Volume VI, Number 2, Fall 2010

"Lessons from the Heart and Hearth of Colonial Philadelphia: Reflections on Education, As Reflected in Colonial Era Correspondence to Wives" by Silvia Florea

Silvia Florea, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at the Department of British and American Studies, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania. Email:

Let all men know thee,
but no man know thee thoroughly
Benjamin Franklin

Many of America’s early educational leaders –Franklin, Rush and Webster– were among those directly involved in the American Revolution who understood that if the new American nation was to endure beyond the Revolution, then the principles on which the nation had been born, nurtured and developed must be successfully passed on to future generations. Many of these strong proponents for education became directly involved in writing educational plans, authoring textbooks as well as starting universities and their educational endeavors were manifest in private communications, in public discourse and through the educational institutions they helped establish in their time. However complicated and contested is the terrain of their thought, their efforts to promote education of the common man as the most effective means of preserving the democratic ideal remains important.

The topic of education –of what people could and should make of themselves–stood at the center of their common and serious educational work. The American Founders believed that schools and education systems were a proper means to encourage "religion, morality, and knowledge" that were so necessary to good and effective government and the happiness of mankind. First-rate intellects have importantly discussed some of their work from various viewpoints and much ink has been devoted to the educational reforms and contributions these people made to the success of subsequent American education. And yet, it is also important to examine the philosophy behind the concept, the philosophical underpinnings behind the theory and practice of education.

These figures lived in roughly the same age and for similar periods of years (two lived average life spans to the average age of about 65 (Rush and Mann) and two reached old age (Franklin and Webster). All four were in some important way connected to Philadelphia and its culture–whether directly by residence and daily activity (Franklin, Rush and Webster), or indirectly by references in their work and support of Quaker ideals (Mann). Despite Franklin’s documented wandering, all four nevertheless were married and still built a life around the dual values of family primacy and privacy. With family life important in America and privacy pre-eminent, they all regarded family as the basic unit of society and used it as a place for the expression of straightforward views and dissemination of ideals.

Scores of colleges in Philadelphia owe a great deal to Benjamin Franklin’s early ideas about education, notably the University of Pennsylvania (the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S.). In 1743, Franklin drew up proposals for an Academy, one which eventually became the University of Pennsylvania and encouraged education in other avenues, notably founding the American Philosophical Society (1744) for the purpose of enabling scientific men to communicate their discoveries to one another. In 1749, Benjamin Franklin proposed that ‘the great Aim and End of all Learning’ should include “an Inclination joined with an Ability to serve Mankind, one’s Country, Friends and Family”.1 Communication was part of that education, which Franklin saw as equally important, and which resulted in his desire to improve postal services. In the mid-1700s, a letter could take as long as fourteen days to make a trip between two cities. The letters were carried by hand by friends, by sea captains or by other travelers and were dropped off at taverns, inns, and coffee houses where recipients could take them from. One of the most reliable postal itineraries in the colonies was along the coast by ship. Often times, writers would write as many as five copies of a letter and send each by a different ship, hoping that at least one would arrive safely. In a life that lasted from 1706 to 1790 in three different places: America, England, and France, Benjamin Franklin traveled and wrote a lot. He seems to have been conventionally fond of his family and more than conventionally fond of his out-of-marriