Benjamin Franklin's Will - 7 News Article Web Readings

Each underlined phrase represents a link that you should read through on the web.

In the Benjamin Franklin lab, you solved for the average earned interest rates after the first and second hundred years.

In the following readings, you will learn what happened to the funds in real life by reading reports, articles and research that I have compiled for you.

Benjamin Franklin's Life and Will

Read through this
Reading 1: summary of Benjamin Franklins's life and will [3]
and then read the
Reading 2: actual codicil in Benjamin Franklin's will [2].

The Funds in Boston and Philadelphia

Unfortunately, it was not always possible to find as many borrowers as Franklin had planned and there were other problems as well. Skim over some of the
Reading 3: problems that the Philadelphia and Boston funds faced as of 1837 [2].

In January 1894, at the end of 100 years from the inception of the Franklin gift, because of these problems, the Boston fund had grown from $4444.44 dollars (the equivalent of $1000 pounds) to $391,000 dollars. (Note that while this is less than the $582,221.64 (the equivalent of 131,000 pounds) that Franklin had imagined, it is significantly more than Philly's earnings because Boston gave up on Franklin's loan scheme and played the stock market.)

Reading 4: After legal battles in Boston (and some in Philadelphia too) [3],
3/4 of this money (about $300,000 US) was used to fund the Franklin Institute of Boston, and the remainder, about $100,000 US, was maintained for loans for the 2nd century.

By 1907, the Benjamin Franklin Fund in Philadelphia totaled $172,350, less than a fourth of what Franklin had projected. Of that sum, $133,076 was transferred to the Franklin Institute, a hands-on science education museum.

Reading 5: Philadelphia Inquirer article by Clark De Leon [1] from February 1993 that describes the situation in Philadelphia and Boston at the end of the second hundred years. It also gives some interesting insights into contemporary city government. (See my update in red.)

Also see this
Reading 6: Boston Globe article by Patricia Nealon [5] from December 1993 that describes a court decision on the Boston fund. (See my update in red.)

And finally, take a look at
Reading 7: What "Miracle of Compound Interest"? [6]

List of References for Your Project

Here are the full references for the above links--you can paste this in. You may also use additional references, but no others are required. Make sure to acknowledge any pictures you use.
  1. De Leon, Clark, Divvying Up Ben: Let's Try for 200 More, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1993.
    A newspaper article that describes the situation in Philadelphia and Boston at the end of the second hundred years.

  2. Franklin, Benjamin, Ben Franklin's Will - Note by the Editor, Independence Hall Association, electronically publishing as, 1999.
    Benjamin Franklin's will and codicil includes his instructions, motivation and wishes for the creation and disposition of the funds.
    The note by the editor contains information of the fund as of January 1, 1837

  3. Franklin Institute of Boston, About FIB - A Long History,
    A web page that describes the history of the Franklin Fund in Boston and the creation of the Franklin Institute after the end of the first hundred years. This also contains some additional background on Benjamin Franklin.

  4. Greenwald, Sarah J, Math 1010 lab, updates and private communication, 2011.

  5. Nealon, Patricia, Ben Franklin Trust To Go To State, City, Not School, SJC Says, The Boston Globe, 1993.
    A newspaper article that describes a court decision on the Boston fund at the end of the second hundred years.

  6. What "Miracle of Compound Interest"? - How Ben Franklin's best laid plans came a cropper, Philanthropy Magazine, The Last Page, August/September 2001.
    Includes a summary of the history of the funds.