FRANKLIN, Benjamin, 1706-1790


Guide to Research Collections

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: ca. 1726-1907, 12 linear feet.
The papers include correspondence, journals, records, articles, and other material relating to Benjamin Franklin’s life and career. Microfilm is also available for some of the papers. A finding aid is available in the Library of Congress Manuscript Reading Room.


American Antiquarian Society
Manuscripts Department
Worcester, MA
Papers: 1748-1790, 43 items.
This collection contains copies of correspondence from Benjamin Franklin to his sister, Jane Franklin Mecom, as well as to others. There is also a copy of an essay by Benjamin Franklin relating to heat and cold in 1757, the settlement of accounts in 1766 between Benjamin Franklin and David Hall at the end of their printing partnership, and an inventory of Benjamin Franklin’s estate in 1790. There is also a copy of the workbook for the printing firm, Franklin & Hall which records jobs printed by Franklin & Hall between 1759 and 1766 in Philadelphia. The book aslo includes an alphabetical record of job printing done between 1782 and 1789.


American Philosophical Society Library
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: n.d., unknown quantity.
The collection includes letters and drafts of letters to and from Benjamin Franklin and members of his family. Also included in the collection and manuscript and printed enclosures, bills, receipts, account books, shop books, diaries, memoranda, reports, and many other material documenting all aspects of Benjamin Franklin’s life.


Amherst College Library
Special Collections
Amherst, MA
Papers: 1769, 2 items.
The first letter relates the acknowledgment of receipt of 150 pounds sterling and a list of books to be acquired for the Library Company of Philadelphia. The verso of this letter contains another letter from Benjamin Franklin transmitting a bill of lading and invoice for some books and promises to look for more.


Boston Athenaeum
Boston, MA
Papers: 1750, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to his mother, Mrs. Abiah Franklin, written on April 12, 1750. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin discusses family matters.


Bryn Mawr College
The Adelman Collection
Bryn Mawr, PA
Papers: 1745, 1 item.
A receipt from Benjamin Franklin to Nathaniel Moore written on June 13, 1745. The receipt is for a subscription to the Pennsylvania Gazette.


Copley Press
J.S. Copley Library
La Jolla, CA
Papers: 1745, 1 page
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to William Straham, written on April 14, 1745. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin orders a list of books.

Papers: 1776, 1 page.
A commission from Benjamin Franklin to Grabrail Blackney written on September 11, 1776. The commission, by order of the Convention for the State of Pennsylvania, appoints Grabrail Blackney to Second Lieutenant “in the Flying Camp for the Middle States of America, for the Protection of said States against all hostile Enterprizes, and for the Defence and establishing of American Liberty.” A color etching of Benjamin Franklin by J. Wilkes from May 24, 1800 is also included.

Papers: 1777, 1 page.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Monsieur le Comte de Tressan written on July 18, 1777. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes “As an American I cannot but feel myself extremely obliged by your generous offer of the Services of your Son to our Cause. I wish it was in my Power to assure him the Rank & Employment on his Arrival in America, that his Good Will and his Military Talents & Experience may justly entitle him to...” Enclosed with the letter is an engraving of Benjamin Franklin.

Papers: 1779, 1 page.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Count De Vergennes written on March 14, 1779. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin sends his regrets that “I shall not be able to present myself at Versailles” due to an attack of the gout.

Papers: 1780, 2-1/2 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to C.W.F. Dumas written on March 29, 1780. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin relates his unwitting role in the interception of a letter from C.W.F. Dumas to Carmichael in Madrid by Sir George Grand, who showed it to the ambassador in Holland.

Papers: 1779, 2 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to his sister written on October 25, 1779. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin refers to false reports about him written in the press, his enjoyment of the French ladies, his request that his sister send him some fine soap to give as gifts in France, and John Paul Jones’s victories at sea near England, .

Papers: 1781, 3 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Richard Bache written on September 13, 1781. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin comments to his son-in-law on several family matters, then discusses [Joseph] Galloway, once a friend with whom Benjamin Franklin had entrusted care of his correspondence.

Papers: 1786, 2 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Dr. Edward Bancroft written on November 26, 1786. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin refers to the writing of his autobiography and voices optimism for the future of the newly independent colonies.


Dartmouth College
Rauner Special Collections Library
Hanover, NH
Papers: n.d., 2 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to an unidentified person. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes of the Board’s actions and boundary problem involving Mr. Macleane and Sir William.

