Benny and the press

In reading the book "Benjamin Franklin" by Walter Isaacson, I just came to the section about his autobiography. He started to write this when he was 65 years old, in 1771. Being away so much representing our young country before the revolution, he was thinking of family and wanted to reflect on his life. He began the first page with "Dear Son" to his son William, but the book was obviously written for the general reading public.

It reminded me that I have an 1824 printing of this book, so I got it out to look at it again. It's about 3x5 in size, leather bound, we would call it a "pocket size" book. On the front flyleaf are two inscriptions: Sally Stevens' Book, March 18th, 1827 and G H Stevens, Keeneyville, Tioga Co, Pa, Jan. 17, 1892. On the back flyleaf, an elegant hand wrote: Albany March 18th 1827. In earlier years people had a much more intimate relationship with their books, they meant much more to them than they do today. Thomas Jefferson took his library with him when he was in France and increased it when there. Look at yard sales, flea markets, etc. and see all the books that people are trying to unload for a couple of bucks. I've always had a great respect for the books that I owned. Most of them are still with me, and I reread them over time.

In what I'm reading about Ben Franklin, I don't think he would be surprised that his autobiography has been passed down through family members. He seemed to have a philosophy that reached into the future, knowing that what he wrote or printed through his printing business was meant to stand the test of time. Many of his endeavors were more for the future than his own time. These blogs and all the internet content we take advantage of today will never mean as much or last as well as a good book passed to your kids or grandkids. In my mind anyway!