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The Pursuit of History

"Poor Richard's Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father" - Signed by the author, Nancy Rubin Stuart

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Poor Richard's Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father, signed by the author


Hardcover (224 pages), brand new and signed by the author, Nancy Rubin Stuart.

All proceeds go to The Pursuit of History, a non-profit organization

Short Description

Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin—the thrifty inventor-statesman of the Revolutionary era—but not about his love life. Poor Richard’s Women reveals the long-neglected voices of the women Ben loved and lost during his lifelong struggle between passion and prudence. The most prominent among them was Deborah Read Franklin, his common-law wife and partner for 44 years. Long dismissed by historians, she was an independent, politically savvy woman and devoted wife who raised their children, managed his finances, and fought off angry mobs at gunpoint while he traipsed about England.

Weaving detailed historical research with emotional intensity and personal testimony, Nancy Rubin Stuart traces Deborah’s life and those of Ben’s other romantic attachments through their personal correspondence. We are introduced to Margaret Stevenson, the widowed landlady who managed Ben’s life in London; Catherine Ray, the 23-year-old New Englander with whom he traveled overnight and later exchanged passionate letters; Madame Brillon, the beautiful French musician who flirted shamelessly with him, and the witty Madame Helvetius, who befriended the philosophes of pre-Revolutionary France and brought Ben to his knees.

What emerges from Stuart’s pen is a colorful and poignant portrait of women in the age of revolution. Set two centuries before the rise of feminism, Poor Richard’s Women depicts the feisty, often-forgotten women dear to Ben’s heart who, despite obstacles, achieved an independence rarely enjoyed by their peers in that era.

You may also check out the recorded session of Nancy Rubin Stuart's History Camp Discussion "Poor Richard’s Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father" from History Camp.

Reviews

“A fresh perspective on Benjamin Franklin in this revealing study of his relationships with women . . . Stuart paints a nuanced portrait of Deborah and the other women in Franklin’s life, briskly recounts the highlights of his long and varied career and incisively analyzes the era’s gender dynamics. American history buffs will be fascinated.” —Publishers Weekly

“Ben Franklin, our enigmatic founding father, continues to fascinate, and in Poor Richard’s Women, Nancy Rubin Stuart gives the women in his life their due, showing them as real persons, with both limitations and achievements, rather than the pathetic, laughable figures so often described in books about him. Poor Richard’s Women is a treat for anyone interested in women of his time or Ben himself.” —Betty Boyd Caroli, author of Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage That Made a President

About the Author

Nancy Rubin Stuart is an award-winning author and journalist who specializes in women, biography, and social history. 

Born in Boston, Nancy graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in English and an M.A.T. from Brown University. In 1995, Mount Vernon College, now part of Georgetown University, awarded her an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters. 

While raising children, Nancy wrote for the New York Times under the byline Nancy Rubin. That work and her experiences as a suburban wife and mother prompted her first book, The New Suburban Woman: Beyond Myth and Motherhood.

As a journalist, she has written for many publications including The New York Times, American History Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The New England Quarterly, The Huffington Post, The Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, The Barnstable Patriot, The Cape Cod Times, Business Week’s Careers, Family Circle, Parents, and others listed on the Bookshelf page.

Today Nancy also serves as Executive Director of the Cape Cod Writers Center.

All proceeds go to The Pursuit of History, a non-profit organization

The Pursuit of History is the non-profit organization that engages adults in conversation about history and connects them with historic sites in their communities and across the country through unique annual events, including History Camp, and through video and other online content.

The History List is a sponsor of The Pursuit of History, and all proceeds from the sale of this book will go to The Pursuit of History to support their in-person and online events.

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