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Fran Gallagher, Levenson Public Relations, 214-880-0200 x652
Brooke Wetherill, Levenson Public Relations, 214-880-0200 x315

For Immediate Release

From the Lightning Rod to the World Wide Web

New and Dynamic Ben Franklin Website Showcases to Youth "The Human Multitude's" Powerful Impact on America, Enterprise and Electronics

PHILADELPHIA (July 1, 1999) - A new, interactive and youth-targeted website featuring the life and accomplishments of American founding father Ben Franklin has launched on the last Independence Day of the 20th Century, officials of the Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia announced today.

The announcement was made at an official launch ceremony at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, one-time location of The Library Company of Philadelphia, founded by Benjamin Franklin and the first subscription lending library.

The site, www.ushistory.org/franklin, is entitled "The Electric Franklin" and features "Ben Franklin Seen Through the Eyes of William Temple Franklin, His Grandson." It has been developed by Independence Hall Association, the leading electronic publisher of American Revolutionary and Constitutional historical material, and Claude-Anne Lopez of Yale University. Ms. Lopez is former editor of Yale's Franklin Papers and is the leading authority on the "private" Franklin.

"Ben Franklin is a powerful figure to whom we owe so much as a country, and as a highly communicative global society," said Mark Biddle, president, Independence Hall Association. "We are proud to honor this great electrical innovator with a vivid, personal presentation of his accomplishments and success on this last Independence Day before the new millennium begins."

This site has been a collaboration with scholars and historical organizations that has continued for two years.

"Since the Bicentennial, I have had an interest in producing a narrative from William Temple Franklin," said Ms. Lopez. "He has a powerful view of the Revolution with a grandfather who was a great Revolutionary, and a father who served the English. It has been a tremendous pleasure working with the IHA to produce this story written specifically for the Internet."

The site is published under the brand ushistory.org, a network that includes the Betsy Ross, Liberty Bell and Philadelphia Walking Tour, and enjoys more than 2.8 million visitors each month. These sites have been produced by the IHA through grants from the Barra Foundation, McLean Foundation, The Elizabeth Hooper Foundation and The Stewart Huston Charitable Trust.

Features of the educational site include:

"Our sites enjoy so much traffic because we present historical information that is accurate, yet friendly and easily navigable," said Jonathan Schmalzbach, executive director, Independence Hall Association, and ushistory.org's lead writer. "We write the sites very carefully so that people spend time with us, and continue to come back."

"The design feature of our sites is so critical, too," said Doug Heller, IHA webmaster. "We develop and build in features, such as puzzles, guest books, video, and other elements, to make the sites highly interactive and even more educational."

The Independence Hall Association is a non-profit electronic publisher of American historical material on the Internet. Commissioning sites with sources from the world's leading authorities of the American Revolution, the organization is dedicated to educating, inspiring and entertaining students with interactive pages on this most important era of United States history. The IHA was founded in 1942 to spearhead the development of Independence National Park in Philadelphia. ushistory.org is the publishing brand of Independence Hall Association.

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Copyright ©1999-2014 by the Independence Hall Association, electronically publishing as ushistory.org.
The IHA is a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1942.
On the Internet since July 4, 1995.

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