Papers: n.d., 1 page.
A note from Benjamin Franklin to Lord Bathurst. Along with the note, Benjamin Franklin sends gifts of nuts and apples as a tribute from America.

Papers: n.d., 1 item.
Includes minutes taken by Benjamin Franklin of the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Papers: n.d., 1 item.
Includes notes written by Benjamin Franklin for his autobiography.

Papers: n.d., 1 item.
A document written by Benjamin Franklin titled The ugly and the handsome leg.

Papers: 1757, 12 items.
Typescripts, page proofs, galleys, and correspondence representing the various stages in the production of the will of Benjamin Franklin. This version was published in 1949 in Philadelphia by the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania.

Papers: 1758, 2 pages.
A preliminary address titled Poor Richard’s almanac for the year 1758 A.D. by Benjamin Franklin to the Pennsylvania Almanac. In the address, Benjamin Franklin discusses the state of affairs in the country while at an auction. Benjamin Franklin also gives advice from Poor Richard.

Papers: 1763, 1 page.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Mary Stevenson written on June 10, 1763. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin discusses personal matters and makes inquiries for friends.

Papers: 1768, 1 page.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Benjamin Rush written on March 22, 1768. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin grants permission to dedicate his medical dissertation to Benjamin Rush.

Papers: 1772, 1 page.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Lord Dartmouth written on December 8, 1772. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin gives Lord Dartmouth more information about the sentiments of the American people, is forwarding a letter from Mr. Cushing, and Benjamin Franklin hopes to receive an answer.

Papers: 1775, 1 page.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to David Hartley written on May 6, 1775. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin comments on the unanimity of feeling in the colonies, and also introduces Captain Nathaniel Falconer.

Papers: 1775, 3 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to M. Mazzei written on December 27, 1775. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes that he has heard from Mr. Jefferson that he was in America. Benjamin Franklin also writes that he suspects Martinelli rather than Horace Walpole, mentions importing silk and other plants, and speaks of foreign relations.

Papers: ca. 1777, 1 page.
A poem written by Benjamin Franklin titled Belinda, see, from yonder flowers. The poem is written on the verso of a letter from John James Doerner, probably written in December 1777, requesting letters of introduction to dignitaries in America, preparatory to launching a mercantile house in Charlestown.

Papers: 1777, 1 page.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to whom it may concern. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin certifies that M. Rolandeau, of the 5th South Carolina Regiment, had come to France on business and now wishes to return to duty.

Papers: 1781, 1 page.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to an unidentified recipient written on April 19, 1781. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin supplies scientific drawings to illustrate his “Opuscule.”


Duke University
Medical Center Library
Durham, NC
Papers: 1766, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to John Swinton written on December 20, 1766. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin introduces Benjamin Rush and Jonathan Potts. Benjamin Franklin also makes reference to inquiries in Joh Swinton’s lands in New Jersey, made on his behalf by his son, William Franklin, then Governor of New Jersey.


Harvard University
Houghton Library
Cambridge, MA
Papers: 1783, 1 volume.
A volume of letters from Benjamin Franklin to Sir Joseph Banks giving accounts of various experiments in ballooning, as well as a copy of a French pamphlet on Montgolfier’s balloon autographed by Benjamin Franklin.


Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1747-1794, 3 linear feet.
This collection includes accounts of the firm, Franklin and Hall, miscellaneous accounts, a receipt book, a bill book, letters and papers, notes on the Franklin family and a genealogical chart, and a copy of Benjamin Franklin’s will. The official part of Benjamin Franklin’s career is represented by papers and correspondence relating to his activity as agent of the colony of Pennsylvania, correspondence with Congress while he was minister to France, and miscellaneous papers from his French ministry.


Huntington Library
Manuscripts Department
San Marino, CA
Papers: 1771-1789, 1 volume.
The original manuscript of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.


The Morgan Library
Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts
New York, NY
Papers: n.d., 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Mr. Wright written on July 24.

Papers: 1746, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Mr. Strahan written on September 25, 1746. The letter concerns the purchase of some books.

Papers: 1747-1764, 11 items.
Includes correspondence from Benjamin Franklin to Peter Collinson.

Papers: ca. 1748-1784, 13 items.
Includes correspondence from Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan.

Papers: 1767, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to his son, William Franklin, written on March 19, 1767.

Papers: 1767, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to an unidentified recipient. The letter concerns an article on the colonies’ treatment of British troops.

Papers: 1769, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin to M. Le Roy written on January 31, 1769. The letter concerns resentment in the colonies against the Stamp Act.

Papers: 1773, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to his cousin, Jonathan Williams, written on July 7, 1773.

