Franklin’s Judaism Teachings

Shai Afsai, a researcher and writer from Providence, Rhode Island, presented a series of three lectures on January 16-17, 2015, including discussing Benjamin Franklin’s connection with the Jews of his day and his subsequent influence on Judaism’s mussar movement.

The lecture series was described, with photographs, in this report. We note with pleasure that the Franklin lecture was nicely timed to be given on Dr. Franklin’s 309th Birthday.

We are also happy to receive and offer an article by Mr. Afsai on that topic: Benjamin Franklin’s Way to Virtue, the American Enlightenment, and Mussar.

Thank you, Mr. Afsai!

The references in this article lead to further interesting reading: this response to this book review clarifies Franklin’s origination of this method, and describes the progress of Franklin’s technique of behavior modification.

Birthday Puzzle in the Sand

Can you find the four differences between these two happy-birthday messages? Click on each picture to bring up an expandable version.

Happy Birthday version 1 of 2.

Happy Birthday version 1 of 2.

Here is version #2:

Version 2 of 2

Version 2 of 2

Many thanks, and Happy Franklin’s Birthday to Diane Guntzel of Clinton, Iowa!

Celebration! Benjamin Franklin, Founder

The January 2014 celebration is approaching soon, full information is at the Celebration website.

The 2015 Philadelphia Celebration includes a free morning seminar on the topic of Building the City from 9-10:30 at Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street featuring:

•Dr. Sandra L. Tatman, Executive Director of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

•Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of the Central Philadelphia Development Corp.

•Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA, Executive Director of the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, Drexel University

At 11am, a procession up 5th Street, leaving from The American Philosophical Society Library (105 S. Fifth Street) to Dr. Franklin’s grave will be followed by a luncheon from 11:45-2 honoring Mr. Olin, at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District, 400 Arch Street.

Ward Larkin at Cape May Courthouse (NJ)

Ward Larkin

COURT HOUSE – The Cape May County Historical and Genealogical Society will be throwing open its doors to welcome Benjamin Franklin as part of the Cape May Mitten Festival.

“Cape Bank has generously agreed to sponsor the appearance of J. Ward Larkin, a well-known interpreter of Benjamin Franklin,” said Sheila McCloy-Nuss, museum curator. Larkin is lauded as being the eminent portrayer of Franklin in Philadelphia’s Old City historic district.

In pre-Revolutionary Cape May County the mitten trade tied with white cedar lumber as the county’s third most profitable export, said McCloy-Nuss.

“It is believed that the catalyst for the Cape May mitten trade can be traced to Benjamin Franklin,” she said. According to the curator, Franklin received a favor from a local scallop boat skipper. In order to repay the favor, the statesman’s wife, Deborah, sent the skipper’s daughter a “new fashioned cap.” The daughter wore the cap to services at Cold Spring Presbyterian Church, where other girls admired it and started knitting mittens to earn enough money to purchase similar caps in Philadelphia.

The Cape May County Historical and Genealogical Society will be celebrating those women and their entrepreneurial spirit who started the mitten trade with the first annual Cape May Mitten Festival. The event will be held Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the grounds of The Museum of Cape May County, 504 Route 9 North. Admission to the event is free.

Vendors may apply to be part of the Cape May Mitten Festival by contacting McCloy-Nuss at 609-465-3535. Upon acceptance, a $35 festival fee will be required to reserve a 10-foot by 10-foot space. Pop-up tents are permitted and encouraged, said McCloy-Nuss. Food vendors are also welcome to apply for spaces.

Donations of hand-crafted mittens for a silent auction are needed. All mitten donations should include a brief biography of the craftsperson as well as a description of the materials used for presentation to the winning bidders.

“We encourage everyone to come learn about Cape May County history and the rich heritage of women and girls in Cape May County and to meet Ben Franklin,” said McCloy-Nuss.

Franklin Hall, Asheville NC

This article contains this reference:

Built in 1921, the house was named Franklin Hall by its third resident, Dr. C. Ray Franklin, a direct descendent of founding father Benjamin Franklin, according to current owner Jim Taylor, a retired business executive. Franklin and his wife, Ruth, bought the brick, slate-roofed manse in 1977 and sold it to Norma Jean and Robert D. Schaub in 1987.

The Franklin Papers early on concluded that there were no descendants of Benjamin Franklin with the last name Franklin, but several people have embraced that relationship over time. In this case, it’s a second-hand claim, which may be more lasting.

The photo caption seems more factual: the home was built in 1921 and named New Gunston Hall in honor of George Mason’s home.

It is on Hendersonville Road.

Breaking Bad star

From Yahoo TV:

Why was Breaking Bad star Dean Norris MIA during the show’s triumph at the Emmys on Monday night? He decided to go fly a kite instead.

Well, that’s one of the things he could have been doing anyway, as Norris missed the Emmys festivities because he was off in Romania filming his role as Benjamin Franklin in History Channel’s upcoming miniseries Sons of Liberty.

Postal Markers

The East End Beacon has a nice article about postal route markers in this area of Long Island in New York.

Following Ben Franklin’s Path Down the North Fork

August 24, 2014

If you are steeped in Southold lore, you know about the day in 1755 when Benjamin Franklin, then the postmaster for the British colonies, took a trip down the North Fork to measure the distance from the Suffolk County courthouse in Riverhead to the Oysterponds ferry in Orient, with a crew who placed granite mile markers along the path.

The mile markers were used to gauge postal rates, which in those days were determined based on the distance letters traveled.

Many of these headstone-like slabs are still here, in Southold Town (historians have surmised that the mile markers in Riverhead Town were wood, and haven’t survived the more than 250 years since Franklin’s crew had them installed).

Full story and images here.

See also the
Southold Historical Society
, 54325 Rte 25, Southold, NY 11971.