The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Benjamin Franklin and Women

Benjamin Franklin and Women

Edited by Larry E. Tise
  • Copyright: 2000
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Illustrations: 12 illustrations
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-02034-1
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-02035-8

Hardcover Edition: $79.95Add to Cart

Paperback Edition: $29.95Add to Cart

“It is a tribute to the skills of editor Larry Tise, and to several major scholars of early American women, that the true story of Franklin and women is finally revealed in a series of essays every bit as fascinating as the tales about Franklin the sexual athlete that have circulated for two centuries. The true Franklin was not a saint, but anyone seeking to perpetuate the extravagant mythology of his prowess must now do so at the expense of the facts.”
“Larry Tise performs an excellent service in bringing these interpretations together in one enjoyable volume.”
“That Franklin’s personality invites both impatience and admiration from us today probably speaks in part to persistent tensions over the play of gender in society from his day to our own. These essays deftly display a variety of approaches to our understanding of early America. . . . In the end, we are given a poignant reminder of the ways in which women took their intellectual fate into their own hands, often despite the men in their lives.”
“Rooted in solid research and free from sensationalistic accusations about his private life, Benjamin Franklin and Women provides a balanced introduction to Franklin’s relationships and attitudes toward women. As the first look at Franklin since the maturation of women’s studies, it provides a wealth of information on both Franklin and eighteenth century women’s history, while at the same time suggesting many avenues for further research.”
“Here we have a finely crafted book that explores both Franklin’s relationship with the women in his life and the more important questions surrounding the status of women in the 18th century.”

Benjamin Franklin was undoubtedly one of the most important arbiters of American culture and society at the time of the Revolution, when the young nation was establishing its constitutions, laws, and civil institutions. Franklin also played a major role in defining a new and important role for women in this society. This volume brings together a distinguished group of scholars who are either authorities on Franklin or on the role of women in the eighteenth century to adjudge the record and intentions of Franklin in this most vulnerable facet of his character, life, and place in history.

The essays in this volume grew out of a symposium organized by Tise at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. They fall into two groups, those that examine Benjamin Franklin’s relationship with women (sisters, relatives, love interests, and friends) and those that explore more generally the role of women in Franklin’s era. Topics addressed include Franklin’s theories on relations between men and women, the nature of marriage, the dangers as well as the delights of sex, and the importance of education for men and women.

Larry E. Tise was for seven years Executive Director of the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial in Philadelphia and author most recently of The American Counterrevolution: A Retreat from Liberty (1999). He is a private practice historian in Philadelphia.

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