Library chair with folding steps, 1760-1780
Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004
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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
"An Image of Benjamin Franklin," Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1963.
Philadelphia Masons' Exhibition at the Bi-centenary of Benjamin Franklin," 1906, no. 74.
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, "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)

During his last years, Franklin presided over the American Philosophical Society when it met in his house, to avoid his having to leave home to attend meetings. After his death, the members asked his family for the chair. Richard Bache, Franklin's son-in-law, presented it on February 2, 1792. The chair was used by Presidents of the American Philosophical Society until April 24, 1931, when Francis Xavier Dercum died in it while conducting a meeting.

A descendant of Franklin owns a replica commissioned in 1906 by her grandfather, Samuel Bryan Scott. Columbia University owns a lolling or open-arm chair (see entry in this database) that is superficially similar, but is lacking the stepladder-like addition. That chair's provenance is: from Mrs. William Bache (Catherine Wister) to Dr. David Hosack to the Literary and Philosophical Society of New York to Columbia University. A note in the Franklin research files at the Independence National Historical Park library refers to a letter from architect Charles McKim (of the firm of McKim, Mead and White) to sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens which suggests that St. Gaudens had a copy of this chair. (This had not been checked as of 2006). Terms of Use Credits