Crossing, PA
Elizabeth Public Library, Elizabeth, NJ
Sons of the American Revolution – Philadelphia; Morristown, NJ; Southern, NJ; Elkton, MD; Newark, DE; Washington Crossing, PA Chapters
Greater Delaware Valley Antique Dealers Association (Southern New Jersey),
American Revolution Round Tables in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond, and Washington DC
Civil War Round Tables in Allentown and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
West Point Museum, West Point, New York
Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Daughters of the American Revolution in NJ and PA
Company of Military Historians
Jewish Community Centers
Philadelphia Tour Guides Association, Philadelphia, PA
Bronxville Senior Citizens Association, Bronxville, NY
Assisted Living Retirement Communities
Arlington Public Library, Arlington, Virginia
Book signing at Barnes & Noble, Borders, and independent book stores in Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia
Elementary Schools and Summer Camps for Children
Burlington County Library, Westampton, New Jersey
Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen’s Club, New York
Peter Wentz Farmstead, Worcester, Pennsylvania
Leisuretown History Club, Vincentown, New Jersey
Medford-Vincentown Rotary, Medford Lakes, New Jersey
Ewing Township Historic Preservation Society, Ewing, New Jersey
Hopewell Valley Historical Society, Pennington, New Jersey
Franklin Township Public Library, Somerset, New Jersey
Preservation New Jersey, Princeton, New Jersey
Union County Library Directors Meeting, Linden, New Jersey
Springfield Public Library, Springfield, Union County, New Jersey
Avalon History Center, Avalon, New Jersey
Questers’ Clubs both local and state chapters
Springfield Township Historical Society, Burlington County, New Jersey
Brehon Law Society, Philadelphia, PA
Right Angle Club, Philadelphia, PA
First Colony of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in New Jersey
Paoli Battlefield Preservation Society, Malvern, PA
Brandywine Creek State Park Encampment, Wilmington, DE
Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site, Chadds Ford, PA
Fort Myers, Arlington, Virginia
State of Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
New Castle Historical Society, New Castle, Delaware
Newtown Historical Society, Newtown, Pennsylvania
Monmouth Battlefield State Park, Englishtown, NJ
Princeton Battlefield Society, Princeton, NJ
Knights of Columbus # 6530, Marlton, New Jersey

© 2014 John A. Nagy

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