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If Ben Had Had His Way

A Symposium in Honor of the 300th Anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's Birth

Presented by the Penn Humanities Forum and the Marvin and Sybil Weiner Fund of the Penn Library

4:00-6:00 pm, Friday, February 24, 2006
Class of 55 Room, 2nd floor
Van Pelt Library, 3420 Walnut Street


Free. Public, including secondary school students, invited.


Near the end of his life, Benjamin Franklin concluded that the Academy he helped found, which became the University of Pennsylvania, had consistently violated its charter. That charter advanced a controversial view of the university's relation to tradition, class, citizenship, and speculative knowledge. Where does the academy stand on these matters today? Where would Ben Franklin have liked the academy to stand?

Join us for this special symposium organized to mark the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth. Distinguished panelists will include Rebecca Bushnell, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences; Peter Conn, Professor of English; Peter Stallybrass, Annenberg Professor in the Humanities; Michael Zuckerman, Professor of History; and Tal Raviv (Engineering '09), the first-prize winner of the inaugural PHF-Weiner undergraduate student essay contest, "If Ben Had Had His Way."


2006 PHF-Weiner Essay Prizes

First Prize: Tal Raviv, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences '09, Chemical Engineering. Essay: "Spark"
Honorable Mention:
Gena Katz, College '06, English. Essay: "Franklin's Ivy Leagues and the Junto of Education"
Dvorit Mausner, College '07, Biological Basis of Behavior. Essay: "Of Virtue, Wit, and Wisdom"

Prizes awarded as part of the Symposium ceremonies. (Symposium pdf; right click on link to download to desktop.)


Exhibition: Educating the Youth of Pennsylvania: Worlds of Learning in the
Age of Franklin

Drawing on the collections of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and other important area repositories, this Penn exhibition organized by Penn's Rare Book & Manuscript Library explored the originality and relevance of Franklin's 1749 educational manifesto, "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania [sic]." Who received an education in Franklin's day? Who were the teachers? What did students learn? What did they read? Exhibits included Franklin's original manuscript with his ideas for the Junto; a never-before-seen Franklin imprint; women's samplers; German fraktur calligraphy; a horn book; photographs of period schoolhouses from the Delaware Valley, and much more.

On display in the Rosenwald Gallery, 6th fl., Van Pelt Dietrich Library, University of Pennsylvania, January 17, 2006–May 31, 2006. Exhibition Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00a–5:00p; Saturdays: 12:00–4:00p. Public invited. Non-Penn affiliates must arrange weekend visits in advance; call 215.898.7088 or e-mail rbml@pobox.upenn.edu.

 

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