Ben Franklin was known for many things, but one of his most enduring legacies is his Poor Richard’s Almanack. Published under his pseudonym, Ben Franklin released a yearly almanac from 1732 to 1758, filled with calendars, poems, sayings, and weather and astrological information. It is from these almanacs that we get most of Ben Franklin’s proverbs.
Kerchief, Poor Richard Illustrated Lesson, 1800-1820. Gift of Mrs. J. Insley Blair, 1941.108
This kerchief features eight vignettes in medallions illustrating Poor Richard’s Lessons surrounding a central medallion with a portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Some of those lessons include “Foolish men make feasts and wise men eat them,” “Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou wilt sell thy necessaries,” and “The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands.”
Tomorrow, Jack Sherry will be at the New-York Historical Society to portray Ben Franklin for our 4th of July festivities, and he said he draws a lot of inspiration from Franklin’s writing. “He and I share a love of puns,” he said. “My favorite Poor Richard quote is “Three can keep a secret, if two are dead.” Happy 4th, everyone!