Six years ago a small group of practical minded men sat down together to consider how Benjamin Franklin's philosophies of life could be refocused as a guide in these uncertain times.
The group concluded that The Franklin Institute could, and should undertake that duty; and by such methods as seemed practical, and likely to arouse attention, should reincarnate interest in Franklin's homely virtues of Honesty, Thrift, and Respect for Law.
A member of our Board of Managers, who wishes to remain anonymous, generously put a sum of money at our disposal. With some of this money we published, under the title Profile of Genius," a set of nine booklets in which Franklin tells in his own words his experiences in several fields, including war and peace, religion, and government.
Another enterprise, undertaken in 1939, and made possible by the same fund, was a series of "Meet Dr. Franklin" gatherings. In this we had the cooperation of the American Philosophical Society and the Pennsylvania Historical Society. Thirteen gentlemen, each of whom could speak authoritatively, were chosen from over the country to discuss Franklin's place in the several branches of human activity. It is this series of talks which is collectively printed in this volume, the papers having been printed individually in The Journal of The Franklin Institute during the past two years.
Two years ago a National Franklin Committee was started by The Franklin Institute to further disseminate knowledge about Franklin and his times. Under this organization information has been put to use all over the country--by schools, businesses and youth groups, among the many.
Franklin, together with Washington and Lincoln, is the first of the great American trilogy. To many he is the