Papers: 1775, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan written on July 5, 1775. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes that he is ending his friendship with William Strahan because of his attitude to the American colonies.

Papers: 1776, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to John Ross written on September 27, 1776. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin orders blankets and cloth.

Papers: 1777, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to the Marquis de Condorcet written on October 12, 1777.

Papers: 1778, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to W. & A. Lee written on February 27, 1778. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin informs them that another frigate is to be dispatched from Brest to carry the Commissioner’s dispatches.

Papers: 1778, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to the Marquis de Lotbiniere written on March 8, 1778. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin acknowledges receipt of his “Observations on the government of Canada.”

Papers: 1779, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Monsieur Dumas written on September 2, 1779. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin asks Monsieur Dumas to go to Amsterdam in order to aid the squadron commanded by John Paul Jones.

Papers: 1780, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan written on January 24, 1780.

Papers: 1781, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Jefferson. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin introduces Mr. Grieve.

Papers: 1785, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Elbert written on November 5, 1785. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin asks for payment of his salary as agent for the province of Georgia.

Papers: 1786, 1 item.
A report from Benjamin Franklin to Governor George Clinton of New York written on June 1, 1786.

Papers: 1786, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Matthew Carey written on August 10, 1786. The letter concerns notes for Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.

Papers: 1787, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Louis Guillaume Le Veillard written on April 15, 1787.


Natural History Museum Foundation of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, CA
Papers: 1774, 2 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to his nephew, Tuthill Hubbard, written on September 27, 1774. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin thanks his nephew for favors.


New England Historic Genealogical Society
R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department
Boston, MA
Papers: 1786, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to his sister, Mrs. Jane Mecom, written on May 2, 1786. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin states that he has sent two volumes of his papers that were printed in London, notes that Jane’s grandson is employed in writing for him, and that Temple is establishing a farm. Also included is a sheet with extracts copied from other letters written by Benjamin Franklin to his sister.


New York Academy of Medicine
New York, NY
Papers: 1752, 2 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to his brother, John Franklin, written on December 8, 1752. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes about a flexible silver catheter of his invention.


New-York Historical Society Library
Manuscripts Department
New York, NY
Papers: 1743-1786, 46 items.
Correspondence and various other papers of Benjamin Franklin, most of which are originally from the Cadwallader Colden Papers. Topics include the formation of the American Philosophical Society, scientific subjects such as American Philosophical Society, scientific subjects such as circulation of the blood in aminals, effect of rotation of the earth upon speed of sailing vessels, law of gravitation, and electrical experiments. The papers also include minutes of the Albany Congress in 1754, a draft of Benjamin Franklin’s plan for uniting the Colonies, a military appointment certificate, an order to pay, and other political and military matters.


The New York Public Library
Manuscripts Division
New York, NY
Papers: 1762-1785, 0.15 linear foot.
This volume contains two letters from Benjamin Franklin. The first letter is to Sir Alexander Dick written on January 21, 1762. The second letter is to Dr. Ingenhousz written on August 28, 1785. The collection also includes a printed title page, as well as a portrait of Benjamin Franklin.


Ohio Historical Society
Columbus, OH
Papers: ca. 1748-1775, 2 items.
Includes a receipt from February 9, 1743, acknowledging payment for Benjamin Franklin’s Gazette from the estate of a deceased. The other item is an order for payment from February 11, 1775, signed by Governor W[illiam] Franklin for Dr. Franklin’s use, of 25 pounds as one quarter’s salary as agent of the Colony of New Jersey.

Papers: 1782-1783, 8 items.
These letters are copies of the U.S. Commissioner to negotiate peace, from Passy, France.


Presbyterian Historical Society
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1784, 2 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin written on April 5, 1784 to Reverend Dr. [John] Witherspoon. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin urges against soliciting in Europe for funds for the College of New Jersey. Benjamin Franklin also refers to a similar, failed campaign by Dartmouth the previous year.


The Rosenbach Museum & Library
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1745, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan written on April 14, 1745. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin orders books for his shop.

Papers: 1745, 1 item.
A writing from Benjamin Franklin to an unidentified person written on June 25, 1745 titled Advice to a young man on the choice of a mistress. This manuscript is written in the form of a letter.

Papers: 1757, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to William Strahan written on January 1, 1757. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes concerning his nephew Benjamin Mecom’s business dealings with William Strahan. Benjamin Franklin also writes about Benjamin Mecom’s future plans, as well as about Benjamin Franklin’s printing press in Antigua, which Benjamin Mecom managed.

