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Title Page of the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1729

Benjamin Franklin - Title Page of The Pennsylvania Gazette
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_1107
Document Description
Title page of The Pennsylvania Gazette, September 25 - October 2, 1729.
Historical Challenges
Why do we call capital letters "upper case" and small letters "lower case"?
Interdisciplinary Connections
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: 0590485342
Harness, Cheryl. The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2005. ISBN: 0792278828
Heinrichs, Ann. The Printing Press. New York: F. Watts, 2005. ISBN: 053112343X, 0531167224

Historical Context
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1706.  When he was twelve years old, he became an apprentice to his older brother James, who ran a printing office in Boston.  In 1723, Ben Franklin left Boston and made his way to Philadelphia, where he worked as a printer's assistant.  

Franklin soon became a very successful printer.  At the young age of twenty-two, he opened his own printing shop in Philadelphia.  One of his most successful publications was "The Pennsylvania Gazette," which he purchased in 1729 and made into the most widely-read newspaper in the American colonies.  Three years after purchasing the newspaper, Franklin began to publish "Poor Richard's Almanack."  This immensely popular almanac was published annually for twenty five years and sold over 10,000 copies a year, more than any other book in the American colonies.

Franklin also worked as a printer for some of the colonial governments.  In 1730, he was named the official printer of Pennsylvania, a job that involved printing money, laws, and other official documents.  He later became the public printer for Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland, as well.    

In 1748, at the age of forty-two, Benjamin Franklin retired from printing.  He still had half of his life before him, and some of his greatest accomplishments were yet to come.

Essential Question
How do individuals influence the development of a society?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the content of this newspaper and evaluate the impact of Benjamin Franklin's life on the development of American society.