head_ben head_celebration

« Return to Prior Years start page

2004 Celebration! - Franklin and Freedom of the Press

In 1728, Benjamin Franklin purchased The Pennsylvania Gazette and used his newspaper to espouse various causes. IN 1754, he published the first American political cartoon. His "Join or Die" rendering of a snake cut into segments urged the colonies to unite to negotiate with the Iroquois. This drawing, used in different forms, became one of the best known symbols of the American Revolution. This year's Celebration commemorated the 275th anniversary of Franklin's publishing career with The Pennsylvania Gazette and the 250th anniversary of the first American editorial cartoon, both significant elements in the development of the free press.

The Franklin Founder award was presented to Tony Auth, political cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, who has taken issues of the day and presented them to the public in ways that evoke humor, discussion and critical thought.

A special award was also presented to Ellen Cohn, Editor in Chief of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin, in celebration of the 50 years of publication of Franklin's writings and correspondence, which has resulted in 37 out of a projected 47 volumes. Ms. Cohn spoke at the morning seminar on "Freedom and the Press: New Insights from the Franklin Papers."