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Collection Benjamin Franklin Papers


A chronology of key events in the life of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), statesman, publisher, scientist, and diplomat.

  • 1706, Jan. 17

    Born, Boston, Massachusetts

  • 1718-1723

    Apprenticed as a printer to his brother James Franklin

  • 1723

    Moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • 1724-1726

    Worked in London, England, as a journeyman printer

  • 1727

    Founded the Junto, a debating club, in Philadelphia

  • 1729

    Purchased the Pennsylvania Gazette

  • 1730, Sept. 1

    Began his common-law marriage with Deborah Read Rogers (c. 1708-1774)

  • 1731

    Established the Library Company of Philadelphia

    Son William Franklin was probably born this year

  • 1732-1758

    Published Poor Richard's Almanack

  • 1732, Oct.

    Son Francis Folger Franklin born (d. 1736)

  • 1736-1751

    Clerk, Pennsylvania Assembly

  • 1737

    Appointed postmaster of Philadelphia

  • 1740

    Invented the Franklin stove

  • 1743

    Proposed formation of the American Philosophical Society

  • 1743, Sept.

    Daughter Sarah "Sally" Franklin Bache was born (d. 1808)

  • 1748

    Retired from the printing business

  • 1751

    Helped found the Academy for Education of Youth (now the University of Pennsylvania) and the Philadelphia City Hospital

    Published Experiments and Observations on Electricity. Elected to Pennsylvania Assembly; served until 1764

  • 1753

    Appointed joint deputy postmaster general of North America

  • 1754

    Represented Pennsylvania at the Albany Congress

  • 1757-1762

    In London, England, as agent of the Pennsylvania Assembly

  • 1760

    William Temple Franklin, William Franklin's son (Benjamin's grandson), was probably born this year

  • 1764-1775

    In London, England, as agent for Pennsylvania and other colonies

  • 1771

    Began autobiography

  • 1774, Dec. 19

    Wife Deborah Franklin died

  • 1775

    Elected a delegate to the Second Continental Congress

  • 1776, Mar.-May

    Mission to Canada

  • 1776, June

    Served on Continental Congress committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence

  • 1776, Oct.

    Went to France as an American commissioner; arrived in December

  • 1778, Feb. 6

    Signed treaties with France

  • 1778, Sept.

    Appointed United States minister plenipotentiary in France

  • 1781, Mar.

    Asked Congress to allow him to come home

  • 1781, June

    Appointed by Congress, with John Jay, Henry Laurens, and John Adams, to the committee to negotiate peace with Great Britain

  • 1783, Sept. 3

    Signed Treaty of Paris with Great Britain ending the revolutionary war and recognizing American independence

  • 1785, July

    Left France

  • 1785, Sept.

    Arrived in Philadelphia

  • 1785, Oct.

    Elected president, Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania; served until 1788.

  • 1787, May-Sept.

    Represented Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention

  • 1790, Feb.

    Signed antislavery petition to Congress as president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery

  • 1790, Apr. 17

    Died in Philadelphia and interred in the city's Christ Church Burial Ground

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