Archives: Benjamin Franklin

Joseph Priestly and his Big (writing) Idea

December 3, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, journalism, writers, writing.

Joseph Priestly, the Englishman we remember as a great scientist and the one who first discovered oxygen, was a writer before he was a scientist. And he was a writer with a Big Idea. Priestly (1733-1804) lived in an age when interest in “natural philosophy,” what we would call “science” today, had exploded, and people • Read More »

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Ben Franklin, printer

May 19, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history.

Because of several recent excellent biographies and a PBS series, America is being re-educated about the most remarkable of all the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin. The man was many things during his long life: inventor, scientist, civic innovator, diplomat. What he wanted to be known as, however, was “printer.” His Apology for Printers, written in 1731, is an eloquent statement of the role printer should play in disseminating information and ideas. It makes excellent reading even today. (The entire apology can be found on this web site.)

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