Benjamin Franklin's Resumé


Market Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Career Objective:

Secure a challenging position or positions in which I can apply my collaboration, mediation and relationship-building skills to create a better world

Educational Background:

·Completed two years of elementary education

·Participated in self-education program, reading the works of Plutarch, Daniel Defoe and Cotton Mather, among others (lifetime activity)

·Awarded honorary degrees from Harvard and Yale (1753)

·Awarded honorary Master of Arts degree from William and Mary College (1756)

·Awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland (1759)

·Awarded honorary doctorate degree from Oxford University, England (1762)

Professional Experience: (Selected highlights only)


Progressed from apprentice to owner/proprietor of printing office; proficiency in all forms of printing with particular expertise in the printing of currency

·Served as apprentice to master printer James Franklin in Boston (1718-1723)

·Co-founded Philadelphia printing office with partner Hugh Meredith (1728)

·Launched one of the nation's first printing franchises in South Carolina (1731)

·Selected as official printer for colonies of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey (beginning in 1731);printed currency for New Jersey and Pennsylvania (beginning in 1735)

Author and Publisher

Wrote and published numerous pamphlets and articles that influenced colonial decision makers, ultimately leading to independence from England; demonstrated scope of writing abilities by authoring books and articles for general population

·Authored a series of letters to my brother's newspaper, my own, and others under various pseudonyms, including Silence Dogood, Alice Addertongue and Harry Meanwell (beginning in 1722)

·Published A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725)

·Purchased and published The Pennsylvania Gazette; introduced innovative journalistic policy of presenting various sides of an issue (1729)

·Wrote and published A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency (1729)

·Published Poor Richard, An Almanack, one of the colonies' first best-sellers

·Launched Philadelphische Zeitung, America's first German-language newspaper (1732, closed after two issues)

·Published The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, one of the first magazines in the nation (1741)

·Published America's first political cartoon in Plain Truth, a pamphlet about the importance of working together and improved military preparedness (1747)

Civil Servant

Initiated new services to improve the quality of life in the colonies; served in a variety of leadership positions to assure the execution lived up to the vision

·Established The Library Company, the nation's first, successful public lending library (1731)

·Introduced bills and/or influenced governing bodies to provide numerous municipal services and amenities, including street lighting and cleaning, paved streets and nighttime constable patrols (1730s -1750s)

·Lobbied for and organized Union Fire Company, one of the first fire protection programs in Philadelphia (1736)

·Appointed Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly (1736)

·Held various positions of increasing responsibility in the colonies' postal service; served as Postmaster of Philadelphia; named Deputy Postmaster General for North America; mapped postal routes throughout the colonies; established colonies' first Dead Letter Office; served as Postmaster General for North America; appointed postmistress of Boston (the first woman to hold public office) (beginning in 1737)

·Founded the Academy and College of Philadelphia, later renamed the University of Pennsylvania (1749)

·Co-founded Pennsylvania Hospital, the first public hospital in the colonies (1751)

·Led consortium of fire companies to establish the Philadelphia Contributionship, the colonies' first insurance company (1752)

·Selected by Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts to serve as colonial agent;later served as unofficial spokesman for all 13 colonies (1757-1775)

·Served as chairman of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety (1775-1776)

President of the Pennsylvania Government [Governor] 1785-1788.

Served as president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery (1787-1790)

Statesman and Diplomat

Served as key member of the team that overthrew existing rule of King George III over 13 North American colonies; provided input and influenced establishment of a new form of self-government; secured international support and assistance

·Drafted Plan of Union (1754), which laid the groundwork for the Articles of Confederation (1776-77)

·Elected as Pennsylvania's delegate to Second Continental Congress (1775)

·In England, assisted in efforts to repeal the Stamp Act (1766)

·Served on committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence (1776)

·As a Commissioner of Congress and Ambassador to France;represented the colonies interests with both the French and Spanish governments; negotiated with French and Spanish ministers to provide United States with military support in war against Britain; secured loans to help finance American Revolution ;assisted in negotiating the four-way Treaty of Paris with France, Great Britain, Spain and America (1776-1783)

·Signed the three key documents that established America as an independent nation: Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Paris (1783) and the U.S. Constitution (1787)

·Served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention to address management, defense, the economy and other problems confronting 13 disparate states (1787)

·Participated in debates that resulted in theUnited States Constitution; influential in guaranteeing individual rights and devising a balance of three branches of government; encouraged other delegates to sign the U.S. Constitution (1787)


Took early leadership role in recognizing need to preserve the environment

·Led environmental protest against polluting slaughter houses, tan yards and skinner lime pits on the public dock (1739)

·Organized a fundraising drive to support John Bartram's trips to the South to collect plant specimens (1742)


Conceptualized, designed and/or improved many devices that enhance quality of life

·Swim fins (ca. 1717)

·Franklin/Pennsylvania stove (winter of 1740/1741)

·Lightning rod (1750)

·Street lamps that were easier to repair and clean (1756)

·Better ways to keep streets cleaner and deal with waste management (1750s)

·Discovered that electricity existed in storm clouds, in the form of lightning(1752)

·Flexible catheter (1752)

·Improved colonial postal system, as Deputy Postmaster General (1753-1774)

·Three-wheel clock that was simpler than other designs (1757)

·Glass armonica, a musical instrument made of spinning glass (1762)

·Bifocals (1784)

·Long arm (extension arm) to reach high books (1786)

Scientist and Meteorologist

Satisfied curiosity about weather and its impact on the environment through research and a series of experiments

·Accurately theorized the existence of high and low pressure and proposed one of the first correct explanations for storm movement in the northern hemisphere (1743)

·Organized the first American voyage to explore the Arctic (1753)

·Charted first map of the Gulf Stream currents and temperatures for the purpose of increasing speed of ocean travel (1768)


·Composed ballad in commemoration of the capture of Blackbeard the Pirate (1719)

·Invented glass armonica for which both Mozart and Beethoven composed several pieces to feature the instrument (1762)

·Played the viola da gamba, violin, and harp

Other Awards and Honors

·Awarded Copley Medal of the Royal Society of London for electricity research (1753)

·Namesake of the Franklinia alatamaha tree, a flowering tree propagated by botanist John Bartram (1765)

·Inducted into the Hall of Fame For Great Americans (1900), International Swimming Hall of Fame – Honor Contributor (1968), Electrostatics Hall of Fame (1979), Cooperative Hall of Fame (1987), American Mensa Hall of Fame (1990) and the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame (1999), among others

References furnished upon request


Last updated: March 10, 2017

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Contact Info

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143 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106



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