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Masonic Temple Opens Doors to the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Lecture Series
December 29, 2005

CONTACT: Jamie Lyons Alta Communications 215-790-7800

Distinguished UCLA Professor and Author Discusses Franklin and his Connection to the Origins of Freemasonry

On Thursday, January 5, 2006, the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, a private non-profit organization created to mark the 300-year anniversary of Franklinís birth, invites you inside the ornate Masonic Temple of the Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania for a free lecture entitled Franklin, Freemason. Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History at UCLA, will explore the origins of Freemasonry and Ben Franklinís role in its founding. The lecture will take place at 6:00 p.m. in the Oriental Hall of the Masonic Temple and is made possible through the generosity of the John Templeton Foundation and its support of the five-part Tercentenary Lecture Series focusing on important, but often neglected or distorted issues that shaped and formed Benjamin Franklinís life.

Ms. Jacobís talk will center on Freemasonryís development in England and Scotland after 1650, and then address Franklin as a Freemason, and Freemasonry in 18th-century America. Distinguished professor and author of the new book, The Origins of Freemasonry, Ms. Jacob will use the Masonic Temple as the ideal setting to share her knowledge and expertise on Franklin and his intricate connection to Masonic beliefs and culture. The talk will highlight Franklinís prominence in the start and eventual solidification of the movement in the region. According to Ms. Jacob, whose research focuses on freethinkers and Freemasons and their ties to Newtonian beliefs, ďIt was so badly researched and so interesting that I felt that serious scholars had to take it up as a subject. I also found new archives never before used.Ē

Ms. Jacob will focus on links to Franklinís Masonic beliefs and the actual birth of democracy in our nation. She will also explore suggested Masonic symbols that surround our culture today and the truth about their origin and meaning. The lecture will begin with a welcome from the Grand Master of the Masonic Temple and will be followed by a question-and-answer session as well as refreshments.

Margaret C. Jacob was born in New York City and earned her B.A. from St. Josephís College and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Ms. Jacobís research and interest in Freemasonry have taken her all over the world in order to better understand an underdeveloped yet fascinating topic.

Reservations are required for this free event. Please RSVP to Nicola Twilley at 215-557-0733, ext. 410.

About the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary: The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, a non-profit organization supported by a lead grant of $4 million from The Pew Charitable Trusts, was established to mark the 300-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklinís birth (1706-2006) with a celebration dedicated to educating the public about his enduring legacy and inspiring renewed appreciation of the values he embodied. The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary was founded in 2000 by a consortium of five Philadelphia cultural institutions: the American Philosophical Society, The Franklin Institute, The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, an Act of Congress in 2002 created the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission, a panel of fifteen outstanding Americans chosen to study and recommend programs to celebrate Franklin's 300th birthday. The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary can be found online at