Franklin's Silence Dogood Essays Now Available Online
Benjamin Franklin's first published prose consisted of 14 essays that he wrote under the pseudonym Silence Dogood. In these essays, published as letters to the editor of a Boston newspaper, The New-England Courant, between March and October 1722, the 16-year-old Franklin writes in the voice of the outspoken widow Silence Dogood, telling the story of her life and commenting on social and political issues such as higher education, freedom of speech, the rights of women, religious hypocrisy, and the vice of drunkenness. These witty, satirical pieces, described as the first essay series in American literature, foreshadow Franklin's later success as the author and publisher of Poor Richard's Almanack. The digitization of the Silence Dogood essays was made possible with the support of the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation. Read the essays.