Benjamin Franklin Day is celebrated on January 17 every year, to pay tribute to one of the greatest Founding Fathers of the U.S. on the anniversary of his birth. Franklin was a notable polymath of his time. He was a poet, politician, scientist, writer, diplomat, statesman, political philosopher, printer, publisher, and inventor. He is best known for co-drafting the Declaration of Independence. He is also one of the most important founding figures of America. He is also the only Founding Father who signed all four key documents that laid the foundation for the U.S.
For those of you who did not know how big a deal he was, just take a look at $100 bills, commonly known as ‘Benjamins’. The number of hats Benjamin Franklin wore is mind-boggling, with inventor, author, printer, politician, musician, diplomat, and scientist being but a few. So join us as we dive into the life of this polymath — someone who is an expert in many different subject areas. He was a man of many exceptional talents, and that fact alone is worth celebrating.
History of Benjamin Franklin Day
Though the origin or founding of Benjamin Franklin Day is not known to us, it is worthwhile deep-diving straight into the life of the man himself to better understand why he so richly deserves a day of his own, especially for the contributions he made to society at large. The day has been created to honor a man, born of humble circumstances, who quickly worked his way up in the world while making immense contributions that would go down in history. Since he was a man with his fingers in many an important pie, we’ve highlighted some of his key accomplishments according to category.
Science — Benjamin Franklin made many contributions to studies in the field of electricity, with his most notable one being the invention of the lightning rod, in 1752. He also coined common terms related to electronics today, such as ‘battery,’ ‘charge,’ ‘conductor,’ and ‘electrify.’ In the 1740s his scientific pamphlets helped found the American Philosophical Society, the first of its kind in the colonies. He also invented bifocals and the Franklin stove.
Education — In 1731, Franklin founded the first subscription library, the Library Company of Philadelphia. In 1741, his pamphlet on the need to educate youth in Pennsylvania resulted in the founding of the modern-day University of Pennsylvania, which remains one of the top schools in the country.
Civics — In 1757, he began to serve as a representative for Pennsylvania and by the 1770s, he also became the first American Ambassador to France. He also was a part of the committee of five who were responsible for drafting and signing the Declaration of Independence. Another feather to his cap was becoming the first Postmaster General of the United States, and he was put on the first U.S. postage stamp after his death.
All this, and more, from a man who dropped out of school, but continued on an enduring path of learning, sticking to his guns, and committing to making the world a better place. It’s no wonder he gets a day all to himself!
Benjamin Franklin Day timeline
Benjamin Franklin is born on January 17 to an English soap- and candlemaker, Josiah Franklin.
Ben Franklin purchases the Pennsylvania Gazette and makes a fortune publishing under the pseudonym Richard Saunders.
He founds the country’s first subscription library so people can expand their reading choices.
Published annually for 25 years, Franklin’s almanac (written under a pseudonym) becomes the most widely read book in the American colonies.
He invents a fireplace that provides more heat while at the same time using less fuel, making it most efficient.
He provides one of the most accurate models of storm cloud movement over the northern hemisphere.
Franklin discovers the Gulf Stream, and this discovery helps cut two weeks off the sailing time from Europe to North America.
Ben Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence after he requested important changes in several drafts.
Benjamin Franklin Day FAQs
Was Ben Franklin a President?
Ben Franklin never held the office of the presidency. By the time the constitution was drafted, he was considered too old to be president. He was over 80, and he died 2 years later.
Why is Franklin on the $100 bill?
Arguably, thanks to all his contributions to society at large, Franklin can be considered the most important of the Founding Fathers. The U.S. Declaration of Independence is a groundbreaking document, which is integral to how the nation was developed, hence it only makes sense to memorialize him by putting his image on a bill of high value.
Why does Ben Franklin have two birthdays?
Franklin was born on January 6, 1706. But the British calendar switched from Julian to Georgian, and this caused a difference of 11 days. So Ben Franklin’s birthday became January 17.
What is the Powerful Goodness?
People have many different names for God, and Powerful Goodness was what Franklin referred to God as. Though he was a man of faith, the theology of his times did not particularly appeal to him, so he maintained his spirituality by directly being in touch with Powerful Goodness every day.
How long did Benjamin Franklin sleep?
Franklin slept seven hours a day. His bedtime was at 10 p.m. and he would be up at the crack of dawn, at 5 a.m.
How to Celebrate Benjamin Franklin Day
Volunteer as a firefighter
Benjamin Franklin started the first volunteer fire department in America. Volunteer with the local fire department to celebrate the accomplishments of Ben Franklin. If you are unable to do it yourself, collaborate with others who can.
Make your own daily schedule
One of the most popular aspects of Franklin’s legacy is his daily schedule, which enabled him to find enough hours in the day to live such a full life. Start by studying his daily schedule and adapting it to make your own. There’s no time like the present to start living more productively!
Create a costume-themed event
There are lots of frontiers graced by the wisdom of Ben Franklin. Create a themed event with your friends to celebrate the day. People can all wear a costume related to Franklin's work that they adore the most.
5 Important Productivity Lessons From Franklin’s Daily Schedule
Keep it simple
Benjamin Franklin kept his schedule super simple, but he asked himself one question at the start of every day — “What good shall I do this day?” — and made sure that sleep was included in blocked time.
Early to bed and early to rise
Not only did he coin the popular saying “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” but he also lived by it.
Franklin made sure his evenings were spent leisurely, and there is scientific evidence to indicate that this re-energizes the brain and body.
Take out time to reflect
Reflecting on the day gone by, in order to assess whether one’s goal has been met, can be a great way to plan for improvements for the next day.
Set an intention and plan for the day
Franklin asked himself one question every day and this kind of goal-setting can help one stay focused and on track.
Why We Love Benjamin Franklin Day
Valuable lessons for life
The rich life of Franklin can bring out many valuable lessons for life, particularly from his literary works, which are full of virtues and good habits. Take time out to go through his daily schedule, in particular.
Witticisms and proverbs
We love that Franklin has coined some of the best-loved proverbs and sayings of all time. Some examples include “Better slip with foot than tongue,” “Well done is better than well said,” “No gains without pains,” and our personal favorite, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
As skilled as anyone can be
Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents. He is noted as a polymath with expertise in various fields and matters. His scientific discoveries are still inspiring and his political observations are still valid. What more can a person do?
Benjamin Franklin Day dates