Happy Birthday, Benjamin Franklin!

Celebrate Ben's Birthday with an Assortment of Facts and History

By The Old Farmer's Almanac
Nov 27, 2018
Benjamin Franklin's Birthday
Library of Congress

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Benjamin Franklin was born on Sunday, January 17, in 1706. To celebrate his birthday, here are some facts and quotes about the great man. Happy Birthday, Ben!

Franklin was not only a world-renowned statesman, inventor, and scientist, but also was fascinated by agriculture and is considered the father of the modern almanac. 

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, which was at that time a British colony. His father came from England to the Colonies in 1682. He was a candle and soap maker in Boston.

Before he became involved in politics, Franklin learned the trade of printing in Boston and eventually set up his own printing shop in Philadelphia. Later, he served as postmaster of Philadelphia and became the first postmaster general of the United States in 1775.

Politically, Benjamin Franklin was an admired statesman and thinker. He is the only person who signed all four of the documents that helped to create the United States: the Declaration of Independence (1776); the Treaty of Alliance, Amity, and Commerce with France (1778); the Treaty of Peace between England, France, and the United States (1782); and the Constitution (1787). In fact, he helped to write parts of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Father of the Modern Almanac

Benjamin Franklin’s portrait is on the front of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, as we honor Ben as the father of the modern almanac.

His best known work is Poor Richard’s Almanack, a yearly publication that he published in the American colonies from 1732 to 1758 under the pseudonym Richard Saunders. Though there were many almanacs at the time, Franklin’s almanac was a best-seller, thanks to his wit and wisdom.

In recognition, the portrait of Benjamin Franklin was added to the cover of The Old Farmer’s Almanac in 1851, appearing opposite the portrait of founder Robert B. Thomas. It has remained there ever since.

Read more about this Almanac cover and Benjamin Franklin’s appearance.

almanac-1851.jpg

Benjamin Franklin Facts

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Benjamin Franklin was a very interesting person. Did you know…

  • Benjamin Franklin was one of 17 children! He was the youngest son.
  • When he was a school boy, Ben wanted to be a sailor, despite his father’s disapproval.
  • Yes, Benjamin Franklin did eventually marry! His wife, Deborah, is buried next to him in the cemetery of Christ Church, Philadelphia.
  • Ben had three children and eight grandchildren.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s long list of inventions include the odometer, bifocals, and swim fins. He loved to swim!
  • Benjamin Franklin has been honored in 14 different halls of fame.
  • Benjamin Franklin is on the front of the $100 bill.

Words of Wisdom from Ben Franklin

  • “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”
  • “Make haste slowly.”
  • “The best investment is in the tools of one’s own trade.”
  • “He that teaches himself hath a fool for a master.”
  • “An egg today is better than a hen tomorrow.”
  • “Think of these things: whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account.”
  • “Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments.”
  • “None but the well-bred man knows how to confess a fault, or acknowledge himself in an error.”
  • “The discontented man finds no easy chair.”

What else have you heard about Benjamin Franklin? Let us know in the comments below.

Now learn more about the life and times of Almanac founder Robert B. Thomas!

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This new corner of Almanac.com will feature news, information, and cool stuff from The Old Farmer’s Almanac and its family of publications.

Reader Comments

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Quotes Benjamin Franklin

Some 70 years ago read Enid Blyton ? A heading of book or chapter was " Little boys with bent pins should not fish for whales !!"

ben franklin

genius without education is like silver in a mine

The Whistle

My most memorable learning from him was through his short story, The Whistle...well, it goes (obviously): "Never Give Too Much For A Whistle"...the meaning of which could best be appreciated by reading the story itself.=)

Another fascinating thing about Ben

He was an amateur harpist! One of the first pieces I learned to play with both hands was a short piece he loved and which he composed himself.

Ben Franklin

Proud to have gone to the same high school as Ben: Boston Latin School.

ben franklin

i believe Ben also discovered the Gulf Stream, invented the lightning rod, and pot-bellied stove

Ben Franklin

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." and, "God helps those who help themselves.". Maybe God wants us to help ourselves to a beer. LOL

Franklin composed his own epitaph

In 1728, aged 22, Franklin wrote what he hoped would be his own epitaph:

The Body of B. Franklin Printer; Like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more, In a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and Amended By the Author.

Grandson Benny

Our grandson Benjamin D was named after Ben Franklin as his father was a history major.
His mother wasn't crazy about Lincoln so he became Benjamin.

Franklin

Always interested in this amazing man, and relative! His mother’s maiden name was Folger!

Patience

Patience is a virtue - i beleive is another Ben Franklin quote

Ben Franklin

Have always been fascinated by Franklin. We share the same birthday so feel a kinship to him. One of his sayings I remember "fish and company stink after 3 days" lol.

Quite Franklin

311 and we don't celebrate his birthday with a National Holiday-WELL WHY NOT?

Happy Birthday!

I would have anticipated one of the fun facts would be that Ben was never elected President. Was this his doing or those around him?

Happy Birthday, Ben

Many happy returns of the day. Benjamin Franklin was truly a great American.

Ben's Life and Words

A challenging Quiz would be fun!

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