Ben Franklin

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Dr. Benjamin Franklin AKA The Uncle of our Country AKA "The First American"

America 1706 - 1790

Comments: Politician, Freemason, Scientist, Publisher, Satirist, who can choose? Freemason and Grand Master of PA, 1734; Grand Master of the Lodge Les Neuf Sœurs in France from 1779 until 1781.Medicine; physics; chemistry; optics; United States Ambassador to France who obtained aid for the Revolution; initiated Voltaire at the Lodge of the 7 Sisters in Paris; Printer; British postmaster for the colonies; Gov of Pennsylvania; Electricity and the Kite; Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1753 and in 1756; Chess master; honorary degrees from Oxford University, University of St Andrews, Harvard University & Yale University; organized the Pennsylvania Militia ; his Masonic Library was given to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and his scientific books to Yale University, where they remain available to credentialed scholars (in a room dominated by a bust of the Doctor); His Scientific papers are available to scholars at Yale (seen the room and library, AWESOME!!!!) , and his Masonic library in Philadelphia, PA; magic number square puzzles fascinated him;

Teachers: Christiaan Huygens; Cotton Mather; George Whitefield ; unknown authors of the Sumerian Farmer's Almanac AKA the "Nippur tablet" , 1700 to 1500 BCE, discovered in 1949 in Iraq; Virgil, author of Georgics  ; Hesiod, author of Works and Days; MWGM Phip, Duke of Wharton, originator of the Hell Fire Club; Col. William Bradford, aka the "patriot printer of 1776" ; Melchisédech Thévenot aka Melchisédec Thévenot (@ 1620 – 1692), author of The Art of Swimming ; Euclid;Blaise Pascal;

Students: Louis Timothee, 1st American Librarian; Joseph Priestley; E. Raymond Capt; Professor H.W. Brands; Robert Lee Hall, author of Ben Franklin, Detective series; Edmund S. Morgan, historian; David Young, author of the Maine Farmer's Almanac, 1818, not to be confused with the New Hampshire-based Old Farmer's Almanac, 1792, published by Robert B. Thomas; Jacob Mann, publisher ; John Henry Jenks, editor; Robb Sagendorph, 1939 Almanac publisher; Samuel Hart Wright, Astronomer; Berlin Hart Wright, 1875, his son; Ray Geiger; WB Joseph Warren, hero of CT; Roger Sherman, who signed all 4 historic US founding documents, Articles of Association (1774), Declaration of Independence (1776), Articles of Confederation (1777) and the Constitution (1787); John Jeremiah Sullivan; Christopher Hitchen; Leon Theremin, whose instrument is the descendant of the Glass Harmonica; Captain Beefheart; Robert Moog; Edmund Morgan, biographer; David McRaney;

Friends: William Goddard ; Joseph Galloway ; Leonhard Euler; John Hadley; David Hall; Dr. Thomas Bond; Richard Price; Sir John Pringle; Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau; Antoine Lavoisier; inventor and physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin; astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly; George Washington ; John Adams , sort of (it's complicated); Gaillard Hunt; William Barton ; Professor Charles Eliot Norton ; Jane Franklin Mecom, his favorite sister; Dr. Thomas Bond, Philadelphia surgeon; Casimir Pulaski; Ezra Stiles of Yale; Sir Francis Dashwood, 15th Baron le Despencer, of the Hellfire Club aka the Lodge at High Wycombe aka the Knights of Saint Francis of Medmenham Abbey ; perhaps a later version of the Comte de Saint-Germain; John Wilkes, supporter of Colonial Independence, and who brought an ape dressed as the Devil to the Hellfire Club meetings; James Anderson of the Grand Lodge of England; Constantin François Chassebœuf de Volney aka Constantin François de Chassebœuf, Comte de Volney, author of Voyage en Egypte et en Syrie, 1787; Baron Karl Friedrich of Baden-Durlach; Peter Perez Burdett, model for Joseph Wright of Derby's painting The Alchymist; Grand Master Washington Shirley, the Earl Ferrers, 1762-64;

Enemies: Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson and lieutenant governor Andrew Oliver; Franz Mesmer; agreed with Cotton Mather on smallpox inoculation; Rev. Henning Jacobson, of the Anti-Vaccination Society, 1879;

Organizations: The Leather Aprons; The Junto; Freemasonry; United States Continental Congress; established the University of Pennsylvania; Franklin & Marshall College; The Royal Society of London; founded the American Philosophical Society ; Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce; Club of Honest Whigs; Lunar Society; Pennsylvania Abolition Society; founded Pennsylvania Hospital; the Hellfire Club aka the Lodge at High Wycombe aka the Knights of Saint Francis of Medmenham Abbey, 1757-1762;

Author: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; Poor Richard's Almanack; The Pennsylvania Gazette; A Scheme for a new alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling; Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One; An Edict by the King of Prussia; published an Abridgment of the Book of Common Prayer; A Plan for Improving the Condition of the Free Blacks (1789); Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim on the Slave Trade (1790); “Appeal for the Hospital”, 1751; “Advice on the Choice of a Mistress” article, 1745; Mount Holly Witches' Trial;

Inventor: lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, the glass harmonica, public libraries (the Library Company of Philadelphia), public street lights, Post Office, public fire departments (Union Fire Company,); Hospitals ( Pennsylvania Hospital); Pro & Con list decision - making; ELECTRICITY !!!!!; pro inoculation; Anti-slavery later in life, after he observed African children learning to read clandestinely; matching-funds plan to raise $ for charity; the Philadelphia Contributorship, first successful insurance company in America, founded in 1750 for and by Philadelphia’s community of firefighters;

Quotes: "If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest"; "Masonic labor is purely a labor of love. He who seeks to draw Masonic wages in gold and silver will be disappointed. The wages of a Mason are earned and paid in their dealings with one another; sympathy that begets sympathy, kindness begets kindness, helpfulness begets helpfulness, and these are the wages of a Mason" ;

Resources:;; The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin lecture series, by Professor H.W. Brands;; and listen to a great selection of his writings here - ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;;