[Item #4809] Benjamin Franklin. Carl Van Doren, Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

New York, NY: Viking Press, 1938. First Edition. Hardcover. "The boy who walked the streets of Philadelphia munching on a loaf of bread, the youth who rose from printer's devil to become the New World's first great publisher, the man who invented stoves for his compatriots' warmth and designed lightning rods for their safety, the executive who gathered supplies for Braddock's march into the wilderness, the sage who signed himself Poor Richard, the diplomat who raised a loan in France to gain his country's freedom, the patriot who shared in framing the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the treaties with Britain and France--this was still only a part of Benjamin Franklin. What [Carl] Van Doren (1885-1950) has done, simple in conception but almost overwhelming in execution, has been to set down the complete life as Franklin might have written it had he ever completed the famous 'Autobiography.' / ... / Above all, it has human value as a great portrait of a great man, prepared with thought, subjected to the most rigorous scholarship, and written with a gusto and a deep affection that show the subject and the author to be contemporaries of the spirit, though separated by a span of 150 years." (from Front Flap) So reads a sizable excerpt from the front flap of Carl Van Doren's "Benjamin Franklin," published only 12 years before Van Doren's death at the age of 64. It is a curious, history-echoing fact that vaccine and mask controversies were actually present from the dawn of American history...from the very beginning of its intellectual and pop-cultural life. Franklin himself became a huge proponent of vaccines when his son, Francis Franklin, died at the age of 4 from smallpox. During Yellow Fever epidemics in the summer, people in the colonies were wearing masks and "social distancing," -- doing so with a particular commitment and ferocity during the "Great Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793," a transitory epidemic which basically shut down the United States Government for a brief moment in its infancy. Your Devoted Assistant Curator would suggest that, in tandem with the ballroom formality of Van Doren's richly-researched tome, that those interested in Franklin--and a hearty laugh--would do well to watch New York comic Chris DiStefano's capsule history of Franklin on YouTube. When studying the Founders, the decisive facts of biography pair well with the attendant hilarities of that history. For example, while Ben Franklin was busy laying the foundations for the Library Company--not to mention the Fire and Police Departments as we understand them today--he was actively roasted in the letters of his Declaration-signing contemporaries, who called him "Dr. Fatsides" behind his back. If the totality of said contributions fails to inspire reverence or wonder, consider the following: it is in Franklin's 1754 piece, titled "The Albany Plan," that the phrase "The United States of America" makes its very first in-print appearance. Franklin's "Albany Plan" -- architected 22 years before the Declaration of Independence -- arguably marks the conceptual birth of The United States as a political possibility. All this is to say Van Doren's "Franklin" remains a richly informative & distinguished history...one of immense value to history buffs and the curious, alike. Hardcover in unclipped dust-jacket, the First Edition of 1938--preceded only by the "...limited, signed edition in three volumes..." as noted on copyright page. Book in relatively Good-Near Fine condition with moderate-to-pronounced shelf-wear to fine-edges of front, back covers & spine; similar diffuse bumps, corners & exhibits of rubbing to same; loosening of inner spine-hinge edges between pastedowns & endpapers at interior, but binding & all leaves intact. Dust-jacket in Fair condition with pronounced-to-significant chipping, scattered tears, & shelf wear to fine-edges & corners of front, back covers & spine; scattered nicks, rubbing & creasing throughout, yet sturdily held together by the dust-jacket protector in which said jacket is encased. Good-Near Fine / Fair. [Item #4809]

Price: $35.00