“Benjamin Franklin In Search of a Better World” Exhibition Text

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					“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World”
Exhibition Text
Section 0

Section 0-E-01
C panel: Credit/donor panel

[INSERT SPONSORSHIP INFORMATION HERE]

This exhibition is organized by the Minnesota Historical Society. “Benjamin Franklin: In Search
of a Better World” was originally organized by The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, a
consortium of five Philadelphia institutions: the American Philosophical Society; The Franklin
Institute; the Library Company of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; and University of
Pennsylvania, with leading support from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Section 0-E-02
A Panel

Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World

Scientist, inventor, diplomat, humorist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur: Benjamin Franklin is
one of the most remarkable and influential Americans of any generation. In this exhibition,
created in honor of Franklin’s 300th birthday, we invite you to experience the adventures of an
extraordinary man.

You will meet Franklin in Boston, as a rebellious, ambitious teenager, and then travel with him
to Philadelphia, London, and Paris. As you recreate Franklin’s scientific experiments and civic
initiatives, you’ll have the chance to see the world through his ever-curious eyes. Finally, face to
face with original copies of five of America’s founding documents––all of which Franklin signed–
–you can practice your own skills at negotiation and compromise. Surrounded by Franklin’s own
possessions––many of which have been handed down in his family and never before seen in
public––you’ll be immersed in his world. As you are introduced to many facets of Franklin that
you never knew, you will also discover his impact on your own world.

Dost thou love Life? then do not squander Time; for that’s the Stuff Life is made of.

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1746

Section 0-E-03
RR 0-01

In His Own Words

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Having emerg’d from the Poverty & Obscurity in which I was born & bred, to a State of Affluence
& some Degree of Reputation in the World, and having gone so far thro’ Life with a considerable
Share of Felicity, the conducing Means I made use of, which, with the Blessing of God, so well
succeeded, my Posterity may like to know, as they may find some of them suitable to their own
Situations, & therefore fit to be imitated. ––That Felicity, when I reflected on it, has induc’d me
sometimes to say, that were it offer’d to my Choice, I should have no Objection to a Repetition
of the same Life from its Beginning, only asking the Advantage Authors have in a second Edition
to correct some Faults in the first.

––Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

[G110]
Robert Feke
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
1738–1746
Harvard University Portrait Collection, Cambridge, Mass., bequest of Dr. John Collins Warren,
1856
Facsimile for exhibit

Widely accepted as the earliest known likeness of Benjamin Franklin, this portrait has
occasionally been thought to have been of his brother John, as it descended in his family.
Robert Feke––a painter who worked in Boston, Philadelphia, and cities in between––portrayed
Benjamin Franklin as a well-to-do gentleman in a traditional pose. Franklin was probably
approaching retirement from his printing business, by which time he had already acquired an
ample fortune.

[G235]
Page one of the manuscript of Franklin’s autobiography
1771–1789
Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Section 0-E-03
Large fin

Skuggs the Squirrel

Hello, dear friends!

When I was a little critter, I was rescued from the thorny underbrush by my new best friend,
Benjamin Franklin. Oh, what did he see in so lowly a creature as me? I was just a tiny squirrel
with no prospects! “But Skuggs,” Franklin said to me, “even the smallest of creatures can do
great things. Greatness is all around you. Step out into the world and you will find it.”

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And so Ben invited me to join him on an extraordinary journey. We have curious minds and
sturdy shoes, but we need some traveling companions. Won’t you share our adventures?
Come along, dear friends—off we go!

Franklin & Skuggs

Franklin was a warmhearted man who delighted in the company of friends. He found them in
all sorts of places—even on the forest floor! Franklin was especially fond of small, furry
creatures like squirrels, or skuggs as they were called in his day. He once sent a “fine large grey
Squirrel” all the way from Philadelphia to London as a gift for his friend Georgiana Shipley. Alas,
the first skugg escaped from his cage and was devoured by a dog. Franklin, feeling sad for
Georgiana’s loss, asked his wife Deborah to send Georgiana a second skugg. In a letter of
thanks, Georgiana reported that her new friend grew “fat and lively” and enjoyed “as much
liberty as even a North American can desire.”




    Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 3 of 90
“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World”
Exhibition Text
Section I

Section 1-E-01
A Panel

Character Matters

1706–1723

Born into a large family of Boston tradesmen, Benjamin Franklin learned early that hard work,
thrift, integrity, and self-discipline were important personal virtues. Though Franklin attended
school for only two years, he turned to books for reference, self-education, and delight. He was
well-read in the religious and moral teachings of Boston’s Puritan leadership, and he modeled
his own writing on famous philosophers and essayists.

At 12, Benjamin was apprenticed to his older brother James, a printer. Franklin learned the
trade easily and well, but ambition got the better of him. Brilliant and independent, he ran
away from Boston when he was only 17. Franklin traveled first to New York but, finding no
work, continued on to Philadelphia.

Being ignorant is not so much a Shame, as being unwilling to learn.

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1755

Section 1-E-01
C 1-01

[ALL]
[A153]
The Holy Bible
Cambridge: John Baskerville, 1763
Bound book
Collection of William Ravenel Duane
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended in the family of Deborah Bache Duane

Franklin bought this imposing folio (of church lectern size) in England, and gave it as a present
to his daughter Sarah before her marriage to Richard Bache.



    Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 4 of 90
John Baskerville’s books are prized examples of British typography and printing; the letterforms
he designed continue to inspire typefaces today. Franklin admired Baskerville’s work and the
two compared notes on printing when they met at Baskerville’s home, Easy Hill.

Section 1-E-02
Attached to wall

[ALL]
[A056]
Sign of the Blue Ball
(American), ca. 1698
Painted wood, tin, and iron
The Bostonian Society/Old State House Museum, Boston, Massachusetts
Owned by Benjamin Franklin’s father, Josiah Franklin

Section 1-E-02
Platform

[ALL]
[A105]
Armchair
(American), ca. 1740
Wood, paint, and cane
Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Descended in the family of Benjamin Franklin’s sister, Jane Mecom

Section 1-E-02
RR 1-01

Franklin’s Boyhood Home

Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706, to Josiah and Abiah Franklin. He was the ninth of
eleven children, and the youngest son. The family lived in a small wooden house on Milk Street,
across from the “Old South” Meeting House. Measuring just 20 ft. square, the home also served
as the chandlery (candle-making) shop of Josiah Franklin. His shop sign, in the shape of a blue
ball, hung outside until the Franklin family moved to a larger dwelling at the corner of Hanover
and Union Streets, and Josiah opened a separate shop a block away from the Milk Street house.

I was the youngest Son and the youngest Child but two, & was born in Boston, N. England.

—Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

[G234]
    Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 5 of 90
Benjamin Franklin’s birthplace on Milk Street, Boston
Conjectural drawing by Nian-Sheng Huang
ca. 1993

[G089]
John Bonner
The Town of Boston in New England
1722
Engraving
I. N. Phelps Stokes Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs,
The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

Section 1-E-03
Side fin

The Whistle

Franklin loved to tell stories, frequently using his youthful adventures to make a moral point. In
The Whistle, young Benjamin’s delight with his new toy turns to dismay once he learns that he
paid too much for it. As he grew older, Franklin used this childhood lesson to question the
inflated value people often place on status, wealth, and possessions.

Section 1-E-03
RR 1-02

[R001]
Benjamin Franklin, illustrated by George Overlie
The Whistle
Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1974
Facsimile for exhibit

Later in life, Franklin enjoyed composing bagatelles, or trifles, in a playful, often flirtatious,
style. Franklin wrote The Whistle for his friend and neighbor in France, Mme Brillon. He drafted
it in English, translated it into French, and then gave it to Mme Brillon to correct before he
printed it in both English and French at his Passy press in 1784. Here is a 20th-century children's
book version of Franklin's original bagatelle.

[Media text]
When I was a Child of seven Years old, my Friends on a Holiday fill’d my little Pocket with
Halfpence. I went directly to a Shop where they sold Toys for Children; and being charm’d with
the Sound of a Whistle that I met by the way, in the hands of another Boy, I voluntarily offer’d
and gave all my Money for it. When I came home, whistling all over the House, much pleas’d
with my Whistle, but disturbing all the Family, my Brothers, Sisters & Cousins, told me I had
    Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 6 of 90
given four times as much for it as it was worth, & laught at me so much for my Folly that I cry’d
with Vexation; and the Reflection gave me more Chagrin than the Whistle gave me Pleasure.

As I grew up, came into the World, and observed the Actions of Men, I thought I met many who
gave too much for the Whistle. If I knew a Miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable Living,
all the Pleasure of doing Good to others, for the sake of Accumulating Wealth, Poor Man, says I,
you pay too much for your Whistle.

When I saw a beautiful sweet-temper’d Girl, marry’d to an ill-natured Brute of a Husband; What
a Pity, says I, that she should pay so much for a Whistle!

In short, I conceiv’d that great Part of the Miseries of Mankind, were brought upon them by the
false Estimates they had made of the Value of Things, and by their giving too much for the
Whistle.

—The Whistle, written for Mme. Brillon
Passy: Benjamin Franklin, 1779

Section 1-E-04
C 1-02

[Case fin text]
A Voracious Reader

Franklin was an enthusiastic reader even as a small boy: “From a Child I was fond of Reading,
and all the little Money that came into my Hands was ever laid out in Books.” Franklin also
enjoyed borrowing books, which he “was careful to return soon & clean.” He read John
Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Plutarch’s Lives, the philosophical works of John Locke, and
Anthony Collins’s A Philosophical Inquiry Concerning Human Liberty, all of which informed his
thinking for years to come.

Often I sat up in my Room reading the greatest Part of the Night, when the Book was borrow’d
in the Evening & to be return’d early in the Morning.

––Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

[MHS, HEINZ, NARA—2 volumes will travel to ALL VENUES]
[A134A]
John Locke
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, vol. 1
London: Printed by T. W. for A. Churchill; and Edm. Parker, 1726
Library Company of Philadelphia

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[BOWERS & FORD—2 volumes will travel to ALL VENUES]
[A134B]
John Locke
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, vol. 2
London: Printed by M. J. for A. Churchill; and Edm. Parker, 1726
Library Company of Philadelphia

[MHS, HEINZ, NARA—2 volumes will travel to ALL VENUES]
 [A143A]
Plutarch
Lives
London: R.E. for Jacob Tonson, 1693
Library Company of Philadelphia

In his Autobiography, Franklin wrote, “Plutarch’s Lives . . . I read abundantly, and I still think
that time spent to great Advantage.”

[BOWERS & FORD—2 volumes will travel to ALL VENUES]
 [A143B]
Plutarch
Lives
London: R.E. for Jacob Tonson, 1693
Library Company of Philadelphia

In his Autobiography, Franklin wrote, “Plutarch’s Lives . . . I read abundantly, and I still think
that time spent to great Advantage.”

[MHS, HEINZ, NARA—2 volumes will travel to ALL VENUES]
 [A255A]
Anthony Collins
A Philosophical Inquiry Concerning Human Liberty
London: R. Robinson, 1717
Library Company of Philadelphia, gift of Benjamin Franklin

From reading Collins, Franklin became “a real Doubter in many Points of our Religious
Doctrine.”

[BOWERS & FORD—2 volumes will travel to ALL VENUES]
 [A255B]
Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole
Logic; or, the Art of Thinking…By Mr. Ozell
London: William Taylor, 1717
Library Company of Philadelphia
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Franklin owned this book, which revolutionized the teaching of logic, and in his Autobiography
he described the influence it had on him when he read it as a young man. His signature on the
title page is thought to be the earliest Franklin signature extant. In 1733 Franklin gave the book
to the Library Company.

[MHS, HEINZ, NARA—2 volumes will travel to ALL VENUES]
 [N032A]
Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele
The Spectator, vol. 3
London: Printed for J. Tonson, 1726
Library Company of Philadelphia

In order to polish his own writing style, Franklin studied, copied, and attempted to “improve”
articles he read in The Spectator. He was soon composing short poems and essays—and even
selling them for profit, door to door.

[BOWERS & FORD—2 volumes will travel to ALL VENUES]
 [N032B]
Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele
The Spectator, vol. 4
London: Printed for J. Tonson, 1726
Library Company of Philadelphia

In order to polish his own writing style, Franklin studied, copied, and attempted to “improve”
articles he read in The Spectator. He was soon composing short poems and essays—and even
selling them for profit, door to door.

Section 1-E-05
Media: Literary Ben animation

Silence Dogood

At 16, Franklin was an ambitious and accomplished writer. He guessed his brother would not
knowingly print his work, so he used the pen name “Silence Dogood” to write a series of letters
to the editor of The New-England Courant. His disguise was that of a prim, middle-aged widow
from a rural area––a remarkable contrast to the cheeky, unmarried teenager who had never
been out of Boston! The letters poke fun at the pretensions of the elite and the follies of
everyday life, but also reveal Franklin’s emerging opinions on education, women, and religion.

Throughout his life Franklin used different pseudonyms, sometimes humorous, to make
different points. Among them were:

    Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 9 of 90
Abigail Twitterfield

Alice Addertongue

Americanus

Anthony Afterwit

Betty Diligent

Busy Body

Dr. Fatsides

Censorious

Fart-Hing

Friend to the Poor

A Good Conscience

Great Person

Historicus

Homespun

Hugo Grim

Margaret Aftercast

Obadiah Plainman

Polly Baker

Rusticus

Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim



[TEXT OF AUDIO]

I intend once a Fortnight to present [your Readers], by the Help of this Paper, with a short
Epistle, which I presume will add somewhat to their Entertainment.

I have now remained in a State of Widowhood for several Years, but it is a State that I never
much admir’d, and I am apt to fancy that I could be easily perswaded to marry again, provided I

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 10 of 90
was sure of a good-humour’d, sober, agreeable Companion: But one, even with these few good
Qualities, being hard to find, I have lately relinquish’d all Thoughts of that Nature.

Men are commonly complaining how hard they are forc’d to labour, only to maintain their
Wives in Pomp and Idleness, yet if you go among the Women, you will learn, that they have
always more Work upon their Hands than they are able to do, and that a Woman’s Work is
never done, &c. . . .

Suppose we should grant for once, that we are generally more idle than the Men . . . I desire to
know whose Fault it is? Are not the Men to blame for their Folly in maintaining us in Idleness? .
. . One would wonder indeed how it should happen that Women are conversible at all . . . Their
Youth is spent to teach them to stitch and sow, or make Baubles: They are taught to read
indeed, and perhaps to write their Names, or so; and that is the Heigth of a Woman’s Education
. . . I conclude, that it will be impossible to lash any Vice, of which the Men are not equally guilty
with the Woman, and consequently deserve an equal (if not a greater) Share in the Censure.

Your Friend, and Humble Servant, SILENCE DOGOOD.

––The New-England Courant, April 2, 16, and May 28, 1722

[Franklin Writings 5, 8, 15-16]

[GRAPHICS]

Front page of The New-England Courant, No. 43, May 21–28, 1722

Courtesy of New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections, Albany

Franklin at Twenty, portrait by H.B. Hall, 1864

Library Company of Philadelphia


Section 1-E-06
Media fin

Seeking Opportunity

In Franklin’s time, apprenticeships were the common method by which a young man learned a
trade. Fathers most often paid to have their sons apprenticed, and the more lucrative the trade,
the higher the fee. Upon completion of this apprenticeship—which could take many years—a
worker was free to move to wherever there was business. Given the colonies’ small population,
markets for skilled labor were limited, and movement between cities was common.

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society    Page 11 of 90
Section 1-E-06
Wall graphic

Franklin’s Trip from Boston to Philadelphia

Wednesday, September 25, 1723
Franklin sails secretly from Boston to New York, spending three days at sea with “fair Wind.”

Saturday, September 28
He arrives in New York, 300 miles from Boston, but fails to find work.

