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Founding Franklin

Read the Revolution: Financier of the Revolution

01 Nov 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Book Review

October 12, 2016 Financier of the Revolution In journalist Charles Rappleye’s hefty biography of Robert Morris, we learn about the rise and fall of one of America’s founding fathers. Morris-a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution-is largely remembered…

Happenings, October 2016

01 Nov 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

October was an exciting month for Benjamin Franklin, and for me as I brought him alive to an usually diverse number of venues, and to an equally diverse group of people. Dr. Franklin greeted the Young Professionals Association, Mid-Atlantic chapter, at Jose Garces’ lovely Spanish…

Read the Revolution: Washington’s Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution

30 Sep 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Book Review

August 31, 2016 Smallwood’s Battalion     Military historian Patrick O’Donnell’s Washington’s Immortals: The Untold Story of an Elite Regiment Who Changed the Course of the Revolution tells the dramatic story of the First Maryland Regiment and the War for Independence. Known as Smallwood’s Battalion, the First Maryland…

Read the Revolution: The Internal Enemy

30 Sep 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Book Review

September 14, 2016 The Internal Enemy Alan Taylor’s The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 addresses the paradoxical and complex subject of slavery in a state dedicated to the ideals of liberty and freedom, yet that still enslaved two-fifths of their population. As…

Benjamin Franklin, Re-Inventor

30 Sep 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

Among his many accomplishments, Benjamin Franklin is probably best known to the average person as an inventor.  Although he spent less of his time at this particular activity than at anything else, and never profited a cent from what we call his inventions ( and…

Happenings, September 2016

29 Sep 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

September has been an enjoyable, if bittersweet month for Dr. Franklin and me.  Enjoyable, because I had the busiest summer season with Historic Philadelphia, Inc. in quite a long time.  My thanks to many people, including the fine men and women of the National Park…

Franklin’s Hoax

31 Aug 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

Benjamin Franklin was a brilliant satirist, and was fond of producing a hoax with a moralistic purpose. In this article from Founders Online, he is seen promoting tolerance, and in the process, having fun fooling his friends. This is a great read for summer. Enjoy!…

What Does Religious Freedom Mean To You?

31 Aug 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Press

This summer, I visited the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Their “It’s Your Story” booth is a place to record personal and family stories as well as reflect on the major themes presented in the Museum. I took a moment and recorded some…

Happenings, August 2016

30 Aug 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

Hello, friends. August was busy, and may I say, unusual? We are in the process of wrapping up the summer season at Historic Philadelphia, Inc. It has been a wonderful summer, having the funding to return historical interpretation to the streets of Philadelphia in a…

Read the Revolution: Women of the Republic

30 Aug 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Book Review, Press

August 17, 2016 Women of the Republic First published in 1980, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America is now considered both a foundational text in the field of women’s history and a defining work for the history of early America. In…

Happenings, July 2016

31 Jul 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

July has been an exciting month for Benjamin Franklin. First, as always, the celebrations surrounding the 4th of July were special. On July 3, I appeared with Betsy Ross on the Fox News Channel to wish much of the nation a wonderful holiday. On the…

Teaching Franklin

31 Jul 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

It was my privilege, as it has been in the past, to work with my good friend Dr. George Boudreau, director of Public History of LaSalle University, for the past two weeks. George conducted a National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored seminar, entitled Teaching Franklin….

Ben Franklin and Religious Liberty

31 Jul 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

One of my pleasures this summer has been appearing as Benjamin Franklin on Tuesday mornings at Christ Church, and in the afternoon in the National Museum of American Jewish History. This echoes Dr. Franklin’s view of religion, one that acknowledges the legitimacy of each view….

