Tankard, 1748
Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004
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Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004

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"Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World," Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary traveling exhibition, 2005-2008
Related Publications

Grimwade, Arthur G, London Goldsmiths, 1697-1837, Their Marks and Lives (London: Faber and Faber, 1976)

Talbott, Page, "The House that Franklin Built" (Antiques & Fine Art, Vol. VI, Issue 5, January-February 2006, pp. 232-38)

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)

This tankard, engraved with the arms of an Anglo-Irish noble family, may have come into Franklin's possession due to recurring financial misfortunes of the family of the Earls of Antrim. "In spite of marriage to a great heiress the 2nd Earl had run up enormous debts...which continued to burden the estate throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The body of the 5th Earl was reported to have been seized by creditors and a report prepared for his successor in the 1770's shows debts of over £50,000..." Records of the Estate are held by the British government, and information is available at the following site: proni.nics.gov.uk/records/private/antrim.htm.

The tankard was brought from England by Franklin; inherited by his daughter; it passed to her son, Richard, then to Sophia Burrell Dallas Bache, his widow (d. 1860). Sophia sold it to William Duane, either the husband of Deborah Bache (BF's grand-daughter) or their son, also named William Duane, with the provision that any family member could buy it back.

Mathilda Bache, daughter of Richard Bache and wife of General Wm. H. Emory, did so. She left it to her son, Thomas, and his wife, who left it to their son, Percy Franklin Emory. His widow, Reba C. Emory, left it in her will to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. All of the information about the descent from Franklin to the inheritance by Emory and his wife was engraved on the underside of the tankard in 1887. The tankard is now on deposit at the Atwater Kent Museum.

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