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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

In his own words, Franklin's life as a printer, inventor, scientist, and politician, with an introduction, a timeline and related links.


              Edited by Charles W. Eliot, L.L.D

Ben Franklin was many things, but perhaps more than anything else he was a politician, and there is no more reason to expect an unbiased autobiography from Franklin than from any other politician. In a 1961 introduction, L. Jesse Lemisch wrote, "Franklin of the Memoirs and of Poor Richard is by no means the whole man. This Franklin is a persona, a conscious literary creation presented for our emulation."

But if you can't find the unvarnished truth here, you can certainly find Franklin. It is Franklin's voice that makes the book worth reading, and his descriptions of the world he knew are not to be missed. The EServer edition is in eight parts...

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 
A Note on the text: The EServer edition of Franklin's autobiography originated with the Gutenberg Project text, from an edition originally edited by Charles W. Eliot, L.L.D., and published by P.F. Collier & Son Company, New York in 1909.

Charles W. Eliot was the president of Harvard University for forty years, and editor of the fifty volume Harvard Classics, a collection that educator William Allan Neilson called "a reading course unparalleled in comprehensiveness and authority." Franklin's autobiography was the first work in the first volume of this set; it served to illustrate Eliot's ideal of the self-educated citizen.

Changes for this edition include the use of HTML format, the addition of margins and italics, and the division of Franklin's text into eight parts. (The original work did not have chapters.)

This edition copyright 2001-2006 by Richard Lenat

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