I managed to take these awesome pictures of Professor Allison on the field trip we took on February 2nd to view the printing press. I was blown away with how they got things printed back in the day. It was a lot more complex and I think we take for granted how much easier it has gotten for us. Back in the 1700s they would have to pre set every letter to make the sentence they needed. These letters would be very tiny and would be loaded onto something in which would hold the letters in place. The gentlemen in the photo next to Professor Allison explained to us that this took up a whole lot of time. I believe he said it would take something like eight hours to be able to preset al the letters for the words that would be on the whole page that was going to be printed. Once everything was ready to go you would load the preset words onto this platform where it would get pressed and printed onto a page. Then you would pull this lever and it would press and create one copy. They would do this several times in one day until they reached the amount that they needed. Professor Allison seemed like he had a tough time making one copy so I could not imagine making hundreds of them.
Overall the field trip we took was very informative. I enjoyed getting out of class and being able to learn so much about history and something in which Benjamin Franklin very likely assisted his brother in doing.
After Franklins wife of 50 years died in Philadelphia in 1774 (he was not there for her death) he sought relationships with many different women. Specifically, French women adored franklin because they viewed him as an American symbol. He found particular interest in his neighbor Madame Helvetius. She was the widow of a celebrated philosopher and was described as one of the most beautiful women in Paris. She was 60 years old when she met Franklin and he was 72. They spent their time together being entertained by various poets, writers and philosopher in France. They formed a relationship that was not only intimate but very intellectual and franklin viewed her as his equal. He found something in her in which he lacked in his previous wife. He adored her so much so that he proposed to her multiple times. She rejected his proposal each time, prompting him to write the essay Elysian Fields. At first glance many thought the letter was a light hearted joke, but further critique shows that Franklin was actually trying to convince Madame Helvetius to marry him. “Elysian Fields” is an allusion to a Grecian mythical land that was a final resting place for virtuous souls. The letter begins with Franklin falling asleep and traveling to these fields. Upon arrival, he is asked if he wants to see anyone in particular who rests here. He is asked to pick between Socrates or Helvetius. He chooses to see Helvetius because he is a known philosopher from France. He speaks to him about contemporary issues in France and asks for his views. He finally brings up his relationship with Madame Helvetius and asks why she will not marry him. Helvetius replies by saying she is still in love with him, even though he has passed and she does not want to remarry. Helvetius has gone on to say that he himself has remarried and his new wife turns out to be Franklin’s late wife, Deborah. After finding out that Debra has remarried to Helvetius, Franklin goes and sees her, demanding her to remain loyal to him. She replies coldly and says she remained loyal enough for him for 50 years and now has found a love with Helvetius that will last for an eternity. Franklin was so upset after hearing this that he decides to wake up and reenter the real world. The letter was meant to persuade Madame Helvetius to marry him but the letter was perceived as a humorous story. The essay was in an anomalous classical literacy genre called “dialogues of the dead”. The letter is still to this day read for entertainment by many.
Gabriella Roostaie, Melody Torres, & Edwin Romero
It was on the 13th of August back in 1722 when Benjamin Franklin published his 10th article under the name of Silence Dogood. It is a little weird he published it under that name right? But it was the only way to get his work published because of the fact they rejected it when it was under his name. In this particular article Franklin points out major facts to help the women population. And I believe it was the foundation of women getting the respect and rights they deserved.
“We have an abundance of women, who are bred well and liv’d well”, Franklin says. By this he really got my attention because he was heading somewhere really important. He said yeah the women were treated so well but after their husbands died they were pretty much in a bad situation. It was hard for them to carry on by themselves, with children and very little money. I believe Franklin felt obligated to help and make a difference. Because of it he opened an office called, “An Office of Ensurance for Widows.” with the idea to help these widows and their kids.
This idea seems so beneficial because Franklin made sure he wanted to help the people who really needed help and not the ones who did not. For an example Franklin say “Intent being to Aid the Poor, not add to the Rich”. I believe just how people beat the system now they would of back then. But Franklin tried his best to disallow that from happening. And he wanted to give money to those widows he actually needed their help. This proposal was quite the idea to come up with back then and not only that but to come up with it at the age of 16. It just goes to really show you where Franklins mindset was and how far advanced it was.
I could not tell you the countless number of times that I have walked by one milk street and had no idea that one of America’s most influential individuals was born at this location in 1706. Although the image you see is not his original building of his birthplace due to the fact it burned down in the 1811 it is still pretty cool to think such an enlightened person was born there. If you pass by One milk street you will see a statue of Benjamin Franklins head stating “Birthplace of Franklin”.