Link to Timeline
Entire Timeline - Switch View

Search all fields and display any matching events (case insensitive):

Display a subset of the timeline:

to

To see all events, click the "Entire Timeline" link at the top of the page. You can use the form to the left to search for sets of events by entering specific keywords or to zoom in on a particular time period. Use the links in the legend below to view events by theme.
Legend: Remembrance Biography Slavery and Antislavery Art and Literature Politics War Franklin

Years Image Event Description Keywords
1706   Benjamin Franklin born in Boston.    
1718   Franklin, 12, becomes apprentice to his brother James Franklin, a young Boston printer. Only 21 years old, James had just returned from his own training in the trade of printer in London. In 1721, James Franklin began publishing The New-England Courant.  
1722 Silence Dogood essays published anonymously in the New-England Courant. The New England Courant, 9 April 1722 (Click on image for full view.)  
1723   Franklin runs away to Philadelphia.    
1724   Franklin sails for England; works as a printer in London.    
1725   Franklin writes and prints A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain.    
1726   Franklin returns to Philadelphia.    
1727   Franklin forms the Junto, a private club of artisans and tradesmen.    
1728   Franklin opens his own printing office.    
1730   Franklin becomes the sole owner of the Pennsylvania Gazette. Appointed printer to the Pennsylvania Assembly. Marries Deborah Read.    
1731   Franklin founds first circulating library in America. Begins publishing Poor Richard: An Almanack (continued annually until 1758). Son William Temple Franklin born.    
1732 Francis Folger Franklin born. Image: Francis Folger Franklin, 1736 (Artist: Samuel Johnson).  
1736 Franklin appointed clerk of the Assembly. Founds Union Fire Company. Death of Francis Folger Franklin. Image: Engraving of an 18th century volunteer fire company (18th Century)  
1737   Franklin appointed postmaster of Philadelphia. Elected to Assembly.    
1742 - 1744   Franklin invents a stove, proposes the University of Pennsylvania, establishes the American Philosophical Society, organizes defense on the frontier.    
Return to Top
1743   Sally Franklin born.    
1747 Franklin writes of his electrical experiments. Organizes first militia in Pennsylvania. Image: Portrait of Benjamin Franklin (oil on canvas), 1746 (Artist: Robert Feke) This is the earliest known portrait of Franklin.  
1748   Franklin retires from active business. Elected to the Philadephia Common Council.    
1749   Franklin becomes Grand Master of the Pennsylvania Masons.    
1751   Franklin's "Experiments in Electricity" published in London See a videotaped lecture by Harvard's Dudley Hershbach, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.  
1751 Pennsylvania Hospital chartered. Frankline elected to Pennsylvania Assembly; reelected annually until 1762. Image: "Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital" (pamphlet), 1754 (Artist: Benjamin Franklin). Franklin's pamphlet helped to obtain necessary funding for the Hospital from the Colonial Assembly.  
1752   Franklin founds the first American fire Insurance Company.    
1753   Franklin receives honorary M.A.'s from Harvard and Yale, and the Copley Medal of the Royal Society. Appointed Deputy Postmaster General of North America.    
1754   Franklin aids General Braddock in defending Pennsylvania against Indian attacks.    
1756   Franklin elected Fellow of the Royal Society. Appointed Postmaster General of the colonies.    
1757   Franklin goes to London as agent for Pennsylvania Assembly to negotiate with the Proprietors. Writes The Way to Wealth.    
1759 Franklin receives honorary degree from University of Saint Andrews. Image: Benjamin Franklin (oil on canvas), 1759 (Artist: Benjamin Wilson).  
1760   Franklin writes "Interest of Great Britain Considered." Secures Privy Council approval of taxation of proprietary estates in Pennsylvania.    
1761   Franklin invents the Glass Armonica    
1762 Franklin receives honorary degree from Oxford. Returns to Philadelphia. Son William Franklin named Governor of New Jersey. Image: Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, 1762 (Artist: George Leslie Dunlop copy of original oil painting by Mason Chamberlain).  
Return to Top
1763   Franklin tours Northern colonies to inspect post offices.    
1764   Franklin defeated in Assembly elections. Returns to London as an agent for Pennsylvania.    
1765   Franklin works for repeal of Stamp Act; writes many anonymous pieces for the London press.    
1766   Franklin testifies on the Stamp Act before the House of Commons.    
1767 Franklin becomes agent for Georgia. Image: The Philosopher and Colonial Agent (oil painting), 1767 (Artist: David Martin)  
1769 Franklin elected President of the American Philosophical Society. Becomes agent for New Jersey. Image: Presumed sketch of Franklin with a lady friend, 1767 (Artist: Charles Willson Peale) Perhaps a scene of dalliance witnessed by the young artist when he called at Franklin's Craven Street residence in London in 1767.  
1770   Franklin petitions for grant of land in the West. Becomes agent for Massachusetts.    
1771 Franklin begins Autobiography. Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, manuscript in the author's handwriting., 1771-1790  
1772   Franklin elected to French Academy of Sciences.    
1774   Franklin attacked before Privy Council; dismissed as Deputy Postmaster General. begins final negotiations with the British. Deborah Franklin dies.    
1775   Franklin returns to America. Elected to Continental Congress and Pennsylvania Committee of Safety. Submits Articles of Confederation of United Colonies. Named the first American Postmaster General by the Continental Congress.    
1776 Franklin helps draft and signs Declaration of Independence. Sails to France as American commissioner to negotiate alliance. Image: B Free Franklin signature, 1775.  
1777 Franklin celebrated by Parisian society, French intellectuals and artists. Image: Bust of Benjamin Franklin (original terra cotta), 1777 (Artist: Jean Jacques Caffieri)  
1778 Franklin signs treaties of alliance and commerce with France. Portrait of Benjamin Franklin, 1778 (Artist: John Siffred Duplessis) click on link for Metropolitan Museum of Art image  
1779 Franklin named minister to French court. Image: Portrait Medallion of Benjamin Franklin, 1777 (Artist: Giovanni Battista Nini) Designed to popularize Franklin's mission to Paris.  
Return to Top
1781 Franklin appointed a comissioner to negotiate peace with Britain. Benjamin Franklin (porcelain miniature), ca. 1778 (Artist: Wedgwood Co.)  
1782 With John Adams and John Jay, Franklin negotiates treaty of peace with Great Britain. Benjamin Franklin (oil on panel), 1778 (Artist: John Trumbull)  
1784   Franklin negotiates treaties of commerce with Prussia and other European nations.    
1785 Franklin returns to Philadelphia. Elected president of Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Benjamin Franklin, 1785 (Artist: Charles Willson Peale)  
1787 Franklin serves as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Bust of Benjamin Franklin (wood), 1787 (Artist: William Rush)  
1789 Franklin finishes last section of Autobiography. Image: Benjamin Franklin (painted silhouette), 1789 (Artist: Joseph Sansom)  
1790 Benjamin Franklin dies, April 17, at age 84. Image: Death mask of Franklin, discovered in a collection of phrenological masks. Center is the official Franklin of the phrenologists, cast from a Caffiéri bust., ca.1790 (Artist: Unknown)  

Instructor's Toolkit