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March 6, 2019 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm UTC Timezone
The Library Company of Philadelphia
1314 Locust St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107, Philadelphia
PA 19107
Library Company of Philadelphia

Benjamin Franklin & Immigration

March 6, 2019

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Few people of Benjamin Franklin’s generation understood better the importance of immigration to the British colonies of North America. Franklin’s ideas about immigrants and immigration evolved as his career moved from being a colonial leader in Philadelphia to a citizen of the world. His thinking about populations and about ethnic differences derive from his mutual concerns about laboring peoples and the environmental and economic circumstances of the North American colonies. By examining the Library Company’s historical records from Franklin’s time in Philadelphia, London, and Passy, we can trace how local circumstances shaped Franklin’s early thinking and how later experiences encouraged him to fashion a more global vision about immigration problems, goals, and strategies. Readings complementary to the Library Company’s holdings will enable participants to contextualize Franklin’s writings about peoples in North America and elsewhere, including indigenous peoples of North America, Ireland, and India; Scottish, Scots-Irish, and Irish peoples; Germans; Africans; French, and others.

Join Dr. Carla Mulford, a leading scholar on Franklin, as she curates original records that reveal Franklin’s shifting views on immigration, demographics, economics, and the environment. This seminar will feature an intimate and interactive presentation of historical materials in our reading room, followed by a casual dinner in the historic Logan Room. Space is limited to 20 participants on a first-come, first, serve basis.

About the Seminar Leader:

Carla J. Mulford has published widely in the field of early American studies, but Benjamin Franklin has been her preoccupation over the last twenty years. She has published twenty articles and book chapters on Franklin, in addition to The Cambridge Companion to Benjamin  Franklin (Cambridge UP, 2009) and Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire (Oxford UP, 2015). She is currently working on a new book, tentatively titled Benjamin Franklin’s Electrical Diplomacy. Professor of English at Penn State University, she is the Founding President of the Society of Early Americanists.


To pay by check contact Colleen Gill, Development and Membership Coordinator, at or 215-546-3181, ext. 136. For more information about the seminar series, contact Will Fenton, Director of Scholarly Innovation, at or 215-546-3181, ext. 119.

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