Tuesday, October 1
While sailing from New York for Perth Amboy, New Jersey, his ship encounters a squall that
tears the sail and drives the boat upon Long Island. Anchored offshore, Franklin spends the
night on the water, the storm spray drenching him.

Wednesday, October 2
The weather clears early, and the ship proceeds to Perth Amboy after 30 hours on the water.
Franklin runs a fever and sweats the night away at an inn.

Thursday, October 3
Franklin crosses the Raritan River by ferry and begins walking towards Burlington. Trudging
through rain, he becomes fatigued, and stays overnight at an inn.

Friday, October 4
Franklin continues walking, and stays the night eight to ten miles out from Burlington at Dr.
Brown’s inn.

Saturday, October 5
Having walked to Burlington, Franklin discovers that there will be no boats for four days, and
prepares to wait it out. Walking along the river that night, he encounters a boat going to
Philadelphia and boards, but there being no wind, all the passengers have to row. Disoriented,
they spend the night camping onshore.

Sunday, October 6
Once oriented they set off for Philadelphia, arriving at the Market Street Wharf around 8 a.m.
Franklin enters Philadelphia, 400 miles from Boston, with only a Dutch dollar and a few copper
pence in his pocket.

Section 1-E-06
F 1-01 (framed artifact on wall)

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[ALL]
[A569]
Herman Moll
New England, New York, New Jersey and Pensilvania, London, 1729 or later
Engraving
Private collection

This early depiction of the present-day northeastern United States features “An Account of ye
Post of ye Continent” in the lower right corner of the map that describes the colonial postal
routes, time of dispatch, and location of post offices.


Section 1-E-07
Wall graphic

[G131]
Peter Cooper
The South East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia
ca. 1718
Library Company of Philadelphia
Facsimile for exhibit

This is the oldest surviving painting of a North American urban center. While it distorts a few of
the buildings, the scene represents what Franklin may have seen when he first arrived in
Philadelphia.




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“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World”
Exhibition Text
Section II

Section 2-E-01
A Panel

B. Franklin, Printer

1723–1748

Arriving in Philadelphia in 1723, Franklin worked to establish himself as a printer. Over the next
25 years, he expanded his network of personal friends and business connections both in the
colonies and in England. In printing, Franklin found a way "do well by doing good." Not only did
he accumulate enough wealth to retire from active business at the age of 42, he was also able
to use his publications to communicate his ideas.

Although Franklin spent the second half of his life as a gentleman of leisure, he remained proud
of his roots as a tradesman. Of course, for Franklin, “leisure” meant the freedom to pursue his
many other interests, a freedom bought by years of devotion to the craft of printing. Perhaps
this is why, of all his many accomplishments, he most wished to be remembered as “B. Franklin,
Printer.”

He that hath a Trade, hath an Estate.

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1742

Section 2-E-01
C 2-01

[MHS, FORD, NARA]
[A656A]
Benjamin Franklin
Poor Richard, 1739
Philadelphia: Printed and sold by B. Franklin, [1738]
Library Company of Philadelphia

When Poor Richard’s Almanack was first published in 1733, it was an instant bestseller.
Franklin, writing as the humble and henpecked Poor Richard, skillfully combined useful
information—astronomical and meteorological predictions—with entertainment, in the form of
proverbs, humor, and poetry.

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[BOWERS & HEINZ]
[A656B]
Benjamin Franklin
Poor Richard, 1746
Philadelphia: Printed and sold by B. Franklin, [1745]
Library Company of Philadelphia

When Poor Richard’s Almanack was first published in 1733, it was an instant bestseller.
Franklin, writing as the humble and henpecked Poor Richard, skillfully combined useful
information—astronomical and meteorological predictions—with entertainment, in the form of
proverbs, humor, and poetry.

Section 2-E-02
B Panel

The Way to Wealth

Within just a few years of arriving in Philadelphia, Franklin established his own shop, printing
jobs for many customers and publishing his newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, and his Poor
Richard’s Almanack. In addition, Franklin and his wife, Deborah, sold stationery and dry goods
from a store in front of the printing office. Franklin was honest and hard-working, and his
growing reputation soon attracted customers away from rival printers.

To expand, Franklin set up several of his former apprentices with printing equipment and
capital, enabling them to start their own businesses elsewhere in the colonies. He also
maintained close ties with bookbinders, who helped to distribute his publications. Franklin even
invested in several paper mills and extended his reach into the German-speaking backcountry
of Pennsylvania by financing a German-language printing office.

When Franklin became deputy postmaster, he improved his distribution system by arranging
for several of his friends and family to be named local postmasters. Franklin was soon at the
center of a dynamic and sophisticated intercolonial communications network.

In order to secure my Credit and Character as a Tradesmen, I took care not only to be in Reality
Industrious & frugal, but to avoid all Appearances of the Contrary.

—Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

Section 2-E-02
F 2-01 (framed artifact on panel)

[ALL]
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[A232]
Benjamin Franklin
The Way to Wealth
Philadelphia: Daniel Humphreys, ca. 1785
Broadside
Collection of Michael Zinman

Consisting of proverbs culled from 25 years of Poor Richard’s Almanack, The Way to Wealth is
the most frequently reprinted of Franklin’s works. This copy is the first American broadside
printing. Franklin’s philosophy was simple: “The Way to Wealth, if you desire it, is as plain as
the Way to Market. It depends chiefly on two Words, INDUSTRY and FRUGALITY; i.e. Waste
neither Time nor Money, but make the best Use of both.”

Section 2-E-03
Platform

[G247]
BACKDROP
Printing establishment with two presses
Denis Diderot et al., Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers,
plate 377
1761–1789
Library Company of Philadelphia

Section 2-E-03
RR 2-01

The Printing Trade

The craft of printing demanded the mental dexterity and coordination to compose type,
combined with hard physical labor. Printers would work up a sweat pulling the press, ink
beating, or carrying heavy cases of lead type. Added to that were the distinctive smells of wet
paper, printer’s ink, and urine, which was used to soften the ink balls.

Despite the physical labor involved, printing was a time-honored craft that often attracted
literate, ambitious young men. Most received their training as apprentices, working for master
printers from about age 12 until they turned 21. As journeymen, they were then free to work
for wages or establish their own printing offices, if they had financial backing.

[G031]
The composing room of a print shop
Denis Diderot et al., Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers,
plate 374
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 16 of 90
1761–1789
Library Company of Philadelphia

Section 2-E-03
RR 2-02

The Public Sphere

For Franklin, the printing trade provided more than just an income. He used his press to
disseminate his views on almost every topic, from the need for paper money, to witty
observations in every Poor Richard’s Almanack, to promoting colonial unity. Franklin’s humble
beginnings and minimal formal education left him uncomfortable as a public speaker, but his
trade enabled him to express himself in the most public of ways: through the printed word.
Printing was, for Franklin, a way to wealth and a way into the public eye.

Loving the Business [of printing], I have brought up my Grandson Benjamin to it, and have built
and furnish’d a Printing-house for him, which he now manages under my Eye.

—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Catharine Ray Greene, 1789

Section 2-E-03
C 2-02

[ALL]
[A096]
Ink balls
(American), ca. 1740
Wood, wool, and sheepskin
Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended in the Bache family

Using the ink balls, pieces of solid ink were mixed with a small amount of water on the surface
of the ink stone, until the ink was of a uniform consistency. Then, with an ink ball in each hand,
the pressman picked up the ink and applied it to the metal type with a dabbing, rolling, and
beating motion before each pull of the press.

[PROPS]
Tables, type cases, and ink stone
Facsimiles for exhibit


Section II
E3: Rail 1b
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[ALL]
[N003]
Ramage Hand-lever Printing Press
ca. 1809
Wood and metal
From the Collections of The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan

During his time in London as a young man (1725–1726), Franklin worked at a press similar to
this in the shop of John Watts.


Section 2-E-03
C 2-03

[ALL]
[A049]
Composing stick
(American), 1740–1760
Wood and metal
Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection
Owned by Benjamin Franklin

The composing stick is an essential tool for setting type by hand. The printer adjusts the stick to
the width of the lines of type to be set, and then puts the metal type in upside down, letter-by-
letter and line-by-line. As several lines of type are completed, they are transferred onto a galley
and held until the page of type is complete.

Section 2-E-03
C 2-04

[ALL]
[N044]
The Pennsylvania Gazette, no. 935, November 13, 1746
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1746
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

Owned, edited, and printed by Franklin from 1729 to 1748, the Gazette was known for its
humor, originality, and strong influence on public opinion.

Section 2-E-04
Media fin

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Printer’s Apprentice

Apprentices in the printing trade needed to be hardworking, dexterous, and dedicated in order
to complete their years of apprenticeship with the skills necessary to begin their own careers.
Setting type accurately and elegantly was the most complex part of their training.

This activity and others can be found at www.benfranklinexhibit.org. Try practicing this
typesetting exercise at home and print a copy to keep.

[Graphic]
Onscreen image is adapted from George Whitefield’s A Journal of a Voyage from Gibraltar to
Georgia (Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1739).

Section 2-E-05
Media side fin

Poor Richard Says

According to Benjamin Franklin, many of the proverbs and aphorisms found in Poor Richard's
Almanack were gleaned from the "wisdom of the ages and nations." He borrowed from the
Bible, classical authors, and collections of proverbs readily available in his own time. Yet, in
recrafting many older sayings, Franklin brought new life to timeworn truisms.

Did Franklin himself listen to Poor Richard's advice? Sometimes. Sometimes not.

Franklin published these sayings. Can you complete them?

Men & Melons
are hard to know.

He that sows thorns,
should not go barefoot.

Fish & Visitors
stink in 3 days.

Genius without Education
is like Silver in the Mine.

Nothing but Money
is sweeter than Honey.

One To-day
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 19 of 90
is worth two To-morrows.

Early to bed and early to rise,
makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.

A light purse
is a heavy Curse.

Great-Alms-giving
lessens no Man's Living.

Three may keep a Secret,
if two of them are dead.

Don't throw stones at your neighbours
if your own windows are glass.

You may be more happy than Princes
if you will be more virtuous.

Section 2-E-06
Media fin

Franklin’s Printing and Postal Network

In 1730 Franklin supplied Thomas Whitemarsh with equipment for a printing shop in
Charleston, in exchange for a share of that shop’s profits. With this innovative, often repeated
partnership model, Franklin was again “doing well by doing good”—he enabled a former
apprentice to set up in business for himself, removed a potential rival from the Philadelphia
market, and expanded his own market penetration. In addition to financing printing shops from
New England to the Caribbean, Franklin guaranteed supply and quality by working closely with
papermakers, bookbinders, and type founders.

When Franklin became deputy postmaster for the colonies in 1753, he increased the range and
efficiency of the postal system. At the same time, his newspaper benefited from free
distribution, which lowered its cost to the consumer. With the expansion of his printing and
postal network, Franklin increased both his business and his influence.

       Franklin’s Printing Network
       Franklin’s Postal Network
       Postal Roads

Post Offices with Postmasters, 1753–1776
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 20 of 90
CONNECTICUT
Hartford
New Haven
New London
Stamford

DELAWARE
Wilmington

MARYLAND
Annapolis
Baltimore
Charleston

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston
Ipswich
Marblehead
Newbury
Salem

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Portsmouth

NEW JERSEY
Trenton

NEW YORK
Albany
New York
Whitehall

NORTH CAROLINA
New Bern
Wilmington

PENNSYLVANIA
Bristol
Lancaster
Philadelphia

RHODE ISLAND
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World   Minnesota Historical Society   Page 21 of 90
Bristol
Newport
Providence
Warren
Westerly

SOUTH CAROLINA
Charles Town
Georgetown

VIRGINIA
Alexandria
Dumfries
Fredricksburg
Norfolk
Williamsburg
Yorktown

Section 2-E-07a
C 2-05

[Fin text]
Publishing

Franklin was financially successful as a publisher, and it was through his publishing activities
that he gained early fame. He stole customers away from his rivals by spicing up the content of
his newspapers and almanacs. He used his press to initiate debates that kept customers
returning for more. But Franklin allowed no space for libel or personal abuse in his newspapers,
avowing “that having contracted with my Subscribers to furnish them with what might be
either useful or entertaining, I could not fill their Papers with private Altercation . . . without
doing them manifest Injustice.”

Printers are educated in the Belief, that when Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to
have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play,
the former is always an overmatch for the latter.

—Benjamin Franklin, “Apology for Printers,” The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1731

[MHS ONLY]
[N013A]
Cicero, translated by James Logan
M.T. Cicero's Cato Major
Philadelphia: Printed and sold by B. Franklin, 1744
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 22 of 90
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

Franklin printed this book at his own expense to flatter James Logan, William Penn’s secretary
and one of Pennsylvania’s most powerful and learned men. Cato Major is considered to be the
finest example of Franklin’s printing.

[BOWERS & HEINZ]
[N013B]
Cicero, translated by James Logan
M.T. Cicero's Cato Major
Philadelphia: Printed and sold by B. Franklin, 1744
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin printed this book at his own expense to flatter James Logan, William Penn’s secretary
and one of Pennsylvania’s most powerful and learned men. Cato Major is considered to be the
finest example of Franklin’s printing.

[FORD & NARA]
[N013C]
Cicero, translated by James Logan
M.T. Cicero's Cato Major
Philadelphia: Printed and sold by B. Franklin, 1744
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin printed this book at his own expense to flatter James Logan, William Penn’s secretary
and one of Pennsylvania’s most powerful and learned men. Cato Major is considered to be the
finest example of Franklin’s printing.

[ALL - rotate page openings; open & closed]
[N023A]
A pocket almanack for the year 1759
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, [1758]
Library Company of Philadelphia

[ALL - rotate page openings; open & closed]
[N023B]
A pocket almanack for the year 1757
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, [1756]
Library Company of Philadelphia

[ALL]
[N034]
Benjamin Franklin
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World      Minnesota Historical Society   Page 23 of 90
The General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, For all the British Plantations in America
Philadelphia: Printed and sold by B. Franklin, 1741
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin’s The General Magazine was the second magazine published in the colonies, preceded
by his rival Andrew Bradford’s The American Magazine.

Section 2-E-07b
C 2-06

[Fin text]
Job Printing

In 1730 Franklin opened a printing shop where he printed “jobs”––books and pamphlets
published at the request and expense of others, usually organizations and individual authors. By
1748, when Franklin retired from business, he had printed numerous pamphlets and
broadsides, and 432 books of which 241 were financed by others.

If all Printers were determin’d not to print any thing till they were sure it would offend no body,
there would be very little printed.

—Benjamin Franklin, “Apology for Printers,” The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1731

[ALL]
[N036]
Bill of lading, "Shipped in good Order. . . ."
Philadelphia: Franklin and Hall, 1747–1753
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

Blank forms, like this bill of lading (a receipt given for cargo shipped), were a specialty of
Franklin's printing office and a steady source of income. He used the same text and sometimes
even the same type for decades. It was Joseph Breintnall––the same friend who made the
nature prints––a law clerk by trade, who taught Franklin about correct legal forms soon after he
opened his printing office.

[ALL]
[N001A-D]
Paper currency for Pennsylvania and Delaware
Philadelphia: Franklin and Hall, 1759–1764
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

Section 2-E-08
B Panel
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 24 of 90
At Home in Philadelphia

Franklin and his common-law wife, Deborah, lived simply and frugally. Only after Franklin had
established himself with a dependable income did they buy more extravagant possessions,
often from Europe. Many of these objects are still owned by Franklin’s descendants.

Franklin and Deborah’s relationship was affectionate and loyal, if not particularly romantic.
Deborah was involved in all aspects of the daily business, keeping the shop and its accounts.
She raised William, Francis, and Sally in a crowded home typical of 18th-century artisans,
sharing their space with Deborah’s mother and the family servants and slaves.

