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Poor Jane's Almanac [View All]

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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-24-11 10:26 AM
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Poor Jane's Almanac
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/opinion/24lepore.html...

<snip>
Franklin, whos on the $100 bill, was the youngest of 10 sons. Nowhere on any legal tender is his sister Jane, the youngest of seven daughters; she never traveled the way to wealth. He was born in 1706, she in 1712. Their father was a Boston candle-maker, scraping by. Massachusetts Poor Law required teaching boys to write; the mandate for girls ended at reading. Benny went to school for just two years; Jenny never went at all.

<snip>
At 17, he ran away from home. At 15, she married: she was probably pregnant, as were, at the time, a third of all brides. She and her brother wrote to each other all their lives: they were each others dearest friends. (He wrote more letters to her than to anyone.) His letters are learned, warm, funny, delightful; hers are misspelled, fretful and full of sorrow. Nothing but troble can you her from me, she warned. Its extraordinary that she could write at all.

<snip>
Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia in 1790, at the age of 84. In his will, he left Jane the house in which she lived. And then he made another bequest, more lasting: he gave one hundred pounds to the public schools of Boston.

Jane Mecom died in that house in 1794. Later, during a political moment much like this one, when American politics was animated by self-serving invocations of the founders, her house was demolished to make room for a memorial to Paul Revere.

......more
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