Ben There ... Done That!
"Who and what was Benjamin Franklin?" was the question we asked at the outset of this project.
His great biographer Carl Van Doren called Franklin "a harmonious human multitude." As Franklin was an "electrician" also, we kept looking for a common current that defined him. From the time he was a teenager thinking about ways of education to the time he was an 83-year-old man agitating for abolition, the mainspring of the "human multitude" may well have been public service. Much of what Franklin did was directed to improving his city and the lives of Philadelphians.
Fittingly, Franklin's legacy is ubiquitous in Philadelphia. From the societies and public institutions that he helped found, to the institutions and neighborhoods that bear his name, to the businesses that today use his likeness, to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia is still very much Franklin's city.
In the end we are left to marvel, enjoy, and be energized by Franklin's life and legacy. He like his most famous discovery was electric.