Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), 1936; no. 319
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)
Given by Franklin to New Yorker Elkanah Watson (1758-1842), who had served as his emissary in Paris. A letter from Watson to William Temple Franklin, December 25, 1782, requests "a suit, of your Grandfather's Old Cloaths, that never can be of any service to him, or any Body else - to be plain - Madam [Patience] Wright has fabricated (I think) a most striking Likeness of him in Wax in my Possession - which I wish to sitt up in my Study - dressed in his own Cloaths." A tag attached to the clothing gives the following slightly different history: "This may certify that in the year 1781, being at Paris, in France, the celebrated Mrs. Wright executed for me an excellent likeness in wax of the immortal Dr. Benjamin Franklin. Dining with her at the Doctor's, in Passy, and on comparing the heads, I suggested that such a head deserved a suit of his own clothes, on which he rang for his servant, directing him to bring the suit he wore...in the year of the signing of the famous Treaty of Alliance between France and America, in February, 1778. [signed] Elkanah Watson. The fact of his wearing these clothes related to the year, not the precise time, he signed the celebrated instrument." In a later letter, sent from Albany April 14, 1803, Watson wrote: "I beg you will please to note in my certificate [that] the fact of his wearing these clothes related to the YEAR, not the precise time, he signed that celebrated instrument..."