January 21, 2022

University of Pennsylvania: Penn Libraries Acquire Rare Book Printed by Benjamin Franklin

From the U. of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia:

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries is delighted to announce that it has acquired a copy of Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg’s Petit Code de la raison humaine, a book printed in France by Benjamin Franklin in 1782. It is one of only four known surviving copies of the book, and it is believed to be the last full-length book Franklin ever printed.


Scholars today know of around 900 surviving works printed by Benjamin Franklin. Of those, about 30 come from Passy, France, where Franklin established his final printing press.  Many of Franklin’s surviving works, especially the more ephemeral, exist in only one or two copies. The Penn Libraries currently holds more than 330 of these, making Penn’s collection of Franklin’s printing among the most important in the world. Most of Penn’s holdings came to the University in 1920 as a gift from the Curtis Publishing Company. Additional purchases and generous gifts from Penn alumni have added to the Franklin printing collection over the years. Penn also holds an array of material relating to Franklin’s time at Passy. The newly arrived, pristine copy of Barbeu-Dubourg’s Petit Code provides another key jewel in this crown.  It is fitting that Penn has become the final home for this remarkable work, in which Franklin reproduced the words of his friend, encouraging the education of young people by “…inspiring without restriction their body, spirit, and soul, their pursuit of the arts, passion for the sciences, and sensitivity towards their neighbors.”

Here’s the Catalog Record for the Book
Btw, the Penn Library Catalog is Named Franklin (as in Benjamin)

Read More About the Newly Acquired Book and Benjamin Franklin, Printer

See Also: Learn More About Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts at Penn

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.