ATG Quirkies: The Teenage Benjamin Franklin’s First Print Job

by | Jan 23, 2017 | 0 comments

Here’s the story of the obscure death nearly three centuries ago that arguably launched Ben Franklin’s printing career and kept him in Philadelphia.  It involves Ben’s first print job which was “An elegy on the much lamented death of the ingenious and well-belov’d Aquila Rose, clerk to the honourable assembly at Philadelphia, who died the 24th of the 6th month, 1723, aged 28.” Ben printed the broadside when he was all of 17 years old and it was his “first professional effort and his entrée into the Philadelphia business world.”

And now the Penn Libraries have acquired the only known example of the Aquila Rose sheet to survive. It “will be on display through Feb. 10 on the first floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. (A digitized copy of the broadside is at”

(Thanks to John Riley of Gabriel Books for providing ATG Quirkies)

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