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Who Is That Man, Anyway?
Subject: Benjamin Franklin
Sculptor: Jacques Jouvenal
Location: Federal Triangle
( Pennsylvania Ave. & 12th )
Franklin (1706-1790) was the 15th child in his family and was apprenticed at a young age in his brother's printing house. He left Boston and moved to Philadelphia where he established his own printing business. In 1732, he began compiling and publishing Poor Richard's Almanack, a collection of information and sayings that became an enduring best-seller.
He served as joint deputy postmaster of the colonies from 1753-1774 and made the postal service more efficient and financially stable. (Hence, his statue's placement in front of the Old Post Office building.)
After retiring from his printing business, he became active in colonial politics and served as minister to France. He was one of the five men appointed to draft the Declaration of Independence and was the oldest man to sign that document.
He negotiated commercial and diplomatic treaties with France and helped to negotiate the peace treaty with Britain which ended the Revolutionary War.
Besides his careers as a printer, writer, and diplomat, he was a scientist and inventor. Among his inventions were the Franklin stove and bifocals. His experiments with lightning and electricity led to his invention of the lightning rod. He assisted in founding the academy which is today the University of Pennsylvania.
Photos and text copyright © 2001 Jean K. Rosales and Michael R. Jobe, All Rights Reserved
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