Epidemics in Colonial America

I recently read Epidemics in Colonial America by John Duffy. Among my disappointments with this old book are that he missed the best story of Benjamin Franklin around the issue of the circulation of air. This story at Medium.com captures it quite well.

Franklin and Slavery

To the co-namesake of my son, Benjamin Thomas…. Dear Tom, You asked me online quite a while ago about Franklin and slavery. It’s true, he owned slaves for a while, even though later he joined (and was president of) our first society to abolish African slavery in America. It’s a tough issue for Franklinians, like …

Continue reading ‘Franklin and Slavery’ »

Yale Closure Visit 2018

The Closure Committee of the Friends of Franklin gathered in New Haven in November 2018 to donate the remaining funds of the Friends to the Papers of Benjamin Franklin in honor of Claude-Anne Lopez. Claude-Anne worked at the Papers for many years and started the Friends of Franklin as her “gift to the Papers.” We …

Continue reading ‘Yale Closure Visit 2018’ »

BF Transatlantic Fellows Institute

Purdue University and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs have a program that looks wonderful. The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute (BFTF) is designed “to introduce Fellows to Benjamin Franklin’s ideas and legacy” and further the contributions of Dr. Franklin to foster relations between Americans and Europeans. What’s not …

Continue reading ‘BF Transatlantic Fellows Institute’ »

Franklin and Criminal Justice

This month’s Franklin Celebration in Philadelphia will be held Friday, January 18, 2019 (apologies for this late posting), and is entitled Liberty and Justice for All? Reforming America’s Criminal Justice System. The Inquirer published an excellent Opinion piece by Bill Keller, What would Benjamin Franklin think of today’s criminal justice? on January 4, 2019. UPenn’s …

Continue reading ‘Franklin and Criminal Justice’ »

B. Crump on B. Franklin

Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump delivered a speech called “the evolution of Benjamin Franklin and the hope of America” in Fayetteville, Arkansas at Fayetteville State University. His respectful notes are in this article from the Fayetteville Observer. Excerpts: Crump described Franklin, one of the country’s founders, as a Renaissance man at a time during which …

Continue reading ‘B. Crump on B. Franklin’ »

Three-Wheeled Clock

An auction notice caught my eye, about a clock designed by Dr Franklin. Papers online has this: James Ferguson: Account of Franklin’s Three-Wheel Clock Printed in James Ferguson, Select Mechanical Exercises: Shewing how to construct different Clocks, Orreries, and Sun-Dials, on Plain and Easy Principles,…(Second edition, London, 1778), pp. 1-4. A Clock shewing the Hours, …

Continue reading ‘Three-Wheeled Clock’ »