Baptismal bowl, ca. 1743
Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004
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Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004

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Detail showing maker's mark
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"Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World," Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary traveling exhibition, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, 2005-2006
Related Publications

Benjamin Franklin and his Circle: A Catalogue of an Exhibition (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1936) (notes by R.T.H. Halsey, Joseph Downs, and Marshall Davidson)

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)

The bowl is believed to have been given as a baptismal gift by Evans, an author published by Franklin. The family is said to have called it "the baptismal bowl," though it is likely to have been a gift on the child's birth rather than the bowl with which she was actually baptized. It descended to Benj. Franklin Bache, and is mentioned in the will of Thomas Hewson Bache (d.1912). T.H. Bache died without issue, but bequeathed many Franklin artifacts to his nephew, Dr. Franklin Bache of West Chester, PA. (this may be Franklin Charles Bache, d. 1946). There is a gap in the ownership of the bowl. It is believed to have been offered in a sale, "the Swinnerton Sale, January 11, 1946, lot 259." Eric Shrubsole, dealer, purchased it, perhaps at a later sale, April 8, 1980; dealer's no. is B4326 It was purchased from Shrubsole by a private collector and is still retained in that collector's family. Terms of Use Credits