Traveling lap desk, ca. 1760
Photo by Peter Harholdt,...
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Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004 (before conservation)

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"Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World," Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary traveling exhibition, 2005-2008
Otherwise on ongoing display at the Franklin Institute
Related Publications

Talbott, Page, ed., Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World (New Haven and London: Yale University, 2005) (companion book to exhibition of same title)

Gift of Stanley G. Flagg in memory of J.T. Windrim before February 26, 1945.

According to Institute records, Franklin gave the lap desk to Boston physician Dr. Isaac Rand (the occasion is not known). On Rand's death in 1822, the desk was bequeathed to one of Rand's sisters (name not recorded), who sold it to George Schaffer. Schaffer's youngest sister, Mrs. Thomas Bowen Lippitt, bequeathed the desk to her nephew, General Francis Lippitt, a lawyer and veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars who died in 1902. Francis Lippitt bequeathed the desk to Rear Admiral Richard Wainwright, a descendant of Franklin through Sarah and Richard Bache. Admiral Wainwright wrote in his account of the desk that Franklin did much of his writing for the Saturday Evening Post at the desk. This statement is inaccurate, however, as the Post originated several years after Franklin died.

The above information is from the Curatorial files of The Franklin Institute. Terms of Use Credits