Penn in the Age of Franklin

To celebrate the Tercentenary of Benjamin Franklin's birth in 2006, the Penn Library and the University Archives present Penn in the Age of Franklin-a virtual space in which patrons can sample the University's earliest past as it was originally produced during Benjamin Franklin's lifetime.

Penn in the Age of Franklin is a work in progress. New content is being added regularly. Please check frequently for new documents, books, images, and essays.

Benjamin Franklin was instrumental in organizing and shaping Penn from its inception. He was President of the College, Academy and Charitable School of Philadelphia from 1749 to 1755, and served continuously as trustee until his death in 1790. Franklin was responsible for the hiring of William Smith as the first provost in 1754. The partnership of Franklin and Penn is played out against the background of the creation of both a new republic and of higher education in America.

Penn in the Age of Franklin provides access to original documents and manuscripts, printed books and artifacts from both the Penn Library and the University Archives . Whether it be a letter from Franklin, a treatise by Provost Smith, an issue of Poor Richard., or minutes of the earliest meetings of the Trustees, [this Web site provides the opportunity] to experience the past directly.

To provide context and enrichment for these original documents, Penn in the Age of Franklin also includes:

Mark Lloyd
University of Pennsylvania Archives

Michael Ryan
Annenberg Rare Book & Manuscript Library,
University of Pennsylvania