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Portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Ben Franklin’s First Print Job on Display at the University of Pennsylvania

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Portrait of Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Duplessis via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin dedicated himself to the printing trade for his entire life, from working as an apprentice for his brother to becoming the official printer of both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Before he founded his first printing shop in his early 20s, Franklin came to Philadelphia and found work with Samuel Keimer, the founder of the Pennsylvania Gazette.

Franklin’s first foray into professional printing has just been acquired by the University of Pennsylvania—which Franklin founded in 1740—and will be on display until February, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The broadside Franklin printed, a poem written by Keimer, signified his arrival in the Philadelphia printing world.

The poem was an elegy for the 28-year-old Quaker poet Aquila Rose, who died in 1723. Keimer couldn’t actually print, though he could set type, and the 17-year-old Franklin set up his press. Printing the poem led to Keimer offering him a full-time job.

The piece acquired by the university is the only known original copy to survive the centuries, and was thought to be lost until just a few years ago, when it was discovered in a scrapbook created in the 19th century. It will go on display at the university library until February 10. A digital copy is also available online.

[h/t The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
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You Can Now Read More Than 850 of Alexander Hamilton's Papers Online
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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

When writing his hip-hop musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda wasn’t able to interview America’s first treasury secretary firsthand, as he died more than 210 years ago. Instead, he got inside the founding father’s head by combing through the hundreds of drafts and correspondences Hamilton left behind. Now, studying Hamilton’s massive body of work is as easy as logging on to your computer. As NPR reports, the Library of Congress just made 880 documents from its Hamilton collection available online.

The digital archive spans everything from correspondence Hamilton wrote as an adolescent living in St. Croix to the letter he wrote to his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, the night before his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. In between is the outline for a speech he gave at the Constitutional Convention, a letter from his days of courting Elizabeth, and communications with Revolutionary leaders including Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and the Marquis de Lafayette.

The Library of Congress’s collection of Hamilton documents would likely look much different if it weren't for the work of his widow. Following Alexander's death, Elizabeth embarked on a mission to secure her late husband's legacy by collecting his writings and getting them published. As Ron Chernow—author of the Hamilton biography the hit musical is based on—told Smithsonian last year, “Her efforts made it easier to research Alexander’s life, because after his death, his enemies were in power … Elizabeth was working against the political system of the time, and time itself.”

Thanks to the Library of Congress’s project, her work is more accessible than ever. The move to bring the collection to the web was partly inspired by the recent buzz surrounding the figure, but you don’t have to be familiar with Hamilton the musical to appreciate the historical writings. Visit the Library of Congress’s website to start exploring the archive.

[h/t NPR]

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Hamilton Broadway
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A Hamilton-Themed Cookbook is Coming
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Hamilton Broadway

Fans of Broadway hit Hamilton will soon be able to dine like the Founding Fathers: As Eater reports, a new Alexander Hamilton-inspired cookbook is slated for release in fall 2017.

Cover art for Laura Kumin's forthcoming cookbook
Amazon

Called The Hamilton Cookbook: Cooking, Eating, and Entertaining in Hamilton’s World, the recipe collection by author Laura Kumin “takes you into Hamilton’s home and to his table, with historical information, recipes, and tips on how you can prepare food and serve the food that our founding fathers enjoyed in their day,” according to the Amazon description. It also recounts Hamilton’s favorite dishes, how he enjoyed them, and which ingredients were used.

Recipes included are cauliflower florets two ways, fried sausages and apples, gingerbread cake, and apple pie. (Cue the "young, scrappy, and hungry" references.) The cookbook’s official release is on November 21—but until then, you can stave off your appetite for all things Hamilton-related by downloading the musical’s new app.

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