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Finding Benjamin Franklin: A Resource Guide

The Autobiography in Print: Early Editions

Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, known variously as a Life or Memoirs before the 1840s, has an unusual and complicated publication history, with several competing versions of the text in circulation at once. Read this guide's introduction to Franklin's Autobiography for background information on its complex early history, and to learn about the four parts of the text.

The Library's Benjamin Franklin Collection in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division consists of 850 titles written, printed, edited, or published by Benjamin Franklin.

The Benjamin Franklin Collection includes many early editions of Franklin's Autobiography, among them these significant versions, in chronological order:

Early Editions

Earliest European Versions

Earliest American Editions

Editions Toward the Publication of Franklin's Full Text