Though William was Franklin’s illegitimate son, Deborah brought him up as part of the family.
Francis, their first child together, contracted smallpox as a toddler and died, which caused his
parents deep and lasting grief. Their youngest child, Sally, was only 14 when Franklin was
dispatched to London by the Pennsylvania Assembly, but she adored him and looked after him
when he returned to Philadelphia as an old man. She would ultimately bear all but one of the
Franklins’ eight grandchildren.

A house without woman & Fire-light, is like a body without soul or sprite.

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1733

Section 2-E-08
C 2-07

[ALL]
[N002]
“Franklin-type” split bifocal spectacles
(probably English), ca. 1790
Glass and iron
Of the type worn by Benjamin Franklin
David A. Fleishman, M.D., Collection

Ingenious Dr. Franklin
When Franklin saw an unmet need, he often created or adapted a device to satisfy it. Visitors to
Franklin’s house recorded the useful “curiosities” they saw there, such as the chair/stepstool,
table/firescreen, “long arm” pole (to reach books), and, as Franklin’s friend Manassah Cutler
observed, “his great armed chair, with rocker and a large fan placed over it, with which he fans
himself . . . with only a small motion of his foot.” Franklin is credited with inventing bifocals, or
“double spectacles,” as he called them.



   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 25 of 90
I therefore had formerly two Pair of Spectacles, which I shifted occasionally . . . I had the Glasses
cut, and half of each kind associated in the same Circle . . . I have only to move my Eyes up or
down, as I want to see distinctly far or near.
—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to George Whatley, 1785

Section 2-E-09
Platform

[ALL]
[A658]
Commode armchair
1755-1765
Walnut
Collection of Christopher J. Salmon and Julie K. Salmon
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended in the family of Sarah Bache Sergeant

Section 2-E-09
RR 2-04

[G200]
Mather Brown
Portrait of William Franklin
ca. 1790
Private Collection
Descended in the family of Benjamin Franklin Bache
Facsimile for exhibit

William Franklin (1728?–1813)
Franklin’s first son, William (whose birth mother was never identified), accompanied his father
to England in 1757, where he studied law. William became royal governor of New Jersey in
1763, and during the Revolutionary War he maintained his allegiance to the British crown,
resulting in his arrest and imprisonment. These sympathies also cost him his relationships with
his father and his own son William Temple Franklin, who later became Benjamin Franklin’s
secretary in France.

Dear and Honored Father, Ever since the Termination of the unhappy Contest between Great
Britain and America, I have been anxious to write to you, and to endeavour to revive that
affectionate Intercourse and Connexion which till the Commencement of the late Troubles had
been the Pride and Happiness of my Life.

—Unanswered letter from William Franklin to Benjamin Franklin, 1784

[G036]
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 26 of 90
Attributed to Samuel Johnson
Portrait of Francis Folger Franklin
ca. 1736
Private Collection
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended first in the family of Deborah Bache Duane, then in the
family of Benjamin Franklin Bache
Facsimile for exhibit

Francis “Franky” Folger Franklin (1732–1736)
Franklin’s first child with Deborah, Francis Folger Franklin—or “Franky”—died of smallpox at
age four. Years later, Franklin reminisced about Franky, “whom to this Day I cannot think of
without a Sigh.” Franklin had delayed immunizing his sickly son against the disease, and his
subsequent regret led him to publicly advocate inoculation, a method which was still widely
distrusted.

The DELIGHT of all who knew him.
—Epitaph of Francis Folger Franklin, 1736

As Franky’s portrait was painted after his death, the artist may have referred to Franklin’s
likeness in rendering his son.

[G238]
Benjamin Wilson
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
ca. 1760
Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Facsimile for exhibit

This painting, a copy by Benjamin Wilson of his portrait of Franklin that was stolen from the
Franklins’ Philadelphia dining room during the Revolutionary War, was owned by the earls of
Albemarle, Quidenham Hall, Norfolk, from ca. 1760 until 1946.

[G012]
Benjamin Wilson after an unknown American artist
Portrait of Deborah Franklin
1758–1759
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended in the family of William Bache
Facsimile for exhibit

My “Afeckshonet” Wife
Deborah Read Franklin (1708–1774)

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 27 of 90
Deborah Read met Franklin in 1723 when he first strolled down Market Street, fresh off the
boat from Boston. They did not live as husband and wife until seven years later, after he had
traveled to and from England. His periodic absences marked their whole relationship. Through
their practical yet “afeckshonet” (as she wrote) correspondence, she served devotedly as his
link to the household, until her death in 1774. To remind him of Deborah, Franklin
commissioned her portrait to hang in his apartment in London, and had one of himself by the
same artist sent back to her at home in Philadelphia.
Frugality is an enriching Virtue, a Virtue I could never acquire in my self, but I was lucky enough
to find it in a Wife, who thereby became a Fortune to me.
—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Bethia Alexander, 1782

[G331]
John Hoppner
Portrait of Sarah “Sally” Franklin Bache, 1793
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1901.
(01.20)
Facsimile for exhibit

A Very Good Girl
Sarah “Sally” Franklin Bache (1743–1808)
Sarah “Sally” Franklin was Franklin’s only daughter. She lived with her mother, Deborah, while
her father was away. Despite his preoccupation with work and politics, Franklin expressed his
paternal love and concern for Sally in frequent letters, and sent her thoughtfully chosen
personal gifts. Loyally, when her mother died, she took over as housekeeper in Philadelphia and
cared for her father when he returned home as an old man.
Franklin initially questioned Richard Bache’s capacity to provide for Sally because he lacked a
“trade,” but Richard and Sally married in 1767 in spite of Franklin’s disapproval. Eventually
Richard was accepted into the family, and lived in the Market Street house, where he and Sally
raised their seven surviving children—through whom most Franklin descendants today trace
their origins. He also helped handle Franklin’s accounts in Philadelphia, and served as U.S.
Postmaster General from 1776–1782.
Our Daughter Sally is indeed a very good Girl, affectionate, dutiful, and industrious, has one of
the best Hearts.
—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan, 1757

[G651]
John Hoppner
Portrait of Richard Bache
1792
Private Collection, on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Facsimile for exhibit

Descended in the family of Richard Bache
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 28 of 90
Section 2-E-09
RR 2-03

A China Bowl with a Spoon of Silver
Early in their married life, the Franklins lived frugally, but gradually they acquired fine
furnishings and clothing. In his Autobiography, Franklin described one of the first of his
fashionable household acquisitions––a china bowl and a spoon of silver. They are reunited in
this exhibition for the first time in more than 100 years.

Section 2-E-09
C 2-08

[ALL]
[A082]
Famille Rose bowl
(Chinese), 1760–1770
Hard-paste porcelain
Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Descended in the family of William Bache until the early 19th century.

[ALL]
[A213]
Ebenezer Coker or Elias Cachart
Spoon (London), 1771–1772
Silver
Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended in the family of Deborah Bache Duane. Purchased by
Col. William Hoopes at the sale of the effects of Mrs. Elizabeth Duane Davis, June 6, 1924.

On the tip of the handle is engraved the crest—a pike’s (fish) head between two olive
branches—from Franklin’s adopted coat of arms.

Section 2-E-11
Platform

[ALL]
[A107]
Armchair
(English), ca. 1765
Mahogany, beech, and modern wool damask
Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended in the family of Polly Stevenson Hewson
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 29 of 90
This French-style chair is from a set Franklin owned, which may have been used in Paris as well
as in London. A watercolor by Louis Carrogis de Carmontelle (later engraved by François Denis
Née) depicts Franklin seated in this type of chair.

Section 2-E-11
C 2-10

[ALL]
[A032]
Chess set
(French), 1750–1780
Pearwood
American Philosophical Society Museum, Philadelphia
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended in the family of Deborah Bache Duane

Section 2-E-11
RR 2-05

[ALL]
[N029]
Glass armonica, 1760–1780
Wood, glass, tinned basin, and cloth
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum
According to family tradition, this armonica was owned by Mme Brillon de Jouy, a friend and
neighbor of Benjamin Franklin in Passy, France.

Section 2-E-11
RR 2-06

[ALL]
[N033]
Possibly designed by Benjamin Franklin
Library chair with folding steps
1975 reproduction of ca. 1760-1780 chair
Walnut, leather, and brass
Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Section 2-E-12
Media side fin

The Gout and Mr. Franklin
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 30 of 90
Franklin suffered from a debilitating arthritic condition called gout, a malady linked to excessive
consumption of beer and red meat. To mock his own failure to acquire the virtue of
temperance—“Eat not to Dulness. Drink not to Elevation.”—he wrote a charming bagatelle and
printed it as a keepsake for friends. In the story, his conscience––in the guise of Mme Gout––
chastises him for his sedentary lifestyle, his fondness for chess, and his overeating and drinking.
Alexander Hamilton, Henry VIII, and Alexander the Great were all also plagued by gout.




   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 31 of 90
“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World”
Exhibition Text”
Section III

Section 3-E-01
A Panel

Civic Visions

1731–1751

Even as a young tradesman, Franklin sought to better himself and his community. He organized
the Junto––a small group of fellow tradesmen and artisans committed to mutual improvement.
At their weekly meetings they asked how they “may be serviceable to mankind? to their
country, to their friends, or to themselves?” The Junto’s actions formed their answer. Franklin
and his colleagues helped establish a lending library, firefighting brigade, university, learned
society, militia, hospital, and insurance company.

Franklin’s lifelong efforts to improve himself and the world around him stemmed from the
same ambition and intellectual energy he demonstrated as a printer and young boy. His
commitment to public service also built on his sociable nature: Franklin was a true
philanthropist. He believed that society’s many challenges required mutual action,
collaboration, and generosity. This, for Franklin, defined citizenship, in the colonies and in the
young republic.

The Good particular Men may do separately . . . is small, compared with what they may do
collectively.

—Benjamin Franklin, “Appeal for the Hospital,” 1751

Section 3-E-01
C 3-01

[ALL]
[N030]
Attributed to Richard or Samuel Parker (hands) and Joseph Rakestraw (shield)
Philadelphia Contributionship insurance fire mark
ca. 1770
Wood and lead
The Philadelphia Contributionship


   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society    Page 32 of 90
At the first meeting of the Contributionship’s Board of Directors in 1752, the silversmith Philip
Syng, Jr., was asked to devise a seal for the company, “being four Hands united.” This is the
earliest issued fire mark to be affixed to houses to show that they were insured.

Section 3-E-02
B Panel

Improving the Self

Franklin placed great value on self-improvement. He believed that integrity and moral
responsibility were the backbone of a successful life and a strong community. He examined his
own behavior frequently and, at one point, outlined 12 virtues that needed his attention:
temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation,
cleanliness, tranquility, and chastity. A Quaker friend suggested a 13th—humility—but Franklin
admitted: “I cannot boast of much Success in acquiring the Reality of this Virtue; but I had a
good deal with regard to the Appearance of it.” Franklin struggled throughout his life to live up
to these ideals.

As a lifelong learner, Franklin taught himself to read French, German, Italian, and Spanish, on
top of the Latin he learned as a child. To help others educate themselves, he and his fellow
Junto members founded the Library Company of Philadelphia, America’s first subscription
library, and the University of Pennsylvania, America’s first nonsectarian college. Franklin
believed that, above all, education should be useful, with an emphasis on character, hard work,
and bodily and spiritual health.

The noblest question in the world is What Good may I do in it?

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1737

Section 3-E-02a
C Panel

The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1731

Junto members read to educate themselves. Most books available in the colonies were
imported and expensive, so the group pooled their resources to form the Library Company of
Philadelphia. Members’ subscription fees paid for new acquisitions. For a cash deposit, non-
members could also use the library and check out books. The Library Company, the oldest
public library in America, now thrives as a research library specializing in early American history
and culture.




   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 33 of 90
By thus clubbing our Books to a common Library, we should . . . have each of us the Advantage
of using the Books of all the other Members, which would be nearly as beneficial as if each
owned the whole.

—Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

[G129]
Philip Syng, Jr.
Seal of the Library Company
Brass
Library Company of Philadelphia

Philip Syng, a silversmith and member of the Junto, engraved the seal of the Library Company.
The motto, composed by Franklin, reads, “Communiter Bona profundere Dêum est,” which
translates freely as “To pour forth benefits for the common good is divine.”

[G638]
Bookplate of the Library Company
Philadelphia: William Goddard, 1769
Library Company of Philadelphia

Section 3-E-02a
C 3-02

[A128]
“Lion's Mouth” box (American), ca. 1750
Painted tin
Library Company of Philadelphia

The breadth of the collection of books at the Library Company was unique compared to the
existing college libraries, which focused on theology. Books were selected by the readers
themselves, reflecting their own interests and aspirations. The “Lion’s Mouth” was their
suggestion box.

Section 3-E-02b
C Panel

Union Fire Company, 1736, and Contributionship (Insurance Company), 1751

Franklin used his newspaper to argue that Philadelphia should organize and train teams of
firemen. In 1736, Franklin and 19 of his neighbors founded the Union Fire Company. Collectively
they purchased and maintained an engine and hooks and ladders; individually they supplied
leather buckets for conveying water to the fire and bags to carry household goods to safety.
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World      Minnesota Historical Society   Page 34 of 90
They expanded this idea of mutual aid in 1751 into the Philadelphia Contributionship, America’s
first property insurance company. The Contributionship pushed for safer building standards,
insured member households from fire, and even underwrote mortgages.

A Club or Society of active Men belonging to each Fire Engine . . . Some of these are to handle
the Firehooks, and others the Axes . . . In Time of Fire, they are commanded by Officers
appointed by Law, called Firewards, who are distinguish’d by a Red Staff of five Feet long,
headed with a Brass Flame of 6 Inches . . . They direct the opening and stripping of Roofs by the
Ax-Men, the pulling down burning Timbers by the Hook-men.

—Benjamin Franklin, “On Protection of Towns from Fire” in The Pennsylvania Gazette, February
4, 1734/5

Whenever a FIRE breaks out in any Part of the City, though none of our Houses, Goods, or
Effects may be in apparent Danger, we will nevertheless, repair thither with our Buckets and
Bags . . . and give our utmost Assistance to such of our Fellow-Citizens as may stand in Need of
it, in the same Manner as if they belonged to this Company.

—“Articles of the Union Fire-Company, of Philadelphia,” 1794

[G036]
Possibly by Henry Dawkins
Certificate of the Hand-in-Hand Fire Company, New York
ca. 1753
Engraving
I. N. Phelps Stokes Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs,
The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

[GRAPHIC--NO NUMBER]
Philadelphia Contributionship office sign
19th century
Tin
The Philadelphia Contributionship

Section 3-E-02c
C Panel

The Philadelphia Academy, 1740

Franklin’s self-education and religious tolerance made him challenge the dominant classical and
theological approach to learning. Soon after his retirement, he helped found the Philadelphia
Academy, which later became the University of Pennsylvania, America’s first university and its
oldest nonsectarian college. Unlike Harvard and Yale, the school was not created to train new
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 35 of 90
ministers. Rather, with a progressive curriculum based in the liberal arts, the University of
Pennsylvania sought to develop a vigorous, public-spirited curiosity in each of its students.

The good Education of Youth has been esteemed by wise Men in all Ages, as the surest
Foundation of the Happiness both of private Families and of Common-wealths.

—Benjamin Franklin, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, 1749

[G261]
Benjamin Franklin
Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1749
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin wrote this pamphlet in support of establishing Philadelphia’s first institution of higher
learning, wherein he declared that “the great Aim and End of all learning” is “to serve Mankind,
one’s Country, Friends and Family.” He specified who should attend and what should be taught,
supported with lengthy quotations from Locke, Milton and other philosophers. Additionally,
Franklin set forth his recommendations on diet, exercise, and the benefits of swimming.

