Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World

benjamin franklin: in search of a better world

Online Site Support Notebook: Authorized Publicity Images, Captions and Credits

All libraries will receive a CD containing authorized publicity images, captions and credits, sponsor logos and sample PR materials.
These images will not be on the exhibition web site. Please use image credit lines at all times; descriptive captions are encouraged if space is available. Libraries which use other images for exhibit publicity are responsible for securing permissions to use them.

NOTE: is a National Park Service web site which contains images from national parks available free for educational use, including images from the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.

This U.S. Mint web site contains image files for the Benjamin Franklin silver dollar:


Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, 1738-1746. Robert Feke. Harvard University Portrait Collection, Cambridge, Mass., bequest of Dr. John Collins Warren, 1856. Photo by Katya Kallsen

This portrait is widely accepted as the earliest known likeness of Benjamin Franklin. While it was being done, Franklin was probably approaching retirement from his printing business, by which time he had already acquired an ample fortune.


Poor Richard, 1733. Philadelphia: Printed and sold by B. Franklin, [1732]. Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia. Photo by Peter Harholdt

Late in 1732, Benjamin Franklin published the first
Poor Richard's Almanack. "I endeavored to make it both entertaining and useful," Franklin said.
Poor Richard's Almanack was one of the most widely circulated English language periodicals of the 18th century.


The Pennsylvania Gazette, no. 422, January 6-13, 1736/37.
Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1736/37. Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Photo by Peter Harholdt

The Pennsylvania Gazette was owned, edited, and printed by Franklin from 1729 to 1748. It was known for its humor, originality and strong influence on public opinion.


A View of the State House in Philadelphia
(now Independence Hall). Unknown Artist. London:
The Gentleman's Magazine, September 1752. Courtesy of E. Philip Krider

The lightning rod on the tower of the State House was probably the first "Franklin" rod ever attached to a building for lightning protection. It protected the structure for 208 years with only one recorded instance of lightning damage.


Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky
, ca. 1816. Benjamin West. Philadelphia Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wharton Sinkler, 1958. Photo by Graydon Wood

In his day England's most celebrated painter, Benjamin West first met Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia, years before he painted this dramatic image. This portrait was a study for a larger painting -- never completed -- intended for the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.


"Join, or Die" from
The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1754. Designed by Benjamin Franklin.

Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1754. Library Company of Philadelphia

In May 1754, Benjamin Franklin published this cartoon of a rattlesnake cut into pieces to illustrate an editorial urging the colonies to join together against the French. The image reappeared in the period leading up to the Revolutionary War as a symbol of the strength of colonial unity against Great Britain.


Declaration of Independence,
June 1776. Philadelphia: John Dunlap, 1776. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to adopt the Declaration of Independence based on Thomas Jefferson's draft. John Dunlap, the official printer for the Congress, worked through the night and into the next morning to print the text of the Declaration for public display.


Benjamin Franklin, 1777. Engraving by Augustin de Saint-Aubin after Charles-Nicholas Cochin. Collection of Stuart E. Karu. Photo by Peter Harholdt

This was one of the first images of Benjamin Franklin available in France, made within a few weeks of his arrival there in Fall 1776 to negotiate a military alliance with the French. Franklin wrote that he was "very plainly dress'd, wearing my thin grey strait Hair, that peeps out under my only Coiffure, a fine Fur Cap ... Think how this must appear among the Powder'd Heads of Paris."


Franklin Urging the Claims of the American Colonies before Louis XVI.
George Peter Alexander Healy, ca. 1847. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Photo by Frank Margeson

Benjamin Franklin appealed to the French king for loans and gifts to buy arms, clothing, shoes and other supplies needed by the American army. These loans and French military and naval help played a vital role in the final outcome of the Revolutionary War.


Constitution of the United States.
Philadelphia: Dunlap and Claypoole, 1787. Owned by Benjamin Franklin. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. Photo by Frank Margeson

This is the first printing of the Constitution as adopted by the Constitutional Convention in 1787, with Benjamin Franklin's handwritten notes in the margins.


The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D.
(first English version of the Autobiography). London: Printed for J. Parsons, 1793. Collection of Stuart E. Karu. Photo by Peter Harholdt

Benjamin Franklin's autobiography is the most widely published memoir in history and has never gone out of print. It is generally acknowledged as one of the great autobiographies of the world. This is the title page of the first English edition.