Rare First Edition of The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin
The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin.
Item Number: 49055
London: Printed for J. Parsons, 1793.
First edition in English of Franklin’s autobiography which has become one of the most famous and influential examples of an autobiography ever written. Octavo, bound in half contemporary calf over marbled boards. In very good condition with some light rubbing. Housed in a custom half calf clamshell box. A very nice clean example, rare and desirable in a contemporary binding.
“The most widely read of all American autobiographies… [The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin] holds the essence of the American way of life” (Grolier 21). “A year after Benjamin Franklin’s death his autobiography was published in Paris in March of 1791… Known today as The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, this classic piece of Americana was originally written for Franklin’s son William, then the governor of New Jersey. The work portrays a fascinating picture of life in Philadelphia, as well as shrewd observations on the literature, philosophy and religion of the time. Franklin wrote the first five chapters of his autobiography in England in 1771, resumed again 13 years later (1784-85) in Paris and later in 1788 when he returned to the United States. Franklin ends the account of his life in 1757 when he was 51 years old. Considered to be the greatest autobiography produced in colonial America” (Archiving Early America).