April 2, 1722

Benjamin Franklin Introduces "Silence Dogood"

Greater Boston

On this day in 1722, the Boston paper The Courant first published a letter from a widow with a keen wit and a gift for satire. Every few weeks, another letter from "Silence Dogood" appeared. The city was captivated by the lady's willingness to poke fun at institutions as illustrious as Harvard. After six months, "Silence Dogood" fell silent. Even James Franklin, The Courant's publisher, did not know who she was or what had become of her. When her identity was revealed, Boston was amused but James Franklin was not. "Silence Dogood" was his 16-year-old brother Benjamin, an apprentice in his print shop. The brothers parted ways, and Benjamin Franklin left his native city for Philadelphia, which now claims him as its own.


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