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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

by Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Characters

Meet the Cast


Benjamin Franklin

Franklin is the main character of this book and, in many ways, he's its only real, three-dimensional, fully fleshed-out character. Other people pass through and are mentioned, in ways they relate t...

Sir William Keith

Governor Keith is one of the "worst" characters in the book, but even he can't keep Franklin down for long. When he first appears in the text, Keith seems like an awesome mentor. He encourages Fran...

James Franklin

Franklin's admittedly biased in this portrait of his brother: he paints James as a cruel, bossy older brother who treats the very young Franklin terribly. But we can't exactly condone the way James...

Josiah Franklin

Even though he doesn't show up much in the autobiography, Franklin's father instills a lot of valuable traits in him and leaves a big impression on him. For example, Josiah teaches his son to value...

William Franklin

Franklin directs the first portion of his Autobiography as a letter to his first-born son, William. William doesn't appear much in the text, though, just peripherally as a "son" accompanying Frankl...

Deborah Read

We learn almost nothing about Franklin's wife, Deborah, and most of what we know comes peripherally. For example, she sees him on Franklin first day in Philadelphia, walking down the street holding...

Mr. Denham

Denham has a small but important role as the friend and benefactor who helps Franklin out during his first trip to England. He impresses Franklin with his Quaker sensibilities when they meet on Fra...

Governor Denny

Governor Denny is really more of a catalyst, or an excuse for making things happen, than a character. He first gets to know Franklin when the latter's being honored by the Royal Society, and basica...

General Braddock

General Braddock is notable for his interactions with Franklin during the French and Indian War. He's smart enough to realize, when his army needs supplies, that he should ask someone like Franklin...

John Collins

John Collins is one of Franklin's childhood besties, and his first writing buddy/intellectual companion. Early in the book, they have this sort of idyllic, long distance epistolary (a fancy way of...

Peter Collinson

To Franklin, Collinson is a fellow scientist and inventor. They meet in Philadelphia, where Collinson gets Franklin interested in experimenting with glass tubes. They become good friends and Collin...

Samuel Hemphill

Of all the religious figures Franklin meets, Hemphill's one of the few that gets him into church. Hemphill is, Franklin thinks, a great preacher who really concentrates on virtue. So many other pre...

George Whitefield

Franklin seems almost more fascinated by Whitefield as a talented talker than as a preacher. In contrast his reaction to Hemphill, Franklin's more interested in how Whitefield preaches and enjoys w...

Samuel Keimer

Keimer is Franklin's first real boss who's not a family member. Although Franklin originally goes to Philadelphia in hopes of working for another printer there, Andrew Bradford, he ends up as Keime...

Hugh Meredith

Another of Franklin's friends and sometimes business partners, Meredith meets him when they're both working for Keimer. Meredith's a paradox, an Oxford-educated guy who's ended up as an indentured...

Abel James and Benjamin Vaughan

Franklin begins Part 2 of his Autobiography by including letters from these two friends of his. All we really know about them is that they both think Franklin should keep writing, and he takes thei...

Andrew Bradford

Franklin originally goes to Philadelphia hoping to work for Bradford, but Bradford doesn't have any openings. They're cordial competitors and Franklin will later replace him as Postmaster.

James Ralph

Another of Franklin's friends, Ralph travels with him to England when they're young men. He's bad with money and is always borrowing from Franklin. Even though he's married, he abandons his wife an...

General Loudon

General Loudon delays Franklin when he's on his way to England to argue on behalf of the Assembly.
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