[G204]
“Constitutions of the Publick Academy, in the City of Philadelphia”
1749
 Bound manuscript
Collections of the University of Pennsylvania Archives, Philadelphia

[G590]
“Ticket of Admittance to a Course of Lectures, in the College of Philadelphia; Commencing
March 4th 1771. For Mr. Elisha Hall”
Signed by William Smith
Collections of the University of Pennsylvania Archives, Philadelphia

Such tickets provided proof of tuition payment and course enrollment for students at the
College of Philadelphia. Smith taught logic, rhetoric, and moral philosophy from 1754 until
1779. Students also recycled their tickets as playing cards by printing the suits on the unused
side—this ticket became a 9 of spades.

Section 3-E-02d
C Panel

American Philosophical Society: A Society of “Ingenious Men,” 1743
Franklin’s Junto had already demonstrated how much friends committed to one another’s
mutual improvement could accomplish. In 1743 Franklin drew up a proposal to create an
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 36 of 90
intercolonial Junto: a network of scientists and philosophers who would share news of their
discoveries by post.

The American Philosophical Society was modeled after London’s Royal Society and Dublin’s
Philosophical Society, and its six founding members included botanist John Bartram and lawyer-
scientist Thomas Hopkinson. The Society provided a forum for exchanging ideas and pooling
skills and knowledge, and its members particularly strove to promote American science and
invention.

That One Sociy be formed of Virtuosi or ingenious Men residing in the several Colonies, to be
called The American Philosophical Society; who are to maintain a constant Correspondence.

—Benjamin Franklin, A Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge, 1743


[G016]
Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 1 (1769–1771)
Philadelphia: Printed by William and Thomas Bradford, 1771
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia

Section 3-E-02d
F 3-01 (framed artifact on panel)

[ALL]
[N038]
Membership certificate for David Rittenhouse, from the American Philosophical Society
Signed by Benjamin Franklin, 1786
Printed document
Collection of Christopher J. Salmon and Julie K. Salmon

Section 3-E-02d
C 3-03

[ALL]
[A122]
Mastodon tooth fossil
Fossilized bone or ivory
Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Found near the underground ruins of Franklin’s home on Market Street, this tooth matches the
description of a “large pronged” tooth sent to Franklin in London in 1767 by Indian agent and
land speculator George Croghan. Thought to derive from ancient elephant-like creatures, the

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 37 of 90
fossils were discovered near the Ohio River at a place called “The Great Licking Place,” now
known as Big Bone Lick, Kentucky.

I should also be glad of the Piece of Elephant’s Tooth. It is old Ivory, perhaps of the Time before
the Flood, & would be a Rarity to some Friends here.

—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Margaret Stevenson, 1779


Section 3-E-02e
C Panel

Association for Defense of Pennsylvania, 1747

In the first half of the 18th century, tensions between settlers and Native Americans were on
the rise, and European powers had territorial ambitions of their own. Realizing that
Pennsylvania’s Quaker-dominated legislature valued peace above self-defense, Franklin used
his press to make a characteristic proposal: that his fellow citizens join together to protect
themselves. In 1747 he co-signed a document that established a voluntary militia to protect
Pennsylvania against the French, the Native Americans, and the Spanish ships then conducting
raids along the Delaware River.

Our militia . . . are sufficient to defend our lands from invasion . . . We, therefore, have not the
occasion you imagine, of fleets or standing armies, but may leave those expensive machines to
be maintained for the pomp of princes, and the wealth of ancient states.

—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Charles de Weissenstein, 1778


[G137 (detail of A066)]
George Heap
The East Prospect of the City of Philadelphia, in the Province of Pennsylvania
1755
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Behring Center, Washington,
D.C.

[G293]
“The Waggoneer and Hercules,” in Plain Truth; or, Serious Considerations On the Present State
of the City of Philadelphia, and Province of Pennsylvania, by Benjamin Franklin
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1747
Library Company of Philadelphia

Section 3-E-02e
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society    Page 38 of 90
C 3-04

[ALL]
[A293]
Benjamin Franklin
Plain Truth; or, Serious Considerations On the Present State of the City of Philadelphia, and
Province of Pennsylvania (with “The Waggoneer and Hercules” cartoon)
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1747
Library Company of Philadelphia

Considered the first American political cartoon, this image representing one of Aesop’s Fables
was used by Franklin to urge western Pennsylvanians to defend themselves against Indian
attacks. He printed 2,000 copies of Plain Truth to publicize his efforts to organize a volunteer
militia in opposition to the Quaker-dominated Assembly.

[MHS, HEINZ, NARA]
[A371A]
A Catalogue of Books Belonging to the Library Company of Philadelphia
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1741
Library Company of Philadelphia

Although broadsheet catalogues of the Library Company’s books may have been issued in 1733
and 1735, no copies survive. This small 56-page octavo is the earliest surviving catalogue of the
library’s holdings. It lists the 375 titles then in the library, ranging from geography to theology,
history, and literature.

[BOWERS & FORD]
[A371B]
A Catalogue of Books Belonging to the Library Company of Philadelphia
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1741
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Although broadsheet catalogues of the Library Company’s books may have been issued in 1733
and 1735, no copies survive. This small 56-page octavo is the earliest surviving catalogue of the
library’s holdings. It lists the 375 titles then in the library, ranging from geography to theology,
history, and literature.

[ALL, with three openings]
[N020]
James Anderson
The Constitutions of the Free-Masons
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1734
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 39 of 90
Section 3-E-02f
C Panel

Pennsylvania Hospital, 1751
In 1751 Franklin’s friend Dr. Thomas Bond tried to raise funds for a public hospital in
Philadelphia. However, wrote Franklin, “the Proposal being a Novelty in America . . . he met
with small Success.” To help, Franklin came up with the idea of a matching grant, persuading
the Pennsylvania legislature to promise £2,000 if the same amount could be raised from private
donors. The prospect of a match proved a powerful incentive to give generously: the
Pennsylvania Hospital, America’s first, still stands today.

A convenient and handsome Building was soon erected, the Institution has by constant
Experience been found useful, and flourishes to this Day.

—Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

[G348]
Benjamin Franklin
Title page, Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital; From its first Rise, to the Beginning of
the Fifth Month, called May, 1754
Philadelphia: B. Franklin and D. Hall, 1754
Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections, Philadelphia

Franklin’s promotional booklet about the new hospital described the establishment of the
institution and served as an early fundraising report, documenting private donations to the
facility. Designed to inspire further support, it even had a contribution form on the last page.

[G172]
Draft of the cornerstone inscription for the Pennsylvania Hospital
Manuscript by Benjamin Franklin, 1755
Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections, Philadelphia

The cornerstone for the Pennsylvania Hospital, designed by Benjamin Franklin, was laid in 1755.
The draft wording is in Franklin’s hand.

Section 3-E-02f
F 3-02 (framed artifact on panel)

[ALL]
[N026]
John Exilious
South East View of the Pennsylvania Hospital
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 40 of 90
1814
Engraving
Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections, Philadelphia

Section 3-E-02f
F 3-03 (framed artifact on panel)

[ALL]
[N037]
Pennsylvania Hospital contributor certificate
[Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin and David Hall, 1776]
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

Section 3-E-03
Media side fin

Personal Virtues

Franklin began to have doubts about Boston’s rigid Puritanism as a teenager, but he recognized
his need for moral guidelines in order to break bad habits and establish good ones. Reading and
reflection led him to formulate his own list of personal virtues, which he then attempted to
master, one by one, noting his progress each day in a chart. Franklin strove to be virtuous
throughout his life—"As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why
I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a Task of
more Difficulty than I had imagined.”

[GRAPHIC XXXX]
“Little book” in which Franklin marked his virtues, from the manuscript of Franklin’s
autobiography
1771-1789
Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Franklin tried to master these virtues. Can you find his definition?


Temperance             Eat not to Dulness. Drink not to Elevation.



                       Let all your Things have their Places.
Order                  Let each part of your Business have its Time.

                       Avoid Extreams. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World            Minnesota Historical Society   Page 41 of 90
Moderation             deserve.


[Roller Set 2]

                       Speak not but what may benefit others or your self.
Silence                Avoid trifling Conversation.


                       Tolerate no Uncleanness
Cleanliness            in Body, Cloaths or Habitation.


                       Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring;
Chastity               Never to Dulness, Weakness, or the Injury of . . . Reputation.




[Roller Set 3]

                       Wrong none, by doing Injuries or
Justice                omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.


                       Resolve to perform what you ought.
Resolution             Perform without fail what you resolve.


                       Lose no Time. Be always employ'd in something
Industry               useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.


[Roller Set 4]

                       Use not hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly;
Sincerity              and, if you speak; speak accordingly.


                       Make no Expence but to do good to others
Frugality              or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.




   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World            Minnesota Historical Society   Page 42 of 90
                       Be not disturbed at Trifles,
Tranquility            or at Accidents common or unavoidable.



                       [Franklin Writings 1384–85]




Section 3-E-06
C 3-05

[ALL]
[A145]
Ralph Sandiford
A Brief Examination of the Practice of the Times . . . .
Philadelphia: Printed for the author [by Franklin and Meredith], 1729
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin was only 23 when he printed Ralph Sandiford’s pamphlet, A Brief Examination of the
Practice of the Times––the first of several anti-slavery tracts produced in Franklin’s shop.

[ALL]
[G040]
Know All Men by these Presents (Bill of Sale); selling Negroe Boy named William about six
years old
[Philadelphia: Printed by Benjamin Franklin, 1745]
Collection of Stuart E. Karu
Facsimile for exhibit

[ALL]
[A113]
“The Constitution and Minutes of the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of
Slavery”
April 13, 1787
Manuscript
Pennsylvania Abolition Society Collection, on deposit at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

As president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, in 1790,
Franklin was the first to petition the U.S. Congress to abolish slavery.


   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 43 of 90
[ALL]
[A351]
An Address To the Public, from the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of
Slavery
Philadelphia: Francis Bailey, 1789
Library Company of Philadelphia

The purpose of this broadside was to raise funds for those “who have been restored to freedom
. . . to instruct, to advise . . . to furnish them with employments . . . to procure their children an
education.”

Section 3-E-06a
C panel

Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature.
—Benjamin Franklin, An Address To the Public from the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the
Abolition of Slavery, 1789

Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and Race

Franklin’s attitudes about slavery and race evolved over the course of his life. The changes in his
thinking can be glimpsed in his family life, his printing career and in his political and civic
activities.

Franklin was a slaveholder for much of his adult life. Until the 1750s, he, like many, assumed
that enslaved Africans were morally and intellectually inferior to whites.

This assumption changed for Franklin when he helped set up schools designed to educate slave
children. Observing one of the classes, Franklin concluded that the capacity for learning and
morality among black children was equal to that of white children. His wife, Deborah was also
supportive of this project and was moved at the progress that the pupils made.

Still, Franklin did not free his slaves. The enslaved Africans who are mentioned in Franklin’s
correspondence over the course of thirty years include Peter, Jemima, King and George. In a
1757 will, he declared “that my Negro Man Peter, and his Wife Jemima, be free after my
Decease,” but Franklin long outlived them. By the time he wrote his final will, Franklin’s
discomfort with slavery had become more pronounced: in that will, Franklin stipulated that his
son-in-law free his slave as a condition of inheritance.
Early in his printing career, Franklin printed several anti-slavery tracts for their Quaker authors,
but conscious of his reputation and the need to build his business he did not affix his name to
these publications.

[GRAPHIC - XXX - NO NUMBER ASSIGNED]
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society    Page 44 of 90
Runaway slave advertisement
In The Pennsylvania Gazette, September 4, 1746
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1746
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin’s newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, regularly ran runaway slave ads and notices
for slave auctions. These classified ads brought in revenue for his growing business.

[G555]
Designed by William Hackwood for the Wedgwood Factory
Am I Not a Man and a Brother?
ca. 1790
Stoneware medallion
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Wedgwood produced these medallions to raise money for the abolitionists’ cause. In 1788, he
sent some to Franklin, who thought that they could be effective in drawing attention to the
issue of slavery. This image became so popular that it was replicated in many formats, including
buttons, sashes, and decorations on cups and pitchers.

It gives me great pleasure to be embarked on this occasion in the same great and good cause
with you, and I ardently hope for the final completion of our wishes.

—Josiah Wedgwood to Benjamin Franklin, 1788

I received the Letter . . . with your valuable Present of Cameo’s, which I am distributing among
my Friends . . . I am persuaded it may have an Effect equal to that of the best written Pamphlet,
in procuring Favour to those oppressed People.

—Benjamin Franklin to Josiah Wedgwood, 1788

Section 3-E-06b
C panel

As Franklin began to circulate on the world stage, first as an agent representing colonies in
England, then as a leader in the American Revolution and finally as a diplomat, he came
increasingly into contact with anti-slavery sentiment and his changing views on slavery
reflected this. Many of the Enlightenment figures with whom he worked and socialized during
his sixteen years in England held anti-slavery views. And when the American colonies declared
that “all men are created equal,” the irony was not lost on Franklin. He came to believe that
slavery was inconsistent with American demands of liberty.



   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 45 of 90
Franklin’s transformation into an anti-slavery advocate culminated in 1787, when he became
the first president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.

Franklin waited until after the U.S. Constitution was ratified before presenting a formal
abolition petition to Congress, but this effort, only weeks before his death in 1790, was roundly
criticized by Southerners in Congress, who fought to have the petition suppressed.

[GRAPHIC--XXXX]
Henry Dawkins, after William Williams
Benjamin Lay
Contemporary lithograph after 1750 portrait
Winterthur Museum

Section 3-E-07
Platform

[MHS only]
[N051]
Merrick & Agnew
Hand-operated pumper
(Philadelphia), 1835
Wood and metal
Minnesota Historical Society

The huge handle on this pumper was pulled manually to increase water pressure when fighting
fires. It was used by the Friendship Fire Company of Danville, Montour County, Pennsylvania.

[BOWERS, HEINZ, FORD, NARA]
[N004]
Richard Mason
Philadelphia-style hand-pumper, full size
(Philadelphia), 1792
Wood and iron
Fireman’s Hall Museum, Philadelphia

[GRAPHIC—need number]
Philadelphia-style pumper in use
Aurora Regional Fire Museum, Aurora, Illinois

[ALL]
[N018]
Ceiling hook
(American), 19th century
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 46 of 90
Wood and iron
Fireman’s Hall Museum, Philadelphia

[ALL]
[N017]
Fire warden's staff
(American), ca. 1800
Wood
Fireman’s Hall Museum, Philadelphia

[ALL]
[N019]
Fire ax with pike
(American), ca. 1860
Steel and wood
Fireman’s Hall Museum, Philadelphia

Section 3-E-07
C 3-08

[ALL]
[N016]
Bed key
(American), 19th century
Iron
Fireman’s Hall Museum, Philadelphia

The bed key is a small wrench used to unfasten the square-headed bolts that held bed frames
together. The bed, once dismantled, was very portable and easily removed in case of fire.

[ALL]
[N027]
Salvage bag
(American), ca. 1830–1860
Canvas
Lancaster County Historical Society

Firefighters in the 18th century not only fought fires but also salvaged the contents of buildings
for their owners. Prior to the 1830s, fires were not fought from inside a building, so the primary
means of saving the contents was to carry valuables outside. Smaller objects were carried in
fabric bags that volunteer firemen were required to bring to a fire.

Section 3-E-07
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 47 of 90
C 3-06

[ALL]
[N015]
Double-clapper rattle (American), 19th century
Wood and iron
Fireman’s Hall Museum, Philadelphia

Watchmen roused the neighborhood to the danger of fire by the use of rattles. Made of wood
with a lead weight in the toe and reinforced with brass plates, they make a loud and distinctive
sound.

