I admit it—I love Benjamin Franklin. A printer, a founding father of democracies and libraries, a good-natured autodidact who maintained his curiosity to a wise old age, and a fellow charming enough to sway the ladies of France. Really, what’s not to like? And the fact that he labored as one of the country's most renowned early printers of the hand press period more than qualifies him for mention here.
Today is the ingenious Dr. Franklin’s birthday, and in his honor I’d like to suggest that you come to the Library and browse our digital collection of his works. At any branch or research library in the NYPL system, you can browse the Early American Imprints (Series I) database for works written or printed by Franklin. And this database allows you to read, print, and save for yourself the full text images of any books, pamphlets, broadsides and periodicals that strike your fancy.
Another option for Franklinophiles out there is a visit the Grolier Club, which currently has on offer an exhibition called Benjamin Franklin, Writer and Printer. The curators, James N. Green and Peter Stallybrass, are scheduled to give a lecture on their exhibition at 2:00pm on January 23rd. And NYPL holds a copy of the curators’ accompanying book, so you can come long after the lecture and exhibition have passed and still take it all in. There’s plenty of Franklin to go around, as you’ll see, and I’m willing to share. Happy Birthday!