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Benjamin Franklin Statue on Library Company Building, Philadelphia

Benjamin Franklin - Statue of Benjamin Franklin on the Philadelphia Library Company Building
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_1110
 
Document Description
Statue of Benjamin Franklin on the Library Company Building at Locust and Juniper streets in Philadelphia, 1789. Photograph taken in 1912.
 
Questions
Why would the Library Company of Philadelphia have a statue of Benjamin Franklin on the front of the building?
What is Franklin wearing in this statue? 
Would he have worn that type of clothing during his lifetime?
Why would Franklin be sculpted wearing this type of clothing?
What good deed did the Leather Apron Club do?
Why do you think they called themselves the Leather Apron Club?
 
Historical Challenges
What other name was the Leather Apron Club called?
Look at the building in this photograph. Was the Benjamin Franklin statue originally located at this building? Is the statue located at this building today?
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: What artist created this sculpture?
English Language Arts: Compare and contrast the ways that people can get books today with Benjamin Franklin’s time.
 
Resources
Adler, David. B. Franklin: Printer. New York: Holiday House, 2001. ISBN: 0823416755
Fleming, Candace. Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life. New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2003. ISBN: 0689835493

Giblin, James. The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Scholastic, 2000. ISBN: 059048534
Harness, Cheryl. The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2005. ISBN: 0792278828
 
 

Historical Context
As a printer, Franklin knew books were very expensive, but he wanted all citizens to have the ability to read and appreciate books.  So Franklin and a group of other printers known as the Leather Apron Club pooled their money and purchased books that would be loaned out to people.  Their Library Company was the first lending library in America (1731).  In 1789, it served as the first Library of Congress, as well, when it offered its services to the delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.  For over one hundred years, the Library Company was the largest public library in the United States.  Today, it is a research library.
 
Essential Question
How do individuals influence the development of a society?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of Benjamin Franklin's life on the development of American society.