Poor Richard's Almanack

U.S.C. Publishing Company
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U.S.C. Publishing Company
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Dec 31, 1914
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“If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix’d in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire.”             Born in Boston on January 17, 1706, Benjamin Franklin was the 15th child and the youngest son of a candle and soap maker. Despite his success at school, his formal education was stopped when he was 10 so that he could work full-time in his cash-strapped father’s shop. At 12, he was made apprentice at his brother, James’ print shop, where he learned much about the publishing business which influenced him later in life.He went on to become an ambassador, an athlete, a scientist, a statesman, a writer, a philosopher, a musician, a businessman and a celebrated free thinker. Often referred to as ‘America’s Renaissance Man’ he was emblematic of the fledgling American nation. Besides organizing the first library in America, he adopted the pseudonym of ‘Poor Richard’ and wrote on ethical philosophy in the annual publication, ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’. Scientists throughout the world were impressed with his experiments in electricity. In fact, the lightning rod was his invention.He was the only leading American to sign on all the four major documents that laid the foundation of the Republic: the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaties of Alliance (1778), the Peace Treaty between Great Britain and the United States (1783), and the Constitution of the United States (1787).
He went into a coma after an abscess in his lung burst, and passed away on April 17, 1780, at the age of 84.            
 Talking Points
- Hailed as one of the bestselling autobiographies ever written- A remarkable story of Benjamin Franklin, one of the founders of United States of America- Introduction by American Literature specialist, Dr Lewis Leary- Celebrated Scottish philosopher, David Hume, regarded Benjamin the world’s first great philosopher- Upholds values and qualities that the author followed in his life- A collector’s delight                            Worldwide readership/marketArdent readers of autobiographies and biographies, historians, philosophers, politicians, sociologists, libraries, professors, educational institutions, students, aspiring writers, general trade
Printer and publisher, author and educator, scientist and inventor, statesman and philanthropist, Benjamin Franklin was the very embodiment of the American type of self-made man. In 1771, at the age of 65, he sat down to write his autobiography, "having emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born and bred to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world, and having gone so far through life with a considerable share of felicity." The result is a classic of American literature.

On the eve of the tercentenary of Franklin's birth, the university he founded has selected the Autobiography for the Penn Reading Project. Each year, for the past fifteen years, the University of Pennsylvania has chosen a single work that the entire incoming class, and a large segment of the faculty and staff, read and discuss together. For this occasion the University of Pennsylvania Press will publish a special edition of Franklin's Autobiography, including a new preface by University president Amy Gutmann and an introduction by distinguished scholar Peter Conn. The volume will also include four short essays by noted Penn professors as well as a chronology of Franklin's life and the text of Franklin's Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, a document resulting in the establishment of an institution of higher education that ultimately became the University of Pennsylvania.

No area of human endeavor escaped Franklin's keen attentions. His ideas and values, as Amy Gutmann notes in her remarks, have shaped the modern University of Pennsylvania profoundly, "more profoundly than have the founders of any other major university of college in the United States." Franklin believed that he had been born too soon. Readers will recognize that his spirit lives on at Penn today.

Essay contributors: Richard R. Beeman, Paul Guyer, Michael Weisberg, and Michael Zuckerman.

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