Listen to "Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network" on Spreaker.
Published On: Fri, Jun 22nd, 2018

Rix Quinn’s Morning Story: Ben Franklin

This column was originally scheduled for publication on June 16, 2018 and missed publication.

A young 16-year-old Ben Franklin is apprenticed to his older brother James, a printer who also publishes the New England Courant, a Boston newspaper.

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin done by Joseph S. Duplessis circa 1785. (Courtesy photo, National Portrait Gallery)

Ben wants to write for this paper, but doesn’t want his brother to know. What can he do?

Well, he writes a letter to the editor under the name of Silence Dogood, a widow. He doesn’t mail the letter, but instead slips it under the door of the Courant office.

Readers love the letter, and many more follow. Ben offers all sorts of thoughts and advice under this pseudonym. Brother James eventually finds out about it, but by then Ben has proven to himself that he’s got remarkable abilities as a writer.

So begins Ben’s writing career, which peaks with the publication of Poor Richards’s Almanac, a perennial best-seller in the colonies.

Writer, inventor, scientist, patriot. And it all began the moment a teenage boy first delivered a letter to a newspaper under the name of a middle-aged woman.

DENTAL INSURANCE. Call Physicians Mutual Insurance Company for details. NOT just a discount plan. REAL coverage for 350 procedures. Call 855-402-7556 or go to Not available in the following states: MN, MT, NH, NM, RI, VT and WA.

About the Author

- Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.

Rix Quinn’s Morning Story: Ben Franklin