"Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World," Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary traveling exhibition, 2005-2008
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)
Given to HSP by Miss Cornelia J. Carll, June 13, 1899. A letter that accompanied it, from Samuel R. Shipley to John W. Jordan, Assistant Librarian of the Society, describes Miss Carll as "an old friend of my wife," calls the vessel an ink-stand, and describes it as "having first belonged to William Penn and afterwards having become the property of Benjamin Franklin." The inkstand's ownership by both Penn and Franklin is impossible, because of its probable date of manufacture and Franklin's political relationship with the Penn family. The object could have been owned in the Franklin household and bought at one of the several sales conducted by the Bache family in the years following Franklin's death. By that time, Franklin's status as an icon would have given the inkstand "souvenir value." Quite apart from its putative ownership, it is an attractive and rare survival of the sort of object that was once essential to the conduct of daily life in a genteel household.