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  Home > American Philosophical Society >

Benjamin Franklin, Swimmer: An Illustrated History (Transactions Vol 110, Part 1
Benjamin Franklin, Swimmer
 
Our Price: $37.00
By Sarah B. Pomeroy
Year: 2021
Binding Paperback
ISBN 978-1-60618-101-0

Product Code: 9781606181010

Description
 

The story of Benjamin Franklinís lifelong delight in swimming and his influence in making swimming popular in the western world has never been told. This book uses Franklinís love of swimming to examine the founderís life, times, and strong, inventive personality through a lens that historians have previously overlooked. Franklinís personality emerges through the lens of swimming. We see him clearly as a leader, an inventor, and a strong, proud man. As he was in many fields, he was self-taught. He interacted with family, friends, and acquaintances through swimming. Swimming also offered him an entrťe into British society.

Franklin discusses swimming in his Letters and in his Autobiography. Friends and family also comment on his swimming. Primary sources for this book include Franklinís writing, that of his contemporaries, and other artistic and archaeological sources. When Franklinís grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache was in his care in France he swam in the Seine. Bacheís Journal constitutes another important primary source for this book. The escapades of this engaging literate teenager in France with his grandfather never before have been published.

In 1968 the International Swimming Hall of Fame honored Franklin with membership. The citation mentions his various inventions that made swimming more efficient and his own feats as a swimmer, but most of all his success in promoting swimming as an essential part of any education. Benjamin Franklinís advice about water safety and his conviction that everyone should learn to swim because it promotes health, hygiene, and safety is still relevant. Swimming has always been ďuseful knowledge.Ē

Sarah B. Pomeroy is Distinguished Professor of Classics and History, Emerita, at Hunter College and the Graduate School, CUNY. She is also Lady Joan Reid Author in Residence at Benjamin Franklin House, London, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. Widely recognized as a pioneer in the fields of womenís history and classical studies, she uses not only textual sources but also artistic and archaeological evidence in order to reconstruct the past. Her publications include Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity (1975, 1995); Women in Hellenistic Egypt from Alexander to Cleopatra (1984, 1990); Spartan Women (2002); The Murder of Regilla. a Case of Domestic Violence in Antiquity (2007); and Pythagorean Women: Their Lives and Their Writings (2013). Her most recent book is Maria Sibylla Merian, Artist, Scientist, Adventurer (2017). Her books have been translated into Italian, Spanish, German, and Chinese. Professor Pomeroy received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and she is an Honorary Fellow of St. Hildaís College, the University of Oxford. Like Ben Franklin, she likes to play the harpsichord and to swim.


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