Section 3-E-07
RR 3-02

Fighting Fires

In cities where houses were built side-by-side, a fire in one could threaten whole
neighborhoods with destruction. In 1733, Franklin described the community response: “the
Place is crowded by active Men of different Ages, Professions and Titles who . . . apply
themselves with all Vigilance and Resolution, according to their Abilities, to the hard Work of
conquering the increasing fire.”

Franklin, having seen Boston and London’s firefighting systems, used his newspaper to suggest
that Philadelphia too should organize and train teams of firemen. As usual, Franklin followed up
his proposal with concrete action. In 1736, Franklin and 19 of his neighbors founded the Union
Fire Company. Collectively they purchased and maintained an engine and hooks and ladders;
individually they supplied leather buckets for conveying water to the fire and bags to carry
household goods to safety. They expanded this idea of mutual aid in 1751 into the Philadelphia
Contributionship, America’s first property insurance company. The Contributionship pushed for
safer building standards, insured member households from fire, and even underwrote
mortgages.

A Club or Society of active Men belonging to each Fire Engine . . . Some of these are to handle
the Firehooks, and others the Axes . . . In Time of Fire, they are commanded by Officers
appointed by Law, called Firewards, who are distinguish’d by a Red Staff of five Feet long,
headed with a Brass Flame of 6 Inches . . . They direct the opening and stripping of Roofs by the
Ax-Men, the pulling down burning Timbers by the Hook-men.

—Benjamin Franklin, “On Protection of Towns from Fire” in The Pennsylvania Gazette, February
4, 1734/5

Section 3-E-07
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 48 of 90
C 3-07

[ALL]
[A140]
Fire bucket
(American), late 18th-early 19th century, inscribed “Library Company of Philadelphia”
Leather
Library Company of Philadelphia

Institutions and businesses kept buckets in good repair so staff could quickly respond to the
outbreak of a fire. Members of each fire company were required to own several buckets; by
1767 the number of required buckets had risen to eight.

Section 3-E-08
Unique panel

The Pennsylvanian Fire-Place

Open fireplaces led to frequent house fires and burn accidents. These tragedies inspired
Franklin in 1740 or 1741 to design a safer model that was also more efficient than an open-
hearth fireplace, and heated a room more evenly.

Franklin’s invention was less successful than he imagined it would be. The stove worked well
only when it was full of wood and the chimney was hot; when the wood burned down, the
stove was smoky and inefficient. Franklin continued to modify his stove designs throughout his
lifetime, and stoves based on his original model are now known as “Franklin stoves.”

Franklin refused a patent for his cast-iron stove. He believed firmly “That as we enjoy great
Advantages from the Inventions of others, we should be glad of an Opportunity to serve others
by any Invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously.”

Whenever a FIRE breaks out in any Part of the City, though none of our Houses, Goods, or
Effects may be in apparent Danger, we will nevertheless, repair thither with our Buckets and
Bags . . . and give our utmost Assistance to such of our Fellow-Citizens as may stand in Need of
it, in the same Manner as if they belonged to this Company.

—“Articles of the Union Fire-Company, of Philadelphia,” 1794

Section 3-E-08
C 3-09

[ALL]
[A054]
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 49 of 90
Possibly made by Warwick Furnace, Pennsylvania
Front plate of Pennsylvanian Fire-place
ca. 1760
Cast iron
John Bartram Association Collection, Bartram’s Garden, Philadelphia

Franklin’s friend and fellow “philosopher,” botanist John Bartram, was apparently an early
owner of a Pennsylvanian Fire-place, as this portion of a stove front plate was excavated at
Bartram’s former home in southwest Philadelphia. Buried for decades, the iron plate was badly
decayed. After soaking in an electrolytic bath for months to stabilize the oxidization of the cast
iron, this important artifact is now stable. This 16-ray sunburst design was the second of two
decorative patterns that Franklin used on his stove.

Section 3-E-08
C 3-10

[ALL]
[A336]
Benjamin Franklin
An Account of the New Invented Pennsylvanian Fire-Places
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin with diagrams engraved by Lewis Evans, 1744
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin wrote and printed this tract for Robert Grace (Franklin’s friend, fellow Junto member,
and owner of the Warwick Furnace where the stoves were manufactured) to explain and
promote their efficient stove. Franklin claimed that rooms were warmer with one quarter the
amount of fuel and the air in these rooms was fresher. The Account was circulated throughout
the colonies and in England and boosted sales considerably.

Section 3-E-08
Side fin

The Pennsylvanian Fire-Place

Franklin’s stove was designed to heat a room evenly, without having a hazardous open hearth.
Cool fresh air was drawn from a hole in the bottom plate into the enclosed air box, where warm
smoke flowed around the box and heated it. Once hot, the fresh air exited into the room
through holes in the side plates. The smoke, after passing around the enclosed air box, flowed
through a passage, and up the flue.


Franklin’s Stove: The Pennsylvanian Fire-Place

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 50 of 90
I . . . invented an open Stove, for the better warming of Rooms and at the same time saving Fuel,
as the fresh Air admitted was warmed in Entring.

—Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography




   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 51 of 90
“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World”
Exhibition Text
Section IV

Section 4-E 01
A Panel

Useful Knowledge

1747–1785

Throughout his life, Franklin’s curiosity and hands-on approach to his surroundings attracted
him to science or “natural philosophy,” as it was then called. A true man of the Enlightenment,
Franklin’s reasoning was practical and observation-based, and he shared his theories in letters
to international contemporaries and colleagues. Franklin firmly believed that scientific
knowledge should directly benefit society, so he never patented his inventions and always
sought useful applications for the theories he developed.

Franklin’s studies of electricity, including the legendary kite and key experiment, remain his
most important and best known scientific achievements. Although he personally placed a
higher value on public service than science, it was his scientific status that gave him the
connections he needed to succeed in politics and diplomacy.

What signifies knowing the Names, if you know not the Natures of Things.

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1750

Section 4-E 01
C 4-01

[MHS]
[N012A]
Benjamin Franklin
Experiments and Observations on Electricity
London: E. Cave, 1751–1754
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum
Possibly owned by Benjamin Franklin

In the 1740s Franklin corresponded with British merchant and naturalist Peter Collinson about
his electrical experiments. Collinson, in cooperation with Quaker physician John Fothergill,
compiled the letters into a book and arranged for its publication in 1751. Following its first
appearance in London, Experiments and Observations on Electricity was reprinted in five
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 52 of 90
editions and translated into several languages, including French, German, and Italian. Franklin
himself edited and published the fourth edition in 1769.

[BOWERS, HEINZ, FORD, NARA]
[N012B]
Benjamin Franklin
Experiments and Observations on Electricity
London: E. Cave, 1751–1753
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

In the 1740s Franklin corresponded with British merchant and naturalist Peter Collinson about
his electrical experiments. Collinson, in cooperation with Quaker physician John Fothergill,
compiled the letters into a book and arranged for its publication in 1751. Following its first
appearance in London, Experiments and Observations on Electricity was reprinted in five
editions and translated into several languages, including French, German, and Italian. Franklin
himself edited and published the fourth edition in 1769.

The Influence of Opticks

In Opticks, Sir Isaac Newton introduced a new style of scientific inquiry. Contrasting the
rigorous mathematical rationale characteristic of 17th century science, Opticks introduced a
proposition, or hypothesis, and then offered “The Proof by Experiments.”

This probing methodology––now known as the “scientific method”––appealed to the inquisitive
Franklin. That Opticks was written in English, not the traditional Latin, and did not rely on
complex mathematics, made it all the more accessible. Franklin adopted Newton’s
experimental style and was influenced by his concepts—Franklin’s notion of an electrical fluid is
based on Newtonian atomism.

The prince of astronomers and philosophers, sir Isaac Newton . . .

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1748

Section 4-E 02
B Panel

On Electricity

Franklin rose rapidly to prominence in the scientific world with the London publication of his
Experiments and Observations on Electricity in 1751, with supplements in 1753 and 1754.
Included in this collection of letters was Franklin’s innovative single-fluid theory of electricity, as
well as details of his proposed experiment to test the hypothesis that lightning was electrical.

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World           Minnesota Historical Society    Page 53 of 90
One of the most widely reprinted books of the Enlightenment, Experiments and Observations
kick-started the electrical sciences and won Franklin both friends and detractors.

[Franklin’s Experiments and Observations in Electricity will] be handed down to posterity as
expressive of the true principles of electricity; just as the Newtonian philosophy is of the true
system of nature in general.

—Joseph Priestley, The History and Present State of Electricity, 1755

Section 4-E-02
F 4-01 (framed artifact on panel)

[ALL]
[N014]
Ebenezer Kinnersley
A Course of Experiments
Philadelphia: Printed by A. Armbruster, 1764
Library Company of Philadelphia

Section 4-E-03
Media side fin

Stealing the Crown

Franklin delighted in electricity’s ability to amuse and even startle. Writing to his British friend
Peter Collinson, Franklin demonstrated his wit, and his loyalty, by describing a parlor game
based on the principle of conduction, in which participants received a shock when they tried to
steal the crown from a framed picture of King George. In jest, Franklin wrote, “If the Picture
were highly charg'd, the Consequence might perhaps be as fatal as that of High Treason . . . If a
Ring of Persons take a Shock among them the Experiment is called the Conspiracy.”

[GRAPHIC]
George the Third, portrait print by W. Woolet, ca. 1760–1785
Courtesy of the Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Section 4-E-04
Media side fin

Electrical Matters

Benjamin Franklin was responsible for introducing several new words into our scientific
vocabulary, including battery, positive and negative, conductor, and discharge. Because of

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 54 of 90
Franklin’s personal correspondence and scientific publications, these words were soon adopted
by scientists around the world—and they are still used today.


Franklin coined these terms. Can you define them?

[Roller Text]

[Roller Set 1]


Battery                A device to store electricity

                       To charge with electricity

                       A unit of electrical measurement


[Roller Set 2]

Positive /
Negative               Describes matter with more or less electrical charge than normal

                       A sudden charge or discharge from an electrically charged object

                       The sources of electricity


[Roller Set 3]

Conductor              Material that allows electricity to pass through

                       Material that does not allow electricity to pass through

                       Lacking electrical charge


[Roller Set 4]

Discharge              To remove the electrical energy from something

                       Matter with less electrical charge than normal

                       A primitive device used to store electricity


   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World            Minnesota Historical Society   Page 55 of 90
Section 4-E-05
Media

Thunder and Lightning

Franklin’s best known scientific insight was that thunderclouds are electrified and that lightning
is, in fact, a large electric spark. To test this hypothesis, during a thunderstorm Franklin flew a
kite with a pointed wire attached. When a cloud approached, the wire attracted electricity. The
charge was conducted through the kite’s twine, and from an attached metal key Franklin drew
sparks and charged a Leyden jar.

Previous studies of the “power of points” led Franklin to suggest that grounded iron rods might
protect houses from lightning damage. “Would not these pointed rods,” Franklin asked,
“probably draw the Electrical Fire silently out of a Cloud before it came nigh to strike, and
thereby secure us from that most sudden and terrible Mischief?”

Indeed, in the construction of an instrument [lightning rod] so new, and of which we could have
so little experience, it is rather lucky that we should at first be so near the truth as we seem to
be, and commit so few errors.

—Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

Section 4-E-05
C 4-02

[ALL]
[A053]
Thunder house
Late 18th century
Painted wood, glass, and metal
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

Thunder houses vividly demonstrated the protective effects of grounded rods and were used by
Ebenezer Kinnersley in his sensational but educational lectures. A model building was filled with
gunpowder and equipped with a lightning rod that could be grounded or ungrounded. Applying
a spark to the grounded rod, the charge would pass through the house without harm. But a
spark applied to the ungrounded rod would ignite the gunpowder, blow the roof off the house,
and flatten the four walls in a fiery explosion.

[G197]
BACKGROUND
Demonstration of a thunder house
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 56 of 90
from Dominikus Beck, Kurzer Entwurf der Lehre von der Elektricität, 1787
By permission of Houghton Library, Harvard University


Section 4-E-06
C 4-03

That Admirable Instrument the Microscope

Franklin purchased his first microscope from Joseph Breintnall, a friend and fellow Junto
member. The microscope brought into focus a new world otherwise invisible to the human eye.
As Franklin enthusiastically wrote in his 1751 Poor Richard’s Almanack, “That admirable
Instrument the Microscope has opened to us of these latter Ages, a World utterly unknown to
the Ancients. There are very few Substances, in which it does not shew something curious and
unexpected.” Franklin observed blood cells, peacock feathers, and bones, all of which he
claimed were “the most remarkably entertaining Objects.”

[ALL]
[N005]
Edward Nairne
Chest compound microscope
(London), 1755–1774
Brass, glass, and wood
Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Department of the History of Science, Harvard
University

After Cuff introduced the compound microscope in 1744, European makers used it as a model
for crafting new instruments well into the 19th century. The versatile, user-friendly design and
clear focus of the microscope accounted for its popularity. Franklin likely owned a similar
microscope.

[GRAPHIC]
Illustration from “Directions how to use the Compound Microscope”
1755-1774
Courtesy of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Department of the History of
Science, Harvard University

[ALL]
[A575]
Burning glass/magnifier
18th century
Glass
Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 57 of 90
Owned by Benjamin Franklin

In June 1752, Franklin asked his friend William Strahan to purchase for him “a Concave Mirror
or Burning-Glass,” which he used to conduct experiments on the heat absorbency of light and
dark material. Encouraging his young friend Polly Stevenson in her education, he wrote, “Try to
fire Paper with a burning Glass. If it is White, you will not easily burn it; but if you bring the
Focus to a black Spot . . . the Paper will immediately be on fire under the Letters.” The burning
glass was also used as a simple magnifier.

Section 4-E-07
Media side fin

That admirable Instrument the Microscope

The Circulation of the Blood is to be seen very distinctly in the Tail of a small Fish, the Web of the
Foot of a Frog, &c. . . .

All Sorts of Feathers, especially those of the Peacock, afford a surprizing View . . . It is supposed
that a single Feather contains no less than a Million of different Parts . . .

The human Skin, by the Help of the Microscope, is found to be covered over with an infinite
Number of Scales lying over one another, as in fishes . . .

The Wings of Flies, especially of the Moth and Butterfly Kind, are found to be contrived with
admirable Art . . . and with inimitable Beauty and Ornament . . .

By the Help of the Microscope, we find that the Scales of almost every different Fish . . . are
wrought with surprising Art and Beauty . . .

A Bit of Cork, cut extremely thin, a Slice of Oak or Fir . . . are so many curious Pieces of Mosaic
Work . . .

By this Instrument . . . A Sprig of Moss . . . is found to be a regular Plant, consisting of a Root, a
Stock, Branches, Leaves, &c. and Naturalists tell us, there are some Hundreds of different
Species of it.

—Poor Richard Improved, 1751

Section 4-E-08
Platform

A Gentleman’s Laboratory

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World            Minnesota Historical Society    Page 58 of 90
In an era when scientists were almost always wealthy male amateurs, scientific breakthroughs
occurred––frequently by chance––in home laboratories. Enthusiastic natural philosophers,
including Franklin, would often demonstrate electrical experiments on their newly purchased
equipment as entertaining party tricks.

The laboratory equipment itself varied widely. Glass tubes, for instance, were rubbed with wool
or fur to produce an electrical charge. The lightning bells, Franklin’s own invention, were
connected to an insulated rod atop a building; they would ring whenever an electrified cloud or
lightning was nearby. The Leyden jar was the world’s first capacitor, or battery. With metallic
conductors mounted inside and outside a glass jar (the insulator), a Leyden jar could store and
transport the electric charge that was generated by the electrical apparatus. Laboratories might
also contain thermometers, pneumatic air pumps, magnets, and experimental clocks, all
depending on the interests and resources of the natural philosopher.