HAPPENINGS, JUNE 2016

28 Jun 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

HAPPENINGS, JUNE 2016 June has been a busy month for Bill and Dr. Franklin. In addition to the always wonderful Independence After Hours shows in Independence Hall and the Tipplers Tours, both with Historic Philadelphia, Inc., I have been in various locations in the Old…

BEING BEN FRANKLIN

28 Jun 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

BEING BEN FRANKLIN Having been Ben for nearly fifteen years, and an actor for forty years, I am constantly reminded of what happens when one gets inside a character. It is my life’s work these days to become Dr. Franklin as much as possible, in…

What would Franklin think?

25 May 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

  What would Franklin think?   Of all the varied things that I get to do as Benjamin Franklin, one of my favorite is interacting with students, especially when they have taken the time and energy to seek my help on a school project. At…

HAPPENINGS, MAY 2016

25 May 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

HAPPENINGS, MAY 2016   I am not sure how this has happened, but another month has sneaked by, and so it is time to update you on my exploits as Benjamin Franklin. We began the month with a photo shoot celebrating the beginning of National…

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, AMERICAN

30 Apr 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, AMERICAN Most Americans, more than likely, think of Benjamin Franklin as distinctly American, and indeed he was. He was born in the American colonies, in Boston, Massachusetts. He moved to Philadelphia at the age of seventeen. Although he traveled extensively out of the…

BILL ROBLING AS BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

29 Apr 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

This month I would like to suggest some reading materials. One of the things I like to do in this newsletter is to share new and interesting discoveries on the subject of history. If you can get access to the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and…

HAPPENINGS, APRIL 2016

29 Apr 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

HAPPENINGS, APRIL 2016 April has been an exciting month for me as Benjamin Franklin. Historic Philadelphia, Inc. has staged several evenings of Independence After Hours, in which Dr. Franklin interacts with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and others in Independence Hall. I have done a photo…

American Revolution Museum is coming

25 Mar 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

The new American Revolution Museum is coming to Philadelphia next year. Meanwhile they are publishing wonderful historical articles.  Of note recently is a piece about a new book called Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring. It centers on The Culper Ring, a secret…

Bill Robling as Benjamin Franklin

25 Mar 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

BILL ROBLING AS BENJAMIN FRANKLIN March 2016 I am constantly rewarded with new information and inspiration in my work as Benjamin Franklin.  This month I became aware of a new book about Franklin’s time in London (a book review will follow soon). Contrary to what…

MARCH 2016 | HAPPENINGS

25 Mar 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

MARCH 2016 | HAPPENINGS The winter doldrums have finally come to an end, and Dr. Franklin has emerged from the darkness.  While the quieter times are wonderful for study and reflection, costume repair and replacement and such, I am only happy when busy being Dr….

FEBRUARY 2016 | HAPPENINGS

23 Feb 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

FEBRUARY 2016 | HAPPENINGS Well, folks, it is mid-February, and I do not have my usual list of Franklin activities to report. This is typically not the busiest of months for me as Dr. Franklin, but it is, nevertheless, a productive time. This slowest of…

Bill Robling as Benjamin Franklin

23 Feb 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Bill Robling as Benjamin Franklin In this newsletter and blog, I try to talk each month about my interpretation of Benjamin Franklin. One ongoing process in historical interpretation is distinguishing between oneself and one’s character. The frequent question that I get from my spouse is,…

Special Guest Blogger: Dave Loda

19 Feb 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Diversity in First Person Interpretations As a Gemini-Cancer cusp I have found much satisfaction, and dare I say, delight, in portraying a plethora of historical figures. I have had the honor to present and educate people in venues from Boston to Washington DC. My multi-faceted…

WHEN DO YOU NEED BENJAMIN FRANKLIN?

