Benjamin Franklin and Women

Edited by Larry E. Tise

Hardback - £65.95

Publication date:

01 August 2000

Length of book:

216 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271020341

Benjamin Franklin was undoubtedly one of the most important arbiters of American culture and society at the time of the Revolution, when the young nation was establishing its constitutions, laws, and civil institutions. Franklin also played a major role in defining a new and important role for women in this society. This volume brings together a distinguished group of scholars who are either authorities on Franklin or on the role of women in the eighteenth century to adjudge the record and intentions of Franklin in this most vulnerable facet of his character, life, and place in history.

The essays in this volume grew out of a symposium organized by Tise at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. They fall into two groups, those that examine Benjamin Franklin’s relationship with women (sisters, relatives, love interests, and friends) and those that explore more generally the role of women in Franklin’s era. Topics addressed include Franklin’s theories on relations between men and women, the nature of marriage, the dangers as well as the delights of sex, and the importance of education for men and women.

“It is a tribute to the skills of editor Larry Tise, and to several major scholars of early American women, that the true story of Franklin and women is finally revealed in a series of essays every bit as fascinating as the tales about Franklin the sexual athlete that have circulated for two centuries. The true Franklin was not a saint, but anyone seeking to perpetuate the extravagant mythology of his prowess must now do so at the expense of the facts.”

—William Pencak, Penn State University