Section 4-E-08
F 4-02 (framed graphic on rail)

[ALL]
[G359]
Mason Chamberlin, engraved by Edward Fisher
Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, L.L.D., F.R.S.
1763
Mezzotint
Collection of Stuart E. Karu
Facsimile for exhibit

In one of his favorite likenesses, which he distributed to friends and relatives, Franklin is shown
next to the bells that he used to study thunderstorm electricity. A grounded rod of his improved
design is shown in the background on the right.

Section 4-E-08
F 4-03 (framed graphic on wall)

[ALL]
[G441]
ON WALL AT LEFT
Benjamin Wilson, engraved by James McArdell
B. Franklin of Philadelphia
1761
Mezzotint
Collection of Stuart E. Karu
Facsimile for exhibit

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 59 of 90
Wilson was an artist with a lively interest in electricity, for which he, like Franklin, was awarded
the Royal Society’s Copley Medal. Although he subscribed to Franklin’s single-fluid theory,
Wilson later differed with Franklin on whether a lightning rod should be blunt or pointed. The
prevailing opinion among scientists today is that the shape of a lightning rod makes no
difference to its effectiveness.

[G098]
BACKGROUND
V. Vitold Rola Piekarski
 Lavoisier dans son laboratoire
1888
Engraving
Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Edgar Fahs Smith
Memorial Collection

Section 4-E-08
RR 4-02

[ALL]
[A052]
Franklin bells with Leyden jar
(English), 1800-1900
Mahogany, glass, brass, gold foil, and paint
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

These bells would ring whenever the Leyden jar capacitor (in the middle) was charged with
electricity. This is the same concept Franklin used in installing his lightning bells. He explained:
“In September 1752, I erected an Iron Rod to draw the Lightning down into my House, in order
to make some Experiments on it, with two Bells to give Notice when the Rod should be
electrified.”

[ALL]
[N006]
Leyden jar battery
1750–1900
Wood, glass, brass, gold leaf, and tin foil
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

[ALL]
[N007]
George Adams
Cylinder electrostatic generator
(London), 1778–1795
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 60 of 90
Wood, glass, metal, and silk
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

[ALL]
[N008]
Insulating stool
1750–1900
Mahogany and glass
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

Section 4-E-08
C 4-04

[MHS only]
[N010A]
Jean Antoine Nollet
Lettres sur L’électricité, premiere partie
Paris: Chez Hippolyte-Louis Guérin and Louis-Francois Delatour, 1753
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

[BOWERS, HEINZ, FORD, NARA]
[N010B]
Jean Antoine Nollet
Lettres sur L’électricité, seconde partie
Paris: Hippolyte-Louis Guérin and Louis-Francois Delatour, 1760
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

Section 4-E-08
C 4-05

[ALL]
[N009]
Wistarburgh Glass Works
Static electricity tube, ca. 1747
Glass
Library Company of Philadelphia
Owned by Benjamin Franklin

Section 4-E-08
RR 4-04

The Electric Connection

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World      Minnesota Historical Society   Page 61 of 90
Franklin and his scientific contemporaries advanced electrical studies in the 18 th century
through their voluminous and often public correspondence. Peter Collinson read Franklin’s
letters aloud at meetings of the Royal Society of London. In France, Thomas Dalibard
successfully carried out Franklin’s suggested method for proving that lightning is electricity.
Dalibard published his findings, elevating Franklin’s status among European scientists.

Giambatista Beccaria, Franklin’s Italian translator, verified and extended Franklin’s theory of
electricity in Italy and defended it against conflicting theories. Closer to home, Thomas
Hopkinson first suggested to Franklin that sharp metal points can both throw off electricity and
draw off electricity, a property that led to the development of the lightning rod.

Although many electrical philosophers adopted Franklin’s theory that there is only one type of
electricity that can be either positive or negative, others, particularly the preeminent French
physician Jean Antoine Nollet, strongly advocated their opposing views.

[G181]
Pasqual Pere Moles I Cornones after Georges de La Tour
Portrait print of Jean Antoine Nollet
Late 18th century
Engraving
Courtesy of E. Philip Krider

Jean Antoine Nollet
(1700–1770)
French physicist and clergyman Jean Antoine Nollet had developed the prevailing two-fluid
theory of electricity that was contradicted by the single-fluid theory Franklin proposed in
Experiments and Observations on Electricity. At first, Nollet believed that “Franklin of
Philadelphia” was a hoax concocted by his enemies. By 1753, convinced that Franklin did
indeed exist, Nollet published a series of letters criticizing the one-type-of- electricity theory
and making their dispute public. Franklin did not respond to Nollet directly but other notable
scientists came to Franklin’s defense.

[G189]
Portrait print of Giambatista Beccaria
In G. A. Eandi, Memorie istoriche intorno gli studi del padre Giambatista Beccaria
Torino, 1783
Courtesy of E. Philip Krider

Giambatista Beccaria
(1716–1781)
An Italian natural philosopher and physicist, Beccaria verified and extended Franklin’s theory of
electricity in Italy and defended it against conflicting theories, namely, those of French physicist
Nollet. Franklin thought highly of Beccaria’s work, and in the 1770s he arranged for Beccaria’s
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 62 of 90
book to be translated into English. Franklin and Beccaria’s correspondence helped to advance
electrical studies in the 18th century by connecting scientists across the Atlantic.

[GXXX]
Diagram of the sentry box apparatus
Used by Thomas-François Daliberd in his experiment at Marly-la-Ville, France
In Benjamin Franklin, Expériences et observations sur l’ électricitié a Philadelphie en Amérique,
Trans. T. F. Dalibard, 1756
The Burndy Library, Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Cambridge,
Massachusetts

Thomas-François Dalibard
(1703–1799)
After translating Franklin’s Experiments and Observations on Electricity for French publication,
Dalibard, a French physicist and botanist, was the first to demonstrate that thunderclouds
contain electricity. He used a tall iron rod, as Franklin had suggested, and his success verified
Franklin’s hypothesis that lightning is an electrical discharge. Franklin did not hear about
Dalibard’s success until after he’d already performed a different version of the same
experiment—this time with a kite and key. The two finally met in person in 1767 in Paris.

[G238]
Robert Feke
Portrait of Thomas Hopkinson
1746
Oil on canvas
Smithsonian American Art Museum, George Buchanan Coale Collection

Thomas Hopkinson
(1709–1751)
A London-born lawyer and public official, Hopkinson was a founding member and the first
president of the American Philosophical Society. Hopkinson was a close friend of Franklin’s and
one of his primary collaborators in experimenting with electricity.

[G184]
J. S. Miller
Portrait print of Peter Collinson
1770
Line engraving
The Burndy Library, Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Cambridge,
Massachusetts

Peter Collinson
(1694–1768)
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 63 of 90
Collinson, a London merchant, scientist, and Royal Society member, was a lifelong friend of
Franklin’s. Franklin first wrote to Collinson in 1731, seeking advice and supplies for the new
Library Company. Collinson thereafter acted as the London-based purchasing agent for the
Library. The two also corresponded about electricity, with Collinson informing Franklin of
scientific advances in Europe. Collinson shared Franklin’s work with the Royal Society and
facilitated the publication of Experiments and Observations on Electricity in 1751.

Section 4-E-09
B Panel

Shipboard Amusements

Never one to waste an opportunity or to pass the time unoccupied, Franklin used his multiple
transatlantic journeys—which lasted weeks in each direction—to observe and study the natural
phenomena around him. Franklin carefully recorded his observations, keeping journals filled
with details documenting the origins of storms, the formation of lightning, and the effects of oil
on water. His fascination with maritime weather led him to include meteorological information
in his Poor Richard’s Almanack, helping both travelers and colonial farmers prepare for shifting
weather patterns.

Franklin also studied the transatlantic path of the Gulf Stream, charting its route with his cousin
Timothy Folger, a Nantucket whaling captain. Their surprisingly accurate map has been widely
used by seamen of many nations, reducing the lengthy ocean crossing and spurring interest in
the mysteries of the Atlantic.

This afternoon we took up several branches of gulf weed; but one of these branches had
something peculiar in it . . . a fruit of the animal kind, very surprising to see. It was a small shell-
fish like a heart.

—Benjamin Franklin, Journal of a Voyage, 1726

Section 4-E-09
Case 4-09

[ALL]
[A544]
Benjamin Franklin
“Maritime Observations,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society
1786
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia

Franklin used his last transatlantic voyage, returning from France, as an opportunity to
synthesize a lifetime of thinking about nautical matters. Written as a long letter full of
    Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World           Minnesota Historical Society    Page 64 of 90
“maritime observations” to a French friend and fellow navigation enthusiast Alphonsus Le Roy
in February 1785, the letter was published in its entirety in the American Philosophical Society’s
Transactions. In his lengthy ruminations, Franklin considered more effective shapes and
positions for sails, improvements to sea anchors, various methods of propulsion, ways to
reduce the risk of sinking, lightning rods for ships, and even safer containers for soup. Of most
significance, however, was the information on the Gulf Stream.

As I may never have another occasion of writing on this subject I think I may as well now, once
for all, empty my nautical budget, and give you all the thoughts that have in my various long
voyages occurred to me relating to navigation.

Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Alphonsus Le Roy, 1785

Section 4-E-10
Media fin

Charting the Gulf Stream

On his transatlantic voyages, Franklin noted changes in water temperature and atmospheric
conditions, and the presence of whales feeding on plankton in warmer waters. He also noticed
that similar ships taking different routes across the Atlantic made the crossing at different
speeds––and that the shortest course was not necessarily the fastest. This all made sense when
his cousin Timothy Folger, a Nantucket sea captain, told him about the Gulf Stream and drew its
location on a chart of the Atlantic. The Franklin/Folger chart of the Gulf Stream was amazingly
accurate.

Having since crossed this stream several times in passing between America and Europe, I . . .
know when one is in it; and besides the gulph weed with which it is interspersed, I find that it is
always warmer than the sea on each side of it, and that it does not sparkle in the night.

—Benjamin Franklin, “Maritime Observations,” Transactions of the American Philosophical
Society, 1786

Section 4-E-10
F 4-04 (artifact framed on wall)

[ALL]
[A536]
Remarques sur la Navigation de Terre-Neuve à New-York afin d'éviter Les Courrants et les
bas-fonds au sud de Nantuckett et du Banc de George
Paris: Georges-Louis Le Rouge, 1783
Private Collection

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 65 of 90
While in Paris as minister to the French court, Franklin collaborated with the Parisian
cartographer Georges-Louis Le Rouge on a French version of the chart of the Gulf Stream.
Franklin had previously had the chart printed in London for the British postal packets, probably
in February 1769. Evidence suggests that this new edition was produced for use by French ship
captains in the months following the end of the American Revolutionary War.


[On-screen text]

Can you chart the Gulf Stream?

Place your finger on the ship and drag it through the water.

Follow the whales feeding at the edge of the Gulf Stream.

Check the thermometer to see the temperature of the water. Note how your route changes
color when you hit warm water.

When you think you have charted the Gulf Stream, press a button to verify your discovery.

[Button text, on screen]

Benjamin Franklin asked his cousin Timothy Folger, a whaling captain from Nantucket,
Massachusetts, to sketch a map of the Gulf Stream.

Information collected by NOAA plots recent water temperature during summer months.

Section 4-E-11
Media side fin

Swimming by Kite

Franklin’s flair for technical ingenuity combined with his youthful love for swimming to produce
“a method in which a swimmer may pass to great distances with much facility, by means of a
sail.” Predating windsurfing by centuries, Franklin discovered he could harness the power of the
wind with his kite and be pulled effortlessly across a mile-wide pond.

Section 4-E-12
Media side fin

Magic Squares



   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 66 of 90
In school, Franklin had “twice fail’d” mathematics, but as a young man he enjoyed “magic
squares” —brainteasers in which every horizontal, vertical, and diagonal row adds up to the
same number. He built them to pass the time while listening to debates in the Pennsylvania
Assembly, creating a square of 16 by 16 and even a magic circle. Today, playing magic squares is
making a strong comeback, known by its Japanese name sudoku.


[Instructions]

Arrange the numbers so that the total of each row—horizontal, vertical, and diagonal—is the
same

Clue: All rows total 15

You will readily allow this square of 16 to be the most magically magical of any magic square
ever made by any magician.

—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Peter Collinson, [1752?]

Magic Squares video courtesy of Lee-Anne Grunwald, University of New England, NSW Australia


Section 4-E-14
Wall graphic

[G178]
Mason Chamberlin
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
1762
Philadelphia Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wharton Sinkler, 1956
Facsimile for exhibit

Chamberlin was a leading portraitist and founding member of the Royal Academy in London. He
portrayed Franklin as the world first knew him: the man who tamed lightning. Reports of
Franklin’s electrical experiments had preceded him to England, and his fame as a scientist
provided an introduction to individuals and groups essential to the success of his mission. By
distributing over 100 prints of this picture, Franklin further consolidated his friendships and
political support.




   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 67 of 90
“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World”
Exhibition Text
Section V

Section 5-E-01
A Panel

World Stage

1744–1787

Franklin was a master diplomat and negotiator, exercising restraint, flexibility, and compromise
to bring opposing visions into accord. Whether negotiating with Native Americans in western
Pennsylvania or with the great powers of England and France, Franklin drew on strategies of
collaboration and mutual self-interest to forge alliances that shaped the future of America.

Franklin became a powerful force in the fight for independence, traveling to France to seek aid
for America’s struggle against Britain. In Paris, Franklin capitalized on his brilliant reputation
and charm; his humble demeanor and natural wit served the American cause well, and he
forged strong transatlantic ties. In the end, this international alliance resulted in victory after a
long Revolutionary War.

Once back on American soil, Franklin brought a spirit of compromise and unity to the
Constitutional Convention.

Would you persuade, speak of Interest, not of Reason.

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1734

Section 5-E-01
C 5-01

[MHS, HEINZ, NARA]
[A197A]
François Dumont
Snuffbox with portrait of Benjamin Franklin (French), 1779
Horn, satinwood, gilt, painting on paper, and glass
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin gave a snuffbox like this one to his young friend Georgiana Shipley as a token of his
affection. The portrait on its cover was one of Franklin’s favorites; he later lent it to be copied

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society    Page 68 of 90
by other artists who wanted him to sit for portraits.


[BOWERS & FORD]
[A197 B]
Attributed to Joseph-Siffred Duplessis
Miniature portrait of Benjamin Franklin (French), 1790–1810
Pastel on ivory
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

This is a miniature version of Duplessis’s 1778 “fur collar” portrait of Franklin, which was copied
numerous times by multiple artists. Miniature portraits were popular gifts before photographs
were available.


Section 5-E-02a
C Panel

A Consummate Diplomat

Franklin was a natural listener. This served him well as he undertook diplomatic efforts on
behalf of the colonies and, eventually, the United States. His life as a diplomat spanned over
forty years and began just as he was being recognized for his scientific achievements, both in
America and abroad.

War begets Poverty, Poverty Peace;
Peace makes Riches flow,
(Fate ne’er doth cease.)
Riches produce Pride,
Pride is War’s Ground;
War begets Poverty, &c.
The World goes round.
--Richard Saunders [Benjamin Franklin], A Pocket Almanack For the Year 1744

[G355]
David Martin
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
1766
Oil on canvas
White House Historical Association (White House Collection)

Section 5-E-02b
C Panel

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 69 of 90
Union of the colonies is absolutely necessary for their preservation.
--Benjamin Franklin, Reasons and Motives for the Albany Plan of Union, 1754

Forging Unions, 1740–1754

In the early 1750s, Franklin helped in the efforts to reinforce treaties with Native Americans
along the western frontier in Pennsylvania. The Natives demanded that English colonists desist
in their expansion westward, while the colonists hoped to win Native friendship for the looming
conflict of empire between France and Britain.

