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The Life And Opinions Of Benjamin Franklin’s ‘Other Half’23:00
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The rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, written by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin before adoption by Congress. (AP)
The rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, written by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin before adoption by Congress. (AP)
This article is more than 4 years old.

For the Fourth of July, we listen back to our favorite conversations about founding figures of American history — not necessarily founding fathers, because one figure is a very interesting woman: Benjamin Franklin's sister, Jane Franklin Mecom.

The pair were known as "Jenny and Benny" as kids, and their correspondence indicates that they loved each other dearly well into adulthood. The letters also reveal that Jane spelled poorly and never learned how to hold a pen properly. She married at 15 and had 12 children, only one of whom survived her.

So, if Ben Franklin was the legendary, revolutionary "every man," historian Jill Lepore writes that Jane was "everyone else."

Lepore, a professor of history at Harvard University and a staff writer for The New Yorker, tells Jane's life story in "Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin."

This conversation was originally broadcast on October 21, 2013.

Guest

Jill Lepore, professor of history at Harvard University and a staff writer for The New Yorker. Author of "Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin."

This segment aired on July 4, 2016.

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