Saint Franklin

in A Nation of Speechifiers

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226180199
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226180212 | DOI:
Saint Franklin

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After his death in 1790, Benjamin Franklin was lavished with praise by many men and women, the most vocally ardent of whom were American journeymen printers. Two such printers were Adoniram Chandler, a member of the New-York Typographical Society of journeymen printers, and Jefferson Clark, another journeyman. This chapter looks at journeymen printers' societies, made up of men like Chandler and Clark, in several northeastern cities and how they helped promote print as a uniquely democratic and American medium for transmitting information. In their published speeches and anniversary toasts, journeymen printers' societies (also known as “typographical” societies) showed that their daily work in the print shop conferred the political knowledge and even eloquence that enabled them to be admitted fully to an educated public. However, these wage laborers also found that such self-representations became fragile during extended labor disputes and the ensuing battle for public opinion. This chapter also discusses the case of Duff Green, a master printer who announced a plan that the Columbia Typographical Society believed would eliminate most journeymen's jobs.

Keywords: journeymen printers; print; speeches; typographical societies; Benjamin Franklin; eloquence; labor disputes; public opinion; Duff Green; Columbia Typographical Society

Chapter.  13772 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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