Papers: 1766, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to the Pennsylvania Committee of Correspondence written on April 12, 1766. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes about news of parliamentary actions concerning the colonies, including the recent repeal of the Stamp Act, changes in import duties and other trade regulations, and a bill for repeal of the act of 1763 which prohibited colonial paper money as legal tender.

Papers: 1770, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Mary (Polly) Stevenson written on January 20, 1770. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin expresses concern about Mrs. Stevenson’s health and writes about his own recovery from a recent illness. Benjamin Franklin also extends an invitation to dinner.

Papers: 1770, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Galloway written on March 21, 1770. Benjamin Franklin is acting as an agent in London for serveral colonies including Pennsylvania, writes to Joseph Galloway as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Assembly’s committee to correspond with the London agent. Benjamin Franklin analyzes the attitude of the British Parliament and Cabinet toward the American colonies’ non-importation agreement, and encourages the development of local manufactures.

Papers: 1772, 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Wharton written on February 6, 1772. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin tells Thomas Wharton that he would be happy to see W. Fisher and Mr. Lawrence.

Papers: 1779, 1 item.
An account of Benjamin Franklin’s childhood experience that taught him restraint and thrift, titled Story of a whistle, first recorded in a letter to his friend Madame Brillon on November 10, 1779.


Smithsonian Institution
Archives of American Art
Washington, DC
Microfilm: 1766-1789, 1 partial microfilm reel.
The reel contains letters to Benjamin Franklin from artists or about art related subjects, including busts, engravings, and portraits of Benjamin Franklin.


Stanford University Libraries
Department of Special Collections
Stanford, CA
Papers: 1759, 1 volume.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to John Lining written on April 14, 1759 titled Observations on electricity and other natural phenomena. The letter deals with phenomena concerning heat and cold.


U.S. Military Academy Library
Special Collections
West Point, NY
Papers: 1786, 1 page.
A money order made out to Colonel Tench Tilghman on May 11, 1786, and signed by Benjamin Franklin.


University of California
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, CA
Papers: 1771, 2 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Humphrey Marshall written on April 22, 1771. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes about the development of manufactures in the Colonies.

Papers: 1778, 4 pages.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Cooper written on February 27, 1778. In the letter, Benjamin Franklin writes about his success in negotiating treaties with France and relations with Great Britain and Spain.

Papers: 1787, 1 item.
A pay order from Benjamin Franklin for 22 pounds and five pence to be paid to Robert Young for five years interest on a certificate issued by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.


University of Chicago Library
Butler-Gunsaulus Collection
Chicago, IL
Papers: n.d., 1 item.
A letter from Benjamin Franklin to an unidentified woman informing her that he is returning a box of papers.


University of Chicago Library
Special Collections
Chicago, IL
Papers: In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1787, 1 item.
An order for payment from Benjamin Franklin to John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg from October 18, 1787. The order is payment for attendance in Council.


University of Pennsylvania
Special Collections, Van Pelt Library
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: ca. 1765-1917, 24 items.
Miscellaneous manuscripts of Benjamin Franklin, including correspondence, newspaper clippings, certificates, and notes.

Papers: 1783-1784, 1 volume.
An account book for expenses for Benjamin Franklin’s household at Passy, France from January 1783 through March 16, 1784. The book contains detailed accounts of purchases, mostly for food, and also contains receipts for funds from Benjamin Franklin.


University of Texas at Austin
Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Austin, TX
Papers: ca. 1779-1906, 6 items.
This description is for works and correspondence in several collections. Included is an undated holograph document fragment requesting a commission concerning bankruptcy proceedings; a printed and holograph promissory note in French, signed by Benjamin Franklin on October 4, 1779, as a representative of the United States; a holograph promissory note from December 21, 1779; and a typescript by John E. Scopes of his lecture “Benjamin Franklin.”


Yale University
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
New Haven, CT
Papers: n.d., 47.6 linear feet.
An extensive collection of books, pamphlets, prints, and manuscripts by and about Benjamin Franklin, his contemporaries, and his times. Orginally formed by William Smith Mason, 1888s, the collection came to Yale in 1935. Mason’s gift consisted of more than 11,000 books, 850 pamphlets, 400 broadsides and a large group of manuscripts. At present, all manuscripts as well as books, pamphlets, and broadsides published before 1765 are housed in the Beinecke Library. Serial titles as well as books, pamphlets, and broadsides printed after 1765 are housed in the Franklin Collection rooms in Sterling Memorial Library.