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"Time is the mother of truth, and Sire, time will tell I speak truly!"

-- Jan Westcott, The Border Lord

Jan Westcott image - image

Jan Westcott Biography

Maryann Josephine Vlachos was born in Philadelphia on February 23, 1912, daughter of Professor Nicholas and Mary Vlachos. Professor Vlachos, a native of Holland, was a distinguished classical and historical scholar and the author of Hellas and Hellenism. It was because of his influence that Maryann became a student of history. She had one brother who died in 1966.

She attended school in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania where she also attended Swarthmore College. While vacationing in Avalon, New Jersey she met and married Richard Westcott with whom she had two children: Richard and Michael. The marriage ended in divorce.

As a stay at home mom she dared herself to write historical fiction in a traditional romantic style. Working in the morning, when the children were at school, and then at night, when they were in bed, she authored her first novel Border Lord under pen name of Jan Westcott; the novel was published by Crown in 1947 and became a best seller. Jan Westcott eventually became a well-known historical novelist of eleven books. She researched the subject matter of her books assiduously. In 1969, Boston University created a Jan Westcott collection.

In Avalon she met Dr. Robert Barden, who was a prominent radiologist, and later married him in 1954. They lived and worked in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania with their combined family of two sons and four daughters. She loved to entertain and to have extended family converge on the home for joyous holidays. Family was important to her. Her interests over the years were many and diverse: music and the Philadelphia Orchestra, bridge, fishing, reading, gardening, travel, church, politics, and the real estate market. She was an expert surf caster and fisherman.

Jan Westcott passed away at the age of 99 years on October 29, 2011, at Cathedral Village in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she had resided for many years. While at Cathedral Village she wrote: "The mystery of death comes close as our years climb up ― around us is the unknown, the last step. Aware as we are of it, the present is vital and exciting and precious. Each day gives us the beauty of the earth, the lovely sound of the needed rain."