Benjamin Franklin and The Free Public Library

Presidential History Blog


Arguably the most famous portrait of Benjamin Franklin.  

Our Founding Grandfather

Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) was old enough to be father to George Washington and John Adams. He was also old enough (perhaps) to be grandfather to James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. He was the oldest signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

One of the earliest images of Benjamin Franklin – when he was around 40.

Benjamin Franklin today is considered a “polymath.” Or a Renaissance Man of the Age of Enlightenment. Call him what you will, he was a towering figure of imagination, determination, wisdom, wit, and dare we say, genius. Happily for posterity, all those qualities were dedicated to the betterment of mankind.

Born in Massachusetts, he left for the opportunities of Philadelphia when he was seventeen, and began a lifelong mutual love affair with the city.

Having apprenticed as a printer, he hoped…

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