Franklin was struck by the Native Americans’ alliances – confederations – that enabled them to
find common cause against European encroachment. He would draw on the idea of
confederation when, at a special colonial congress held at Albany in 1754, he proposed a plan
for union as a way to protect against the French and their Native allies. The delegates rejected
the Albany Plan, fearing a loss of autonomy if a centralized inter-colonial government were
established.

During the French and Indian War that followed (1754-1763), Franklin worked to establish and
provide support for Pennsylvania's militia in western Pennsylvania.

[G219]
Indian Treaties with Benjamin Franklin’s annotations
Philadelphia: Franklin and Hall, 1757–1759
Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

The treaties in this volume document the formal protocol in which conferences were conducted
according to Indian custom. Franklin did more than just print the treaties—from 1744 until
1757 he participated in a number of the conferences as a commissioner; his comments can be
seen in the margins.

[G220]
Designed by Benjamin Franklin
“Join, or Die”
The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1754
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1754
Library Company of Philadelphia

[G263]
Draft of the Albany Plan of Union
Manuscript by Benjamin Franklin, 1754
Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 70 of 90
[It is proposed] That humble Application be made for an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain,
by Virtue of which, one General Government may be formed in America.

—Benjamin Franklin, Albany Plan of Union, 1754

Section 5-E-02c
C Panel

The Stamp Act, notwithstanding all the Opposition that could be given it by the American
Interest, will pass.
--Letter from Benjamin Franklin to David Hall, 1765

Acting Abroad, 1754-1765

In 1757, Franklin was sent to London as an agent of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey
and Georgia. While there, he enjoyed the chance to socialize with other scientific thinkers, all
while pursuing his colonial commercial and diplomatic interests. All told, Franklin would cross
the Atlantic eight times in the coming decades.

Franklin was in London in 1765 when the Stamp Act Crisis erupted. He briefly supported the
Act, but when he realized the depth of colonial opposition, he testified against it. His testimony
helped secure the repeal of the unpopular legislation.

[G417]
Paper embossed with tax stamp
1765
Library Company of Philadelphia

With the implementation of the Stamp Act, all newspapers and public and legal documents in
the American colonies were required to be printed on paper sent from England bearing an
embossed seal, or “stamp.” The stamp certified the payment of the tax, the cost of which was
passed on to the purchaser, adding to the expense—and difficulty—of carrying on daily life. The
Stamp Act catalyzed American resentment of Britain’s authoritarian rule.

[G400?]
Designed by Benjamin Franklin
“Magna Brittania: her Colonies Reduc’d”
Printed in London, late 1765 or early 1766
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin had this vivid cartoon printed on cards and distributed to the British Parliament during
the debate over the repeal of the Stamp Act. Franklin hoped that it would convey the disastrous
effects on the empire from unfairly taxing the colonies.
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 71 of 90
Section 5-E-02d
C Panel

Enough has happened, one would think, to convince your ministers that the Americans will fight,
and that this is a harder nut to crack than they imagined.
--Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Priestley, 1775

Declaring Independence, 1765-1776

While in London, Franklin firmly believed that the growing rift between England and her
colonies could be mended and he worked to find compromises. However, in the wake of the
Boston Tea Party in 1774, and as colonial calls for "no taxation without representation" grew
louder, Franklin came to see the two sides as irreconcilable.

In 1775, soon after his showdown with Lord Wedderburn over the leaking of Governor
Hutchinson’s letters, Franklin left London for Philadelphia, ready to rejoin his countrymen and
throw his full support for the Revolutionary cause.

Franklin was elected to the Second Continental Congress later that year and proposed the first
Articles of Confederation to link the colonies together. In 1776, he helped draft the Declaration
of Independence and was one of the signers.

Section 5-E-02d
F 5-01 (framed artifact on panel)

[ALL]
[A302]
Begun by Robert Edge Pine and finished by Edward Savage
Congress Voting Independence
1796-1817
Oil on canvas
Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection

Pine’s painting is considered one of the most realistic renditions of this historic event. Several
key political figures can be identified in the painting, including the members of the committee
to draft the Declaration. Jefferson is the tall man depositing the Declaration of Independence
on the table. Benjamin Franklin sits to his right. Fellow committee members John Adams, Roger
Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston stand behind Jefferson. John Hancock is behind the table in
the center.

Section 5-E-02e
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 72 of 90
C Panel

There shall be a firm, inviolable and universal Peace, and a true and sincere Friendship between
the most Christian King, his Heirs and Successors, and the United States of America.
--Treaty of Amity, 1778

Supporting the Revolution, 1776-1785

In late 1776, Franklin was sent to France to negotiate French aid for the American cause. Over
the course of the war, the French provided supplies and troops to the colonies, and underwrote
aid worth $13 billion in today’s money.

While in France, Franklin attended social and intellectual salons with scientists, philosophers
and politicians. He even had an audience before King Louis XVI. His quiet charm and cultivated
simplicity impressed the French.

In 1780, British General Lord Cornwallis surrendered to the Americans at Yorktown and the
following year, Congress appointed Franklin, John Adams, John Jay and Henry Laurens to
negotiate a peace treaty with Britain. In 1783, Franklin and his fellow commissioners signed the
Treaty of Paris, formally establishing the peace with Great Britain.

Section 5-E-02e
F 5-02 (framed artifact on panel)

[BOWERS & HEINZ]
[N709]
Abbé Jean Richard Claude de Saint-Non after Jean Honoré Fragonard
Le Docteur Francklin couronné par la Liberté
1778
Aquatint
Library Company of Philadelphia

Franklin visited Saint-Non’s home, where the artist made this print to demonstrate the process
of aquatint. Depicting Franklin’s bust resting on the hemisphere of the New World and crowned
with roses by Liberty, the picture uses the scroll (a reference to the constitutions of the
American states) to salute Franklin’s service as legislator as well as liberator.

Section 5-E-02e
F 5-03 (framed graphic on panel)

[ALL]
[G355]
Louis Carrogis de Carmontelle, engraved by François Denis Née
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 73 of 90
Portrait print of Benjamin Franklin
1781
Engraving
Collection of Stuart E. Karu
Facsimile for exhibit

Section 5-E-05
C 5-06

[fin text]
Supplies for the American Army

With the start of the Revolutionary War, Americans faced the daunting challenge of fighting the
British Empire—until now, their main provider of military goods. As Commissioner to France,
one of Franklin’s major duties was to secure desperately needed supplies for the American
army. Working from an extensive list provided by Congress, Franklin sought everything from
cannons, to musical instruments, to buttons and shoes. Over the course of the war, the French
provided supplies, and underwrote aid worth $13 billion in today’s money.

I have at last obtained a Promise of Some money towars the supplies and shall want I believe
10,000 suits of Cloaths with shirts, hats stockings and shoes.

—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Williams, Jr., 1779

[ALL]
[A115]
“Estimate of Stores for the Armye––Estimate N3,” July 1779
Manuscript
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Congress sent Franklin this detailed, 38-page list of supplies to acquire in France. It specified
items essential to outfitting and sustaining the American troops, ranging from arms of all sorts
to bolts of cloth for uniforms, cooking pots, fifes and drums, and goods for Indian allies—all of
which then had to be smuggled across the Atlantic, often via the Caribbean. The first ship, the
“Marquis de Lafayette,” was captured at sea by a British gun boat, the bounty sold at auction in
London, and Franklin had to start all over again. Ultimately, however, Franklin succeeded, and
the supplies made their way to America.

Section 5-E-06
C 5-07

[ALL]
[A039]
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 74 of 90
Joseph Richardson
Ceremonial gorget, 1757-1758
Silver
Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection

Gorgets, worn at the neck, were among the gifts presented to Native Americans as tokens of
peace and friendship. Engraved into this example, one of 40 gorgets given to Delaware and
Iroquois chiefs by Governor Robert Hunter Morris, is the image of an Indian and a Quaker
sharing a peace pipe.

[ALL]
[A127]
Engraved by Edward Duffield, struck by Joseph Richardson
Peace Medal (from the Friendly Association for Regaining and Preserving Peace with the
Indians), 1757
Silver
Library Company of Philadelphia

Depicting an Indian and a Quaker sharing a peace pipe on one side and King George II on the
other, this was the first peace medal made in America. Franklin and others would distribute
these medals to Native Americans as tokens of goodwill.

[ALL]
[A464]
“Unite or Die” cartoon, published in Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser, November
16, 1774
Woodcut
Collection of Roy T. Lefkoe, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In May 1754, just before the Albany Conference, Franklin published this cut rattlesnake
cartoon. It illustrated an editorial urging the colonies to join together against the French. This
motif remained popular, reappearing in the period leading up to the Revolutionary War as a
symbol of the strength of colonial unity against Great Britain.

Section 5-E-02f
C 5-03


Life is a kind of Chess, in which we often have Points to gain, & Competitors or Adversaries to
contend with. . . . The game is so full of events. . .that one is encourage to continue the Contest
to the last, in hopes of Victory from our own skill.
--Benjamin Franklin, The Morals of Chess, 1779
[BOWERS]
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 75 of 90
[N025A]
Pennsylvania Constitution (printed draft)
Philadelphia: Printed by John Dunlap, 1776
Library Company of Philadelphia
Annotated in the hand of Benjamin Franklin

[MHS]
[N025B]
Constitution of the United States
(Second printed draft, annotated in the hand of John Dickinson)
Philadelphia: Dunlap and Claypoole, 1787
Library Company of Philadelphia

[HEINZ]
[N025C]
Constitution of the United States
(First printed draft, annotated in the hand of John Dickinson)
Philadelphia: Dunlap and Claypoole, 1787
Library Company of Philadelphia

[FORD]
[N025D]
Declaration of Independence
Baltimore: Katharine Goddard, 1777
Library Company of Philadelphia

[NARA]
[Nxxx]

Section 5-E-02g
C Panel

Building a Nation, 1787-1790

Franklin returned to America in 1785 and within two years was once again at the center of the
effort to define and shape the new nation. In 1787 he was the oldest member of the
Constitutional Convention, suffering from poor health and often excruciating pain. Nonetheless,
Franklin's experience as a seasoned diplomat and negotiator, combined with his keen
observation of human nature, made him an ideal delegate to the Convention.

His most important contributions were his spirit of pragmatic compromise and strong desire for
unity. He drew on both to play a significant role in brokering the "Great Compromise"--a

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 76 of 90
legislature of two houses, one elected in proportion to population and one in which each state
would have equal representation.

I confess that I do not entirely approve of this Constitution at present, but Sir, I am not sure I
shall never approve it. . . . this I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and
because I am not sure that it is not the best.
--Benjamin Franklin, Speech in the Convention at the Conclusion of its Deliberations, 1787

Section 5-E-02g
C 5-04

[ALL]
[A344A]
[A344B]
“Fugio” pennies (obverse and reverse)
1787
Brass and copper
Collection of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania

The first coins issued by the authority of the United States were based on an earlier design
suggested by Franklin, which showed the chain of union between the 13 states and was used
on currency issued in 1776. The obverse shows a sundial with the legend “Fugio [I fly] 1787
Mind your business” and the reverse reads, “We are one United States.”

[G170]
Charles Willson Peale
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
1785
Oil on canvas
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Bequest of Mrs. Sarah Harrison (The
Joseph Harrison, Jr. Collection).

This is believed to be the last life portrait of Franklin, made when he was 81 years old, serving
as “governor” of Pennsylvania, and attending sessions of the Constitutional Convention.

Section 5-E-03
C 5-05

[case fin text]
An Avid Correspondent

During his service in London Franklin traveled throughout Europe, while still conducting
business and corresponding regularly with family, friends, and acquaintances. From a young age
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World            Minnesota Historical Society    Page 77 of 90
Franklin was an avid letter writer. Since 1959 his correspondence has been published in the
Papers of Benjamin Franklin, a joint project of the American Philosophical Society and Yale
University. When completed, the Papers will total 47 volumes.

If I do not correspond so fully and punctually with you as you expected, consider the Situation
and Business I am in, the Number of Correspondents I have to write to . . . besides the many
Matters of Use and Importance worth a Stranger’s while to enquire into . . . I think you will be
more ready to excuse me.

––Benjamin Franklin to David Hall, 1759

[ALL]
[A146]
Calling card, 1757–1775
Ink on paper
Collection of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania
Franklin used this handwritten calling card when he lived in London.

[ALL]
[A641]
Purse/wallet (English), ca. 1770
Leather
Collection Robert W. Sullivan IV
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; descended in the family of William Bache

Folded scraps of paper found in this purse note the purchase of rum and tea, among other
things.

[ALL]
[A108]
Traveling lap desk (probably English), ca. 1757
Mahogany, maple, baize, and brass
Historical and Interpretive Collections of The Franklin Institute, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennslyvania
Owned by Benjamin Franklin; he gave it to a friend and then it later passed back into the family
of Richard Bache II

With its compartments for ink and supplies and locking drawers that could only be opened from
the inside, this portable writing desk was ideal for transporting and storing correspondence
during Franklin’s extensive travels in Europe.

[BOWERS & FORD]
 [N024A]
Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Preston Moore, London, February 21, 1761
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 78 of 90
Library Company of Philadelphia

 [MHS, HEINZ, NARA]
 [N024B]
Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Preston Moore, London, August 13, 1761
Library Company of Philadelphia

Section 5-E-04
Media

Franklin’s European Network

When Franklin arrived in London in 1757, he was renowned throughout Europe for his electrical
experiments. He had corresponded regularly with accomplished scientists from Italy to England
and was welcomed into political and scientific circles.

From his London base, Franklin traveled extensively for both business and leisure. He received
honors and awards from prestigious societies, vacationed with friends and family, and visited
the village where his father was born to trace distant relatives.

His widespread popularity helped him overcome many difficulties as envoy for the colonies.
And his years of diplomatic experience would serve him and American interests well in France,
once war against Britain became inevitable.

       Franklin’s Correspondents
       Franklin’s Awards and Honors
       Franklin’s Travels

[GRAPHIC]
A Map of the British Empire in America, by Henry Popple, 1741
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

[Dates on Map]
1759
1761
1766
1767
1771

Section 5-E-07
Media

An Edict by the King of Prussia
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World       Minnesota Historical Society   Page 79 of 90
In 1773, as tensions between Britain and America increased, a declaration purportedly by King
Frederick II of Prussia was published in The Public Advertiser, a London newspaper. It asserted
that because England was originally settled by Germans and in the recent war against France
was protected by Germany, the British should pay exorbitant taxes to Prussia. If any precedent
was needed, the British should look no further than their own treatment of colonial America.

Franklin, the true author, delighted in the public’s dismay at his parody, boasting to his son
William, “I am not suspected as the author . . . and have heard the [Edict] spoken of in the
highest terms as the keenest and severest piece that has appeared here a long time.”

[Text of Audio]

An Edict from Frederick, by the Grace of God, King of Prussia, &c. &c. &c. to all present and to
come,

WHEREAS it is well known to all the World, that the first German Settlements made in the
Island of Britain, were by Colonies of People, Subjects to our renowned Ducal Ancestors . . . and
that the said Colonies have flourished under the Protection of our august House, for Ages past,
have never been emancipated therefrom, and yet have hitherto yielded little Profit to the
same. And whereas We Ourself have in the last War fought for and defended the said Colonies
against the Power of France, and thereby enabled them to make Conquests from the said
Power in America, for which we have not yet received adequate Compensation. . .

WE do therefore hereby ordain and command . . . there shall be levied and paid to our Officers
of the Customs, on all Goods, Wares and Merchandizes, and on all Grain and other Produce of
the Earth exported from the said Island of Britain, and on all Goods of whatever Kind imported
into the same, a Duty of Four and an Half per Cent. ad Valorem, for the Use of us and our
Successors. . .

We flatter Ourselves that these Our Royal Regulations and Commands will be thought just and
reasonable by Our much-favoured Colonists in England, the said Regulations being copied from
their own Statutes . . . and from other equitable Laws made by their Parliaments, . . . entered
into for the GOOD Government of their own Colonies in Ireland and America.

Such is our Pleasure.
FREDERICK, KING OF PRUSSIA

—Benjamin Franklin, The Public Advertiser, September 22, 1773

[Franklin Writings 698-99, 702]

[Label for graphic]
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 80 of 90
Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, L.L.D., F.R.S., mezzotint by Edward Fisher after Mason
Chamberlin, 1763
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

Section 5-E-08
Media

Rattlesnakes for Felons

Britain justified its policy of sending convicts to America under the pretext of helping the
colonies grow. In 1751 Franklin was still a loyal Englishman, but seeing the colonies used as a
dumping ground made him bitterly angry. Under the pseudonym “Americanus,” he published a
sarcastic reciprocal proposal in The Pennsylvania Gazette. He suggested that the colonies make
the trade fair by donating their rattlesnakes to England in return.

Franklin used rattlesnakes symbolically several times in his life, notably when he designed a
woodcut in which a cut snake represented the colonies divided. Later, in 1775, he even
suggested the rattlesnake as the symbol for America’s fight for independence.

[Text of audio]

I understand that the Government at home will not [allow] our mistaken Assemblies to make
any Law for preventing or discouraging the Importation of Convicts from Great Britain for this
kind Reason, ‘That such Laws are against the Publick Utility, as they tend to prevent the
IMPROVEMENT and WELL PEOPLING of the Colonies.’

Such a tender parental Concern in our Mother Country for the Welfare of her Children, calls
aloud for the highest Returns of Gratitude and Duty.

In some of the uninhabited Parts of these Provinces, there are Numbers of these venomous
Reptiles we call RATTLE-SNAKES; Felons . . . from the Beginning of the World: These, whenever
we meet with them, we put to Death . . . But . . . this . . . may seem too cruel . . . I would humbly
propose, that this general Sentence of Death be changed for Transportation.

In the Spring of the Year, when they first creep out of their Holes . . . some Thousands might be
collected annually, and transported to Britain. There I would propose to have them carefully
distributed in St. James’s Park . . . but particularly in the Gardens of the Prime Ministers, the
Lords of Trade and Members of Parliament; for to them we are most particularly obliged.

This Exporting of Felons to the Colonies, may be consider’d as a Trade . . . [for] all Commerce
implies Returns . . . And Rattle-Snakes seem the most suitable Returns for the Human Serpents
sent us by our Mother Country. In this, however, as in every other Branch of Trade, she will
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 81 of 90
have the Advantage of us . . . For the Rattle-Snake gives Warning before he attempts his
Mischief; which the Convict does not.

I am Yours, &c.
AMERICANUS

—Benjamin Franklin, Rattle-Snakes for Felons, The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1751

[Franklin Writings 359-61]

[Label for graphic]

B. Franklin of Philadelphia, mezzotint by James McArdell after Benjamin Wilson, 1761
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

Section 5-E-09
C 5-08

[case fin text]
A Fur Cap is Always on His Head

When Franklin arrived in France in 1777, he was an instant celebrity. Franklin described to his
daughter Sally the variety of souvenirs made there with his image, writing: “These, with the
pictures, busts, and prints, (of which copies upon copies are spread everywhere,) have made
your father’s face as well known as that of the moon.” With his rustic fur cap and simple dress
(as opposed to the ceremonial wigs and robes of the court at Versailles), Franklin fit the
romanticized stereotype of a natural man from the uncharted wilderness of the New World.

It is said . . . that the name doll, for the images children play with, is derived from the word
IDOL. From the number of dolls now made of him, he may be truly said, in that sense to be i-
doll-ized in this country.

—Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Sarah Franklin Bache, 1779

[ALL]
[G055]
Augustin de Saint-Aubin after Charles-Nicholas Cochin
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, 1777
Engraving
Collection of Stuart E. Karu
Facsimile for exhibit



   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 82 of 90
One of the first images of Franklin available in France, made within a few weeks of his arrival,
this print was reproduced on countless souvenir objects. The fur cap Franklin wore that winter
attracted the attention of the French public, who also associated it with a similar hat worn by
the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

[ALL]
[A258]
Snuffbox with portrait print of Franklin, Voltaire, and Rousseau (French), after 1790
Horn, satinwood, gilt, engraving on paper, and glass
Collection of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania

The grouping of Franklin with these eminent figures illustrates his status in France as one of the
leading philosophers of the Enlightenment.

[ALL]
[N046]
Silhouette of Benjamin Franklin, after 1777
Painted glass in wood frame
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

[ALL]
[N047]
Silhouette of Benjamin Franklin, after 1777
Wax in wood frame
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

[ALL - on wall next to fur cap case]
[G199]
Etienne Palliere
Allegory of the Franco-American Alliance, ca. 1778
Watercolor
Collection of Stuart E. Karu
Facsimile for exhibit


Section 5-E-10
Media

[media fin text]
Master Diplomat

From his early talks with Native Americans to his final negotiations with England and France,
Franklin consistently employed a range of skillful tactics in his role as diplomat. Restraint,
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 83 of 90
compromise, cunning, and vision were among the qualities Franklin brought to the table. He
traced his diplomatic strategy back to his understanding of the game of chess. Reflecting on the
American victory at Yorktown in 1781, Franklin wrote to Mme Brillon, “I never give up on a
game before it is finished, always hoping that I shall eventually win.”


Section 5-E-11
Media

At the Cockpit

On January 29, 1774, Lord Alexander Wedderburn verbally attacked Benjamin Franklin,
accusing him of deliberately leaking letters in order to provoke colonial riots against the Crown.
This humiliating, hour-long confrontation took place before the members of the British Privy
Council at the Cockpit (a room named for its previous use—cockfighting). While the councilors
jeered, Franklin refused to respond, and his silence was more powerful than words.

The letters in question were written by Thomas Hutchinson, the governor of Massachusetts,
advising England on ways to deal with growing colonial unrest. They were passed on, indirectly,
to Franklin; he shared them with colleagues in Boston and—despite his request otherwise—
they were published. As a result, radical colonial patriots were outraged, and their increasing
hostility culminated in the Boston Tea Party.

The Doctor . . . stood conspicuously erect, without the smallest movement of any part of his
body. The muscles of his face had been previously composed as to afford a placid tranquil
expression of countenance, and he did not suffer the slightest alteration of it to appear.

—Edward Bancroft, who observed the confrontation in the Cockpit


[audio text]

My Lords,
The case, which now comes before your Lordships, is justly entitled to all that attention, which,
from the presence of so great a number of Lords, and of so large an audience, it appears to
have excited. It is a question of no less magnitude, than whether the Crown shall ever have it in
its power to employ a faithful and steady servant in the administration of a Colony. In the
appointment of Mr. Hutchinson, his Majesty’s choice followed the wishes of his people; and no
other man could have been named, in whom so many favourable circumstances concurred to
recommend him . . .My Lords, if such a man . . . is to be born down by . . . mere surmises . . . it
must become a case of still greater magnitude and ever be a matter of doubt, whether the
Colony shall hence-forward pay respect to any authority derived from this country . . . My
Lords, The only purport of this important address is, that the Governor [has] lost the confidence
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 84 of 90
of the people, upon account of some papers . . . and that they have been amongst the chief
instruments in introducing a fleet and army into the province . . . I can appeal to your Lordships,
that it was not these letters, but their own ill conduct, which made it necessary to order the
four regiments . . . How these letters came into the possession of any one but the right owners,
is still a mystery for Dr. Franklin to explain . . . My Lords, if there be any thing held sacred in the
intercourse of mankind, it is their private letters of friendship . . . These are the letters which
Dr. Franklin treats as public letters, and has thought proper to secrete them for his own
purpose . . . But if the desiring secrecy be the proof, and the measure of guilt, what then are we
to think of Dr. Franklin’s case? Whose whole conduct in this affair has been secret and
mysterious? . . . I consider Dr. Franklin not so much in the light of an agent for the Assembly’s
purpose, as in that of a first mover and prime conductor of it for his own . . . [In fact], The
letters from Boston have intimated that Dr. Franklin was aiming at Mr. Hutchinson’s
government . . . My Lords, there is no end of this mischief… My Lords, Dr. Franklin’s mind may
have been so possessed with the idea of a Great American Republic, that he may easily slide
into the language of the minister of a foreign independent state . . . But Dr. Franklin, whatever
he may teach the people at Boston, while he is here at least is a subject; and if a subject injure a
subject, he is answerable to the law . . . I call upon Dr. Franklin . . . And I am ready to examine
him.
––Alexander Wedderburn, Speech before the Privy Council, January 29, 1774
[Franklin Papers 21: 43–68]

[BACKGROUND]
[G248]
Franklin before the Lords in Council, 1774, steel engraving on paper by John M. Butler after
Robert Whitechurch and Christian Schuessele, 1859
Franklin Collection, Yale University Library, Conn.

[G435]
Mather Brown
Portrait of Alexander Wedderburn, 1st Earl of Rosslyn, 1791
Oil on canvas
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

Lord Alexander Wedderburn, Earl of Rosslyn, was a Scottish-born attorney known for his sharp
tongue and ruthless ways. He moved to London in 1757, where he served first in Parliament
and then as solicitor-general. In 1774 when Franklin appeared before the British Privy Council,
Wedderburn vehemently denounced him. Wedderburn’s hostile treatment of Franklin, an
agent of the American colonies, reinforced his reputation as an enemy of popular liberty, and
his effigy was burnt in Philadelphia––set alight with an electrical spark by Ebenezer Kinnersley.

[R002]
Reproduction suit of clothes, 2005, based on the original, made of silk (French), ca. 1778

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World           Minnesota Historical Society    Page 85 of 90
The history of this suit, the only one of Franklin’s in existence, is remarkable. A hand-written
note from Elkanah Watson, who gave the suit to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1803,
certifies “in the year 1781, being in Paris, in France, the celebrated Mrs. [Prudence] Wright
executed for me an excellent likeness in wax of the immortal Dr. Benjamin Franklin. Dining with
her at the Doctor’s, in Passy . . . I suggested that such a head deserved a suit of his own clothes,
on which he rang for his servant, directing him to bring the suit he wore . . . in the year of
signing the famous Treaty of Amity between France and America, in February 1778.” Alas, the
head was subsequently broken.

Section 5-E-12
C 6-01

[media fin text]
The Window

Franklin took a great interest in fitness, diet, and health. He was convinced of the importance of
fresh air and argued that good ventilation could help promote pleasant dreams and fend off the
common cold. In September 1776 Franklin and John Adams spent the night at a crowded inn in
New Brunswick, New Jersey, and were forced to share a bed. The two men—of famously
opposite temperaments—inevitably began to argue, this time, about the benefits or hazards of
cold night air.




   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society   Page 86 of 90
“Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World”
Exhibition Text
Section VI

Section 6-E-01
A Panel

Seeing Franklin

1787 –Today

At 81, Benjamin Franklin was twice the average age of the other members of the Constitutional
Convention. Suffering from gout and kidney stones, he nevertheless continued his public
career. In these final years of his life, Franklin remained open-minded and reflective. He
renewed work on his autobiography—started years earlier—and served as President of the
Pennsylvania Abolition Society, taking a prominent stand against slavery.

Since his death in April 1790, more than two centuries ago, Franklin has been memorialized,
revered, romanticized, spoofed, and made into an advertising and financial icon. His face and
figure have been depicted in every medium—stone, paint, film, cartoon, the Internet—and can
be seen on billboards and building facades, postage stamps, and the $100 bill. Franklin’s name
evokes imagination, wit, and entrepreneurial ingenuity worldwide.

How do you see Franklin?

Fear not Death; for the sooner we die, the longer shall we be immortal.

—Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1740

Section 6-E-01
C 6-01

[MHS]
[N011A]
Mémoires de la vie privée de Benjamin Franklin, first French edition
Paris: Chez Buisson, 1791
Collections of The Bakken Library and Museum

This French translation of the first section of Franklin’s memoirs, focusing on only the initial 25
years of his life, is the first published edition of Franklin’s Autobiography. Following came
several other versions, based on the French. The true first edition of the complete

   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World          Minnesota Historical Society   Page 87 of 90
Autobiography (consisting of four parts) was finally printed in 1868, when John Bigelow found
and published Franklin’s original manuscript.

[ BOWERS, HEINZ, NARA, FORD]
[N011B]
Mémoires de la vie privée de Benjamin Franklin, first French edition
Paris: Chez Buisson, 1791
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

This French translation of the first section of Franklin’s memoirs, focusing on only the initial 25
years of his life, is the first published edition of Franklin’s Autobiography. Following came
several other versions, based on the French. The true first edition of the complete
Autobiography (consisting of four parts) was finally printed in 1868, when John Bigelow found
and published Franklin’s original manuscript.


Section 6-E-02
C 6-02

[case fin text]
The Most Famous Autobiography

Though he never finished writing it, Franklin’s Autobiography is the most widely published
memoir in history and has never gone out of print. In his autobiography, which he started as a
letter to his son, Franklin offers the story of his life as an archetypal journey from rags to
riches. The Autobiography remains inspiring today: it documents Franklin’s many
achievements, details his struggles with personal improvement, explains his belief in personal
virtue, and exemplifies his ceaseless self-questioning.

I have ever had a Pleasure in obtaining any little Anecdotes of my Ancestors . . . Now imagining
it may be equally agreeble to you to know the Circumstances of my Life . . . I sit down to write
them for you.

—Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

[ALL]
[N043]
Benjamin Franklin's Kleine Schriften (German edition)
Weimar: Im Verlage des Industrie-Comptoirs, 1794
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

[ALL]
[N048]
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society    Page 88 of 90
The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. (first English edition)
London: Printed for J. Parsons, 1793
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

[ALL]
[N050]
The Works of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin Consisting of His Life (first American edition)
New York: Tiebout & Obrian, 1794
Collection of Stuart E. Karu

[ALL]
[N035]
Vida del Dr. Benjamin Franklin (first Spanish edition)
Madrid: Por Pantaleon Aznar, 1798
Library Company of Philadelphia

Section 6-E-03
Flipbooks

Reading Franklin’s Writing

The manuscript version of Franklin’s Autobiography, consisting of 234 pages and written in four
parts, is one of the treasures of the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Writing over a
span of more than 18 years, Franklin used one side of each page, leaving the other side for
corrections.

Find the stories that are told in this exhibition and read them in Franklin’s own hand.

Section 6-E-04
Bookshelf

Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography has been published in many languages.

Please enjoy these examples here in the exhibition.

And please leave them here for the enjoyment of others.

Section 6-E-05?????
Wall graphic

I have sometimes almost wished it had been my Destiny to be born two or three Centuries
hence. For Inventions of Improvement are prolific, and beget more of their Kind. The present
Progress is rapid. Many of great Importance, now unthought of, will before that Period be
   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World         Minnesota Historical Society    Page 89 of 90
procur’d; and then I might not only enjoy their Advantages, but have my Curiosity satisfy’d in
knowing what they are to be.
 ––Benjamin Franklin to Rev. John Lathrop, 1788


Far more engaging than the icon, the historical Franklin is so accessible and such fun! Everyone
should consider his devotion to public service, examine his astute diplomacy, admire his skillful
writing and irrepressible wit, repeat and enjoy some of his simple experiments, trace the
reception and legacy of his ideas and discoveries. Doing so would help students and citizens
understand how earnest pursuit of intense curiosity and social compassion reshape human
culture—in his time, in ours, and beyond.

—Dudley Herschbach, Nobel Laureate (Chemistry), 2005




   Benjamin Franklin: in Search of a Better World        Minnesota Historical Society   Page 90 of 90

				
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