About Benjamin Franklin

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Benjamin Franklin was born in January of 1706 to a modest family. Although he is best known as one of the United States’ Founding Fathers, Franklin lived a much more multifaceted life.

Benjamin Franklin. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.Despite a limited education, Franklin was effectively self-taught and spent a significant portion of his early years in the newspaper business. He began by writing for his brother’s newspaper under the assumed name Silence Dogood. When he tired of having to report to his brother, he left Boston, spending a span of time in London between stays in Philadelphia. There, he started his own printing shop before gaining ownership of the Pennsylvania Gazette.

As Franklin grew older, he became yet more involved in his community. He helped establish important institutions within Philadelphia, including a library and the school that would become the University of Pennsylvania. Upon retirement, Franklin added yet another title to his list of accomplishments:  scientist. Through his famous kite-flying experiment, Franklin verified that lightning transmits a powerful electrical charge. To serve as a protection against lightning’s ability to set homes ablaze, Franklin developed the lightning rod, which would extend above buildings and redirect lightning’s energy away from the building and into the ground.

Although Benjamin Franklin is perhaps best known as one of the Founding Fathers, he held this role later in his life. Within the group, Franklin is rumored to have been a jokester. Some sources say that it was because of these tendencies that he was not allowed to write the Declaration of Independence. Although he was not trusted with the honor of writing this document, Franklin did serve on the five-person committee tasked with developing the Declaration of Independence. His work in guiding the country through its transition from British colonies to independent nation was invaluable. His Albany Plan made way for the Articles of Confederation. He fought for American rights in Britain against the unfair Stamp Act, and when the war was won, he worked with the French to draw up the Treaty of Paris.

Franklin’s legacy now lives on at Yale in more ways than one. In 1935, long before the founding of Benjamin Franklin College, Yale became the home to the grandest collection of the Franklin Papers, documents and images related to Benjamin Franklin. These works are currently housed in Sterling Memorial Library and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. With the opening of Benjamin Franklin College, the inventor and Founding Father gains a deeper connection to Yale University.

The Story Behind the Crest

The Benjamin Franklin College crest embodies the importance of integrating varying interests. The Bend rompu reference Franklin’s Benjamin Franklin College Crestwork as an inventor, while the Fleurs-de-lys serve as a representation of his time as an ambassador to France. In the same way that Franklin’s investment in various endeavors made him a more interesting, impactful individual, the diverse backgrounds of the students of Benjamin Franklin College strengthen the residential college community and beyond.