Related Library of Congress Exhibitions

Benjamin Franklin Selected Chronology

  • 1706 Born in Boston on January 17
  • 1718 Apprenticed as a printer to brother James
  • 1723 Leaves Boston for Philadelphia
  • 1729 Acquires Philadelphia newspaper, Pennsylvania Gazette; son William born
  • 1730 Marries Deborah Read
  • 1731 Founds Library Company of Philadelphia, first subscription library
  • 1732 Publishes first issue of Poor Richard's Almanack; son Francis is born
  • 1736 Organizes Philadelphia's first volunteer fire company; Francis dies
  • 1743 Daughter Sarah is born
  • 1744 Markets Franklin fireplace or "stove"
  • 1750 Helps establish the Academy of Philadelphia, later the University of Pennsylvania
  • 1751 Elected to Pennsylvania Assembly
  • 1752 Pennsylvania Hospital opens with Franklin's support
  • 1753 Appointed deputy British postmaster of North America
  • 1757 Goes to London as agent of the Pennsylvania Assembly
  • 1762 Returns to Philadelphia; son William is appointed Royal Governor of New Jersey
  • 1764 Goes to London with petition for Royal Government for Pennsylvania
  • 1766 Supports repeal of Stamp Act before the British House of Commons
  • 1774 Denounced by British government and dismissed as postmaster; Deborah Franklin dies
  • 1775 Returns to Philadelphia; elected delegate to Second Continental Congress; drafts Articles of Confederation for the United States
  • 1776 Helps write Declaration of Independence; sails to France as United States minister
  • 1778 Signs treaties of alliance and friendship with France
  • 1782 Helps negotiate Treaty of Paris with Great Britain to end American Revolution
  • 1784 Invents bifocals
  • 1785 Returns to Philadelphia; chosen president of Pennsylvania
  • 1787 Serves as delegate to Federal Constitutional Convention
  • 1790 Petitions Congress for end to slavery; dies on April 17

Read More About It

  • Brands, H.W. The First American: the Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Doubleday, 2000.
  • Dray, Philip. Stealing God's Thunder. Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America. New York: Random House, 2005.
  • Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Second Edition. Foreword by Edmund S. Morgan. New Haven: Yale Nota Bene/Yale University Press, 2003.
  • Humes, James C. The Wit & Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin. A Treasury of More Than 900 Quotations and Entertaining Anecdotes. New York: Harper Collins, 1995.
  • Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.
  • Lemay, J.A. Leo, ed. Franklin: Writings. New York: Library of America, 1987.
  • Middlekauff, Robert. Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
  • Morgan, Edmund. Benjamin Franklin. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.
  • Shiff, Stacy. A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America. New York: Henry Holt, 2005.
  • Talbott, Page, ed. Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.
  • Waldstreicher, David. Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and the American Revolution. New York: Hill and Wang, 2004.

For younger readers

  • Fradin, Dennis Brindell and John O'Brien (illustrator). Who Was Benjamin Franklin? New York: Penguin Young Readers Group, 2002
  • Fritz, Jean and Margot Tomes (illustrator). What's The Big Idea, Ben Franklin? New York: Penguin Young Readers Group, 1996.
  • Giblin, James Cross and Michael Dooling (illustrator). The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin. Scholastic, Inc., 2006.
  • Lawson Robert. Ben and Me: A New and Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin As Written by His Good Mouse Amos. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1939 [Reprinted, 1988].
  • Satterfield Kathryn Hoffman. Benjamin Franklin (Time for Kids Series). New York: Harpers Collins Children's Books, 2005.
  • Schanzer, Rosalyn. How Ben Franklin Stole Lightning. New York: Harper Collins Publisher, 2003.
  • Stevenson, Augusta and Ray Quigley (illustrator). Benjamin Franklin: Young Printer (Childhood of Famous Americans Series). Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1983.

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