Shaving bowl, ca. 1750
Photo courtesy of Bostonian...
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Photo courtesy of Bostonian Society/Old State House Museum

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"Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World," Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary traveling exhibition, 2005-2008
There is no contemporary documentation of this bowl having belonged to Franklin, nor clear descent from him. However, it came to the Bostonian Society in 1930 with the story of having been used at a barbershop next door to the Cheshire Cheese in London. It is said to have been prized by Franklin because it was used to shave Dr. Samuel Johnson, who lived around the corner from the pub and patronized it. It was first loaned to the Society in 1914 by its owner, Gorge B. Dexter, then given to them in 1930. According to their curator, Dexter loaned or gave more than 30 artifacts to the society, "mainly Revolutionary War relics or 17th-century heirloooms from the Wyman family of Woburn." Dexter was a Wyman descendant, and wrote The Lure of Amateur Collecting in 1923. Terms of Use Credits