Large pictorial broadside featuring 24 vignettes illustrating sayings from Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack in oval vignettes surrounding a central portrait of Franklin. The almanac was founded by Franklin in 1732 under the name of Richard Saunders; he continued to publish it for about 25 years. Combining entertainment and practical information, Poor Richard's Almanack proved both popular and profitable, and as the existence of this print attests, many of Franklin's maxims were passed down to later generations as sage advice for young people and are now classic Americana.
Franklin was also a beloved figure beyond American shores. A compendium of Poor Richard's proverbs under the title The Way to Wealth was translated into numerous foreign languages and published in various formats. The first version of this print was an engraving published in 1795 in England, by Bowles and Carver, London, as Bowles's Moral Pictures, or Poor Richard Illustrated. Another version was published apparently shortly thereafter by Bancks & Co. in Manchester, England. The artist was Robert Dighton, an illustrator and caricaturist who frequently worked with Bowles. As of 1905, Dighton's original watercolors for the print were in the collection of Richard Hoe, New York.
The revised American version was produced by Samuel A. Allen and Thomas R. Holland with the same basic layout except that the portrait of Franklin was replaced, enlarged and moved to the center, the title omitted the reference to Bowles, typefaces were updated, and foliate decoration was added between the ovals. A later American version of the Allen and Holland print was published in 1887 by Thomas O.H. Perry, Boston.
(surrounding portrait) B. Franklin. L.L.D and F.R.S. Born at Boston. Jan'y 17th 1706. Died at Philad'a. Apr'l 17th 1790.
(lower center margin) Entered according to act of Congress in the Year 1859 by Samuel L. Allen and Thos. R. Holland in the Clerks Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
(lower right margin) Engraved by O. Pelton
Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned, deacidified, flattened; now only with light remnants of toning, wear, handling, soft creases. Few short marginal tears and chips restored, now unobtrusive, as backed on Japanese tissue for support. Platemark not present, possibly as issued.
"Bowles's Moral Pictures, 1796?" The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, Franklin and Marshall College. 2008. http://www.benfranklin300.org/frankliniana/result.php?id=551&sec=1 (14 January 2011).
Shipman, Carolyn. A Catalogue of Books in English later than 1700, forming a portion of the Library of Robert Hoe New York 1905. Vol. 1. New York: 1905, p. 281. Online at Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=0uM5AAAAMAAJ (17 January 2011).