28 Jan 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

WHEN DO YOU NEED BENJAMIN FRANKLIN? When conversing with people about what I do, I am often asked how often anyone would need to hire Benjamin Franklin. There seems to be a limited view of the scope of possibilities for such an interaction. Please allow…

Bill Robling’s January 2016 Happenings

28 Jan 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

Bill Robling’s January 2016 Happenings   January has been, as is usually the case, a time for catching up with Bill’s life, as opposed to Ben’s. Reading and research are crucial to what I do, and January is ideal for that. As I do not…

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, FACT AND FICTION

28 Jan 2016, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, FACT AND FICTION When I interpret Benjamin Franklin, I encounter people with varying degrees of knowledge about the man. Sometimes the person is a foreign visitor, with little or no consciousness of Benjamin Franklin. Occasionally, and wonderfully, I meet someone with a vast…

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, SATIRICAL WRITER

23 Dec 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, SATIRICAL WRITER Over the past several months, I have focused on various aspects of Benjamin Franklin’s life and work. Most of these observations were based on serious accomplishments in Franklin’s life. There is, however, a very significant item on Dr. Franklin’s resume which…

Bill Robling’s Many Facets

22 Dec 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Bill Robling’s Many Facets In this blog I am always pointing out Benjamin Franklin’s diverse interests and accomplishments. I attempt to bring the same diversity and flexibility to my portrayal of Dr. Franklin. You will never find me to be just a man dressed up…

December 2015 Happenings

22 Dec 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

December 2015 Happenings The past month has certainly exemplified the diversity that I refer to in this newsletter. My work has ranged from appearing for the eleventh season in Historic Philadelphia’s “Independence After Hours” in Independence Hall, to singing “All I Want For Christmas Is…

Bill Robling in Franklin’s Shadow

30 Nov 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Bill Robling in Franklin’s Shadow I am constantly amazed, and humbled, by the burden of portraying Benjamin Franklin. It is, of course, a great honor and a delight. When I consider, however, how many people are either portraying. or depicting, Franklin as a cartoon figure…

November 2015 Happenings

30 Nov 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

This month finds me engaged in several performances of the delightful Historic Philadelphia tour, Independence After Hours, in which John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and I put the finishing touches on the Declaration of Independence in the Pennsylvania State House, aka Independence Hall before visitors who…

Passionate Pursuit of Portrayal

30 Oct 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Passionate Pursuit of Portrayal I have been interpreting the life of Benjamin Franklin for the past thirteen years. I am frequently asked why I engage in such a pursuit. Many questions that I am asked require careful thought in order to answer them, but not…

October 2015 Happenings

29 Oct 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

October 2015 Happenings The past month has been a busy time for Dr. Franklin, and typically diverse. There were the less “historical’ events where Benjamin Franklin is present because, well, it just isn’t Philadelphia without Ben Franklin. Along with Thomas Jefferson (the wonderful Steve Edenbo),…

A Useful Life

28 Sep 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

A Useful Life I have written several articles during the publication of this monthly newsletter, but this month I would like to share an article that was sent to me by a friend. I thank Sandy Lloyd, historian at Historic Philadelphia, for making me aware…

A 21st Century Message

28 Sep 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

A 21st Century Message When portraying Ben Franklin, it is always my intent to stay in character, being a “first-person” interpreter. Given, however, that I am called upon to do so many different things in that character, including events that lean more toward entertainment than…

September 2015 Happenings

28 Sep 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

September 2015 Happenings The end of August, and the beginning of September, has been a busy time for Dr. Franklin. There was Chadds Ford Days, on the Brandywine Battlefield, commemorating that battle in our war of Independence, and celebrating the lovely little historic town of…

Being Ben Franklin

04 Sep 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Being Ben Franklin “Aren’t you dead?” “You’re not Benjamin Franklin. You’re lying!” These are a couple of the comments that I get, mostly from children, but not always. But I also get, “Wow, you look just like him.” And, “Thank you. This is such a…

Benjamin Franklin and Religion

04 Sep 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

Benjamin Franklin and Religion So much is made today of the religious beliefs in the lives of public figures, especially politicians and political candidates. It seems that one almost has to declare strong Christian alliances in order to satisfy certain audiences, whether one seems to…

August 2015 Happenings

04 Sep 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

August 2015 Happenings July, post-4th, and August have been busy with the always enjoyable meet-and-greets at the Historic Philadelphia Center, and season eleven of the ever-popular Independence After Hours tour, which ends in a wonderful program at Independence Hall. This week I traveled to the…

July 2015 Happenings

30 Jul 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

  My July report begins at the end of June, with the Tall Ships Festival on the Philadelphia waterfront. Dr. Franklin spent the day meeting and greeting guests from all over, and crews from visiting ships. It was an international affair, and a delight. The…

Being Benjamin Franklin

30 Jul 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Being Benjamin Franklin I have spent the past thirteen years portraying Dr. Franklin, and interpreting his life. A big part of that work involves spending hundreds upon hundreds of hours studying the man and the life, as well as the times that Franklin lived in….

Bill Robling as Benjamin Franklin

30 Jun 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Bill Robling as Benjamin Franklin Bill Robling has shared his unique interpretation and portrayal of Dr. Franklin for the past thirteen years, both in Philadelphia and beyond. He has worked with Historic Philadelphia, Inc., The American Historical Theatre, The National Park Service, The Independence Visitor…

June 2015 Happenings

30 Jun 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

The past month or two have been busy times, as we usher in the spring and summer season in the historic district of Philadelphia, and all around. Dr. Franklin once again visited Elfreth’s Alley for their annual Spring Fete, a major fund-raiser for the Association….

Benjamin Franklin and Travel

30 Jun 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

It seems that nearly everyone knows, or thinks he knows, something about Benjamin Franklin. Of course, much of the “knowledge” that is circulated in our time is based on innuendo, gossip or poor scholarship. The wonderful thing about Dr. Franklin’s life and accomplishments is that…

May 2015 Happenings

26 May 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

Spring seems to finally be awakening, and so does Dr. Franklin’s schedule.   Despite winter’s challenges, I had some memorable events during the recent months. I visited a book club in the Society Hill neighborhood, highlighted by hostess Susan Behrend’s delightful Franklin-inspired menu. The club had…

Bill Robling as Benjamin Franklin

26 May 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Bill Robling has been interpreting the life and personage of Benjamin Franklin for over thirteen years. An actor for nearly forty years, Bill is a serious and passionate student of history, with a commitment to bringing that history to life in a personal, accurate, sometimes…

The Education of Benjamin Franklin

26 May 2015, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

This month we will examine how Benjamin Franklin, a man with only two years of formal education, became one of the most widely published writers, thinkers and scientists of the eighteenth century. There were many influences in Franklin’s long life, but I want to concentrate…

Benjamin Franklin and Women

24 Sep 2014, Posted by Founding Franklin in The Franklin You Thought You Knew

As I portray and interpret Benjamin Franklin to all sorts of people and groups, one aspect of Dr. Franklin’s life and work almost always rears its head.  People want to talk about his relationships with, and conduct toward women.  Franklin did, of course, interact with…

Bill Robling as Benjamin Franklin

24 Sep 2014, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

Bill Robling has been portraying and interpreting Benjamin Franklin for more than a dozen years, and has been acting for nearly forty years.  As a serious student of history, Bill has logged thousands of hours of research into the life of Franklin and his contemporaries,…

September 2014 Happenings

20 Sep 2014, Posted by Founding Franklin in What's Happening

September has been a busy month for Benjamin Franklin.  I have been engaged in greeting corporate and foundation gatherings, including the Retina Society, the Board of Directors of the Hersha Hospitality Group, and many others.  I participated with Gen. George Washington in the Grand Opening…

Bill Robling as a Student of Benjamin Franklin

14 Aug 2014, Posted by Founding Franklin in Get To Know Bill Robling

I come to the study of Benjamin Franklin with a background of nearly forty years as an actor, having also worked as a middle school teacher, and as a corporate training professional.  Most important, I have logged thousands of hours studying Benjamin Franklin and his…

August 2014 Happenings

14 Aug 2014, Posted by Founding Franklin in Uncategorized, What's Happening

It is the beginning of August.  I am currently engaged in a project that I’ve been involved with since its inception ten seasons ago.  Working with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and others on the Independence After Hours tour for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.  It is a…