News & Events


Queen honors Little Compton woman
By Rich Salit

LITTLE COMPTON — One of the most glorious moments of her life had arrived, yet Anne Keigher couldn't help but remark on the strange irony of it all.

The British ambassador to the United States, on behalf of the queen of England, had just presented her with a medal making her an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire. It was July 2 in Washington, D.C., and the 70-year-old summer resident of Little Compton was being honored for leading the restoration of a historic house in London.

It wasn't, however, just any old house. It was the home of Benjamin Franklin — the American who helped lead the fledgling United States in its ultimately bloody quest for independence from Britain...

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Benjamin Franklin House Launches Literary Prize

The Benjamin Franklin House Literary Prize launches today, endowed by Benjamin Franklin House Chairman John Studzinski, leading banker and philanthropist. According to Studzinski, "Benjamin Franklin is one of history's great figures. While he made lasting contributions in many fields, his first passion was writing. He believed in the power of the written word to inform and stimulate debate as the bedrock of a democratic society."

Each year a question exploring Franklin's relevance in our time will be open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words by two groups: young people and professional writers. The winner of the Young Writers Prize will receive £500 while the winner of the Professional Writers Prize will receive £1000 plus publication in a leading British newspaper. Entries for 2008 must be received before 15 October. Judges of the young people's award will include professional writers; judges of the professional writers' award will include young people...

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THE WASHINGTON TIMES - January 12, 2007
Embassy Row
By James Morrison
Reinveting Himself

Benjamin Franklin peered pensively from his 18th-century portrait in the elegant State Department dining room named for the father of American diplomacy, as diplomats and scholars recounted his achievements, marveled at his wit and tittered at tales of the flirtatious envoy to the courts of George III in London and Louis XVI in Paris.

"He would have loved this night. He would love to celebrate himself," said Walter Isaacson, who wrote a best-selling biography of Franklin in 2003, at a banquet Wednesday night to benefit the Benjamin Franklin House Foundation in London. Mr. Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute, noted that among Franklin's inventions, the most enduring was his own legacy.

"The best thing he invented was himself," Mr. Isaacson said, noting that Franklin came from middle-class stock in Colonial America, and presented himself as a gentleman in London and then as a backwoods philosopher in a bearskin cap in Paris...

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THE WASHINGTON TIMES - January 12, 2007
Franklin's house 'like him'
By Deborah Dietsch

Benjamin Franklin's wide-ranging talents as a diplomat, inventor, scientist, printer and writer inspired an equally diverse crowd to honor his legacy in the State Department's Diplomatic Reception Rooms on Wednesday night. Former Redskin Sonny Jurgensen, philanthropists Robert and Clarice Smith, businessman Mark Ein, Treasury Undersecretary Robert K. Steel and Lady (Catherine) Manning were among those supporting the Benjamin Franklin House Foundation's campaign to raise an $8 million endowment for the Founding Father's only surviving home.

The 18th-century house isn't located in Philadelphia, but in London, at 36 Craven St., near Trafalgar Square. Franklin lived in it between 1757 and 1775 while lobbying for the American Colonies.

"It's a simple row house that's very much like him -- unpretentious and practical," said Walter Isaacson, head of the Aspen Institute and author of a recent best-selling Franklin biography, before his dinner address. "It has wonderful little rooms. You can imagine him flirting with his landlady there."

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