My Life with Benjamin Franklin


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Claude-Anne Lopez

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This delightful book is a collection of incidental pieces that reveal little-known aspects of the life and personality of Benjamin Franklin. Written by the doyenne of Franklin scholars, it conveys Franklin’s humor, resiliency, courage, and intelligence, and his faith in a better future.

The selections are based on Claude-Anne Lopez’s research in the treasure trove of nearly thirty thousand documents on Franklin assembled at Yale University. They include a detailed refutation of an anti-Semitic forgery attributed to Franklin and currently circulating on the Internet; three mini-detective stories showing Franklin on the fringes of the espionage world; discussions of Franklin’s efforts to outfit Washington’s army and to choose the first dinner set for the Foreign Service; and the tale of the misadventures of a French utopian scheme he sponsored. The only piece of fiction in the book is an imaginary party during which, on the first anniversary of his death, six illustrious Frenchmen discuss Franklin’s influence on their country. Lopez has provided brief personal introductions to each of the pieces, giving her reasons for writing them and in the process threading the essays together.

Claude-Anne Lopez, for many years an editor of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, is also the author of Mon Cher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris, published by Yale University Press, as well as many other books and articles about Franklin.

"In this work, Claude-Anne Lopez who knows the intimate side of Benjamin Franklin better than any other living scholars sets forth the personality, ideas, and intimate life of Franklin with great wit, insight, and a deep understanding. Every page is a joy to read."—I. Bernard Cohen, Victor S. Thomas Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University

"Claude-Anne Lopez, a great Franklin scholar, has gathered together a group of her splendid essays on Benjamin Franklin. They reveal aspects of Franklin’s personality, his statesmanship, curiosity, love for his friends, and ability to deal with spies and hoaxters."—J.A. Leo Lemay, University of Delaware

"Franklin himself would have called these enchanting essays bagatelles. As a man who loved women of various ages and nationalites (in his diverse ways), he assuredly would have loved Mrs. Lopez as ardently as he loved Mme. Helvetius, the woman he wished to marry while serving as the first American minister to France. No one else alive understands the intrigues and nuances of Franklin's intimate and international life as well as the cosmopolitan Mrs. Lopez. She keeps the flame burning brightly in this elegantly revealing book."—Michael Kammen, Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture, Cornell University

"These essays on Benjamin Franklin are interesting, fresh, and sometimes very amusing. They are written with the light touch so characteristic of Claude-Anne Lopez’ work, and they will be of value to both lay and specialist readers."—Robert Middlekauff, Preston Hotchkis Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley

“Renowned Franklin scholar Lopez offers 18 original essays designed to illuminate little-known facets of the life and times of Benjamin Franklin. . . . These humorous, poignant, and dramatic episodes are related with the contagious warmth and affection of a faithful admirer. For Franklin devotees who never realized that their hero is, among other things, the only Founding Father to be a member of a sports hall of fame, this collection of articles represents a treasure trove of fascinating Franklin trivia. A robust, vastly informative tribute to an inimitable American icon.”—Booklist

“[Lopez] is widely recognized as the leading authority on Franklin’s French period and, more than that, as the writer with the clearest insights into Franklin’s personality, character, and family.”—Max Hall, Boston Globe

“This book is a delightful, informal, but also an authoritative potpourri of essay on various aspects of the professional and personal life of Benjamin Franklin. . . . Lopez offers insightful and witty discussions of matters weighty and not so weighty. . . . This book should prove valuable and interesting for both specialists and general readers. Highly recommended for all public and academic libraries.”—Library Journal

“Lopez is a careful and pleasing writer. . . . Her writing has the wonderful virtues of being readable, accessible and vitally interesting. . . . We look forward to at least one more volume filled with her unique and sensitive personality. We desperately need such gifted historians just as much as we need the Franklins they write about.”—Daniel J. Kornstein, New York Law Journal

“Lopez’s essays are elegant in construction, and her prose is polished. . . . Readers already knowledgeable about Franklin will appreciate the author’s subtle insights into this extraordinary figure, and all will certainly enjoy these graceful exercises in the essay form.”—Publishers Weekly

“Claude-Anne Lopez became totally absorbed in her subject and has now produced a third book on her dear friend. In the eighteen essays in this volume . . . the author shares some of her discoveries. A skilled sleuth, she has turned up some intriguing vignettes and remarkable characters. . . . Although this book covers Franklin’s years in France, there are references to earlier events that make the reader very grateful for the excellent chronology, 1806-1890. It, like the rest of the book, is good reading.”—Mary Seaton Dix, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

“[Franklin] will remain the subject of endless inquiry and speculation, to which this little book is an agreeable, modest and perceptive addition.”—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

ISBN: 9780300081923
Publication Date: March 11, 2000
288 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 27

Volume 27: July 1 through October 31, 1778

Benjamin Franklin; Edited by Claude A. Lopez

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The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 15

Volume 15: January 1, 1768, through December 31 1768

Benjamin Franklin; Edited by William B.

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The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 16

Volume 16: January 1, 1769, through December 31, 1769

Benjamin Franklin; Edited by William B.

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