The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Inventor, author, printer, scientist, politician, diplomat—all these terms do not even begin to fully describe the amazing and multitalented, Benjamin Franklin who was of course also one of the Founding Fathers of America.

At the age of 75, in 1771 he began work on what he called his Memoirs. He was still working on it when he died in 1790 and it was published posthumously, entitled An Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The book had a complicated and controversial publication history. Strangely enough, the first volume only was first published in French, in Paris in 1791. Later in 1793 a couple of English translations appeared containing the second volume as well. In 1818 Franklin's grandson brought out a three volume edition, which left out the last unfinished fourth volume. William Temple Franklin also took great liberties with the text and made his own revisions. However, in 1868, publisher John Bigelow purchased the original and complete manuscript and brought out the most complete edition so far. The 20th century saw several scholars bring out more definitive and complete versions.

 

 

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