Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World

benjamin franklin: in search of a better world

Online Site Support Notebook: Books for Adult Readers

The following book prepared for the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and edited by exhibition curator Page Talbott, Ph.D., gives an illustrated overview of the exhibition topics through a number of essays by Franklin scholars on various aspects of Franklin's life and work.

Talbott, Page, ed. Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005).

(Book lists provided by the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary with additions by the ALA.)


Brame, Brandon and Deborah Jean Warner. Franklin & His Friends: Portraying the Man of Science in Eighteenth-Century America. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999).

Brands, H.W. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (New York: Doubleday, 2000).

Cohen, I Bernard. Benjamin Franklin's Science. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990).

Dray, Philip. Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America (New York: Random House, 2005)

Finger, Stanley. Dr. Franklin's Medicine. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005)

Franklin, Benjamin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Various publishers and dates.

Franklin, Benjamin. Franklin: Writings, edited by J.A. Leo Lemay (New York: The Library of America, 1987).

Franklin, Benjamin. Silence Dogood, The Busy-Body, and Early Writings, edited by J.A. Leo Lemay (New York: Library of America, 2005).

Isaacson, Walter, ed. A Benjamin Franklin Reader (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003).

Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003).

Japiske, Carl, Editor. Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School (Columbus: Enthea Press, 1990).

Lemay, J.A. Leo. The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Volumes 1 and 2 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.)

Lemay, J.A. Leo, ed. Reappraising Benjamin Franklin: A Bicentennial Perspective (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1993).

Lopez, Claude-Anne. Mon Cher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966).

Lopez, Claude-Anne. My Life with Benjamin Franklin. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).

Lopez, Claude-Anne and Herbert, Eugenia W. The Private Franklin: The Man and His Family (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1975).

Middlekauff , Robert. Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).

Miller, William C (1974). Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia Printing 1728-1766: A Descriptive Bibliography. Philadelphia, PA. The American Philosophical Society.

Morgan, Edmund S. Benjamin Franklin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).

Schiff, Stacey. A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005).

Van Doren, Carl. Benjamin Franklin (New York: Viking Press, 1938).

Waldstreicher, David. Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution (Hill and Wang, 2004).

Wood, Gordon. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin (New York: Penguin Press, 2004).

Wright, Esmond. Franklin of Philadelphia (Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986).


Hall, Robert Lee. Hall wrote a number of what Booklist called "quality mysteries...with a nice 18th century flavor" in the 1980s and 1990s with Benjamin Franklin as the protagonist. Most are out of print, but available new and used in paperback on various web sites, such as Titles include: London Blood, Benjamin Franklin Takes the Case, Murder at Drury Lane, Benjamin Franklin and a Case of Artful Murder, and others.

Lehrer, Jim. The Franklin Affair: A Novel (New York: Random House, 2005).

Essays and Articles

See the Tercentenary web site at for an array of scholarly essays about Franklin, including:
"Benjamin Franklin and the American Enlightenment" by Richard Beerman, University of Pennsylvania; "Franklin and His Gods" by Kerry Walters, Gettysburg College; and "The Scientific Mind of Ben Franklin," by Jerry Weinberger.

"Ben Franklin: The Man of Sense," by Alan Houston, appeared in the NEH's Humanities magazine, January/February 2006,

Popular news magazine articles about Franklin have included: