Benjamin Franklin/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Benjamin Franklin.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.

Primary Sources

  • Franklin, Benjamin. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, ed. L.W. Labaree et al. (1964) online edition - there are many editions
  • Franklin, Benjamin. Franklin: Writings, ed. J.A. Leo Lemay, Library of America (1987) excerpt and text search; complete text online free
  • Labaree, Leonard W., et al., eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin 35 vols. to date (1959-2002) - definitive edition, through 1781. This massive collection of BF's writings, and letters to him, is available in print form at large research libraries. the complete text, searchable, is online free from Yale It is most useful for detailed research on very specific topics.


  • Becker, Carl Lotus. "Benjamin Franklin," Dictionary of American Biography (1931) - vol 3, with hot links online
  • Brands, Henry. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (2000)- excellent long scholarly biography excerpt and text search
  • Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2004) - good recent biography excerpt and text search
  • Ketcham, Ralph. Benjamin Franklin (1966) 228 pponline edition
  • Morgan, Edmund S. Benjamni Franklin (2003) the best short introduction excerpt and text search
  • Van Doren, Carl. Benjamin Franklin (1938), standard older biography excerpt and text search
  • Wright, Esmond. Franklin of Philadelphia (1986) - excellent scholarly study excerpt and text search

Specialized Scholarly Studies

  • Anderson, Douglas. The Radical Enlightenments of Benjamin Franklin (1997) - fresh look at the intellectual roots of Franklin
  • Buxbaum, M.H. Critical Essays on Benjamin Franklin (1987)
  • Cohen, I. Bernard. Benjamin Franklin's Science (1990) - Cohen, the leading specialist, has several books on Franklin's science
  • Conner, Paul W. Poor Richard's Politicks (1965) - analyzes Franklin's ideas in terms of the Enlightenment
  • Dull, Jonathan. A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution (1985)
  • Ford, Paul Leicester. The Many-Sided Franklin (1899) online edition - collection of scholarly essays
  • Lemay, J. A. Leo, ed. Reappraising Benjamin Franklin: A Bicentennial Perspective (1993) - scholarly essays
  • McCoy, Drew R. "Benjamin Franklin's Vision of a Republican Political Economy for America." William and Mary Quarterly 1978 35(4): 607-628.
  • Skemp, Sheila L. Benjamin and William Franklin: Father and Son, Patriot and Loyalist (1994)- Ben's son was a leading Loyalist