"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you
are dead and rotten, either write things worth
reading, or do things worth the writing."
America has never forgotten Benjamin Franklin because he did both. He lived these words of wisdom by writing as much as he possibly could and by doing even more. He became famous for being a scientist, an inventor, a statesman, a printer, a philosopher, a musician, and an economist. Today, we honor Ben Franklin as one of our Founding Fathers and as one of America's greatest citizens. Although he was born in Boston, the city of Philadelphia is remembered as the home of Ben Franklin. In Philadelphia, you can find both Ben's gravesite and the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. You'll also find the Franklin Institute Science Museum.
This quick glimpse at the long life (1706-1790) of a complex man is meant to help you learn about Ben Franklin and also to let you see how Ben's ideas are still alive in our world today.
1706 Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 17 1718 Begins an apprenticeship in his brother James' printing shop in Boston 1723 Age 17, leaves his family, running away to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1724 Moves to London, continuing his training as a printer 1726 Returns to Philadelphia 1728 Opens his own Printing Office in Philadelphia 1729 Becomes sole owner and publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette 1730 Marries Deborah Read Rogers 1731 Birth of Ben's son William; Founds the first Circulating Library 1732 Birth of Ben's son Francis 1732- Annually, publishes Poor Richard: An Almanac 1758 1736 Death of Ben's young son Francis; Founds the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia 1737 Appointed Postmaster of Philadelphia 1742 Proposes the idea for the University Of Pennsylvania 1743 Birth of Ben's daughter Sarah, also known as "Sally" 1745 Death of Ben's father, Josiah Franklin 1747 First writings of electrical experimentation; organizes the first Militia 1748 Sells printing office, retiring from business 1751 His book Experiments and Observations on Electricity is published in London 1752 In June, performs famous kite experiment; Death of Ben's mother, Abiah Folger Franklin; Founds first American fire insurance company 1757- Travels in London as representative of 1762 the Pennsylvania Assembly 1762 Returns to Philadelphia 1764 Travels to London 1767 Travels to France 1769 Elected president of the American Philosophical Society 1774 The Hutchinson Letters Affairs damages Franklin's reputation; While in London, Ben receives word of his wife's death 1775 Returns to Philadelphia; Elected to Continental Congress; Submits Articles of Confederation of United Colonies 1776 Signs the Declaration Of Independence; Presides at Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention; Sails to France as American Commissioner 1778 Negotiates and signs Treaty of Alliance with France 1779 Appointed Minister to France 1782 Negotiates, with John Adams and John Jay, the Treaty of Peace with Great Britain 1783 While in Paris, watches the Montgolfier brothers become the first men to fly in a balloon. 1784 Negotiates treaties with Prussia and other European countries 1785 Returns to Philadelphia 1787 Elected president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery; Serves as delegate to the Constitutional Convention 1790 At age 84, Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia on April 17
The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
The Franklin Institute Science Museum