Ben Franklin (Spartanburg Library)

Event details

  • Monday | June 15, 2020
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • Headquarters Library, Barrett Room, 151 S Church St, Spartanburg, SC 29306
  • 864.596.3500

 View Map  |  Cost: Free

Ben Franklin performed by Larry Bounds

Living in the Age of Enlightenment, Ben Franklin was many things: a printer, a postmaster, an ambassador, an author, a scientist, a founding father. Above all, he was an inventor, creating solutions to common problems, innovating new technology, new governments and even making life a little more musical. Franklin upheld science and intellect and reason – scandalous man!

Franklin helped invent and reinvent the American government as well as himself. He was a Loyalist who transformed into a patriot and founding father. He proposed the Albany Plan, mirroring the Iroquois. He drew up the Articles of Confederation uniting the colonies under the British Crown – and then he signed their Declaration of Independence. As the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention, he declared that the new government was a republic – if we can keep it.

Besides his experiments in electricity and inventions of bifocals, swim fins, the Franklin stove and the glass armonica, perhaps Ben Franklin should be best known for helping create a government with the flexibility to reinvent itself.

Opening music: TBA

Larry Bounds has performed on the Chautauqua stage since 2002. Over the years he has portrayed Einstein, Churchill, Disney, Houdini, Crockett, Von Braun, Cronkite, and last year Andrew Jackson to numerous Chautauqua audiences nationwide.

Larry holds a bachelors degree in theatre and a masters in education from The University of Tennessee, and he is a National Board Certified educator. For 35 years he taught public high school. He was awarded his school’s Teacher of the Year in 2003 and was recognized as one of the Upstate’s Most Influential Educators by Parent Magazine in 2018.

He has performed as a professional magician since 1973, including 8 years entertaining with Ripley’s Believe It or Not! The International Brotherhood of Magicians admitted him to the Order of Merlin in 2009. Larry is also an active member of Mensa, the International Churchill Society, and the South Carolina Treasure and Artifact Association.


1706 – Born in Boston

1718 – Apprenticed as printer to brother James

1723 – Ran away to Philadelphia

1732 – Publishes Poor Richard’s Almanack

1747 – Creates America’s first political cartoon

1753 – Honorary doctorates from Harvard and Yale

1757 -1775 colonial representative in London

1776 – Helps draft the Declaration of Independence

1777-1784 – Ambassador to France

1787 – Helps draft US Constitution

1790 – Dies in Philadelphia

Haste makes Waste.

No gains without pains.

He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.

Better slip with foot than tongue.

Well done is better than well said.

What you seem to be, be really.

Pardoning the Bad, is injuring the Good.

Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.

Glass, China, and Reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended.

Wish not so much to live long as to live well.

* The First American: the life and times of Benjamin Franklin by H.W. Brands. (2000) This national bestseller draws upon previously unpublished letters and other sources for a well told biography.

Benjamin Franklin – A Biography by Ronald W. Clark (1883) A well respected volume.

* Benjamin Franklin – An American Life by Walter Isaacson (2003) The current standard text on Franklin.

* The Life of Benjamin Franklin (3 volumes) by J.A. Lemay (2006) An enormous collection of information on Franklin and his times.

Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, J.A. Lemay & P.M. Zall eds, (1986) This is the best starting place for any Franklin study, and the Norton Critical edition has excellent explanatory notes.

* Book of Ages – The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lenore (2013) The surprising story of Franklin’s youngest sister with whom Franklin corresponded his whole life.

* Benjamin Franklin by Edmund S. Morgan (2002) An excellent short introduction to Franklin.

* A Great Improvisation – Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Stacy Schindler (2005) The most thorough look at Franklin in Paris.

* Benjamin Franklin by Carl Van Doren (1938) A joy to read and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. 

(Starred items are available in the Greenville County Library System.)