Fun Facts Friday: Benjamin Franklin: Printer & Bibliophile

January 17, 2014

January 17 is the birthday of one of the most famous man in American History, Benjamin Franklin ( 17 January, 1706 – 17 April, 1790). I read Benjamin Franklin’s Biography by Walter Isaacson a few years ago and it is, to this day, a favorite of mine. Many people know that Mr. Franklin was a printer, but here are a few interesting facts about his printing career and love of books & libraries.

Fun Facts Friday: Benjamin Franklin: Printer & Bibliophile

  1. Franklin considered himself a printer all his life, and took great pride at his occupation. Wherever he went he always had a printing press at his disposal. Franklin’s last will and testament begins “I, Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, printer…”.
  2. To his life’s end, Ben Franklin remained a printer and took pride in it. Wherever he lived in Europe or America, he managed to have a printing press at his disposal. It is no accident that his last will and testament, written at age eighty-three (the year before he died) begins “I, Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia, printer…”.
  3. Franklin’s first publication was when he was 16 years old, he wrote in the voice of a feminist woman named “Silence Dogood”.
  4. At age 21, Franklin established the colonies’ first circulation library for all interested citizens or as it was known “The Library Company of Philadelphia”.
  5. The Pennsylvania Gazette, a newspaper, was bought by Franklin when he was 22 years old and printed the paper money for both Pennsylvania and Delaware.
  6. When he was elected clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Franklin used his printing company to print various documents for the Pennsylvania Assembly.
  7. Franklin was made postmaster of Philadelphia, which helped him circulate his newspaper.
  8. Franklin started the University of Pennsylvania in 1751 because he wanted to develop an Academy where the curriculum would focus on English composition and grammar.
  9. It is said that Franklin first used as many as 25 electrical terms including battery, brushed, charged, conductor, and even electrician.
  10. Ben Franklin invented The library stepstool and the mechanical arm for reaching books on high shelves, and let’s not forget that Franklin also invented the “writing chair”

Zohar – Man of la Book

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