Bumping Into Benjamin Franklin on The West Wing

I am slowly binge-watching episodes of West Wing and notice in Season 6, Episode 20, “In God We Trust” that Franklin shows up in the decorations of people in both parties. It’s a nice compliment that the set designers imagine both these classy characters would want Franklin’s image nearby.

Seated Statuette on the set of West Wing

The Senate office of Republican Senator Vinick of California (played by Alan Alda) features a seated Franklin.

Oval office bust of Franklin

Meanwhile, over in the White House, in the Oval Office of Democratic President Bartlet, we have a bust of Dr. Franklin. The bust, I believe, is by Jean-Jacques Caffieri. The University of Pennsylvania cites the 1777 bust as “Franklin’s preferred likeness of himself.”

I found the seated statuette on eBay (it got away from me) and am not otherwise familiar with it. Does anyone know more about it?


This is the first Bumping into Benjamin Franklin entry. I will be sharing the frequent experience of connecting to Franklin while not directly looking for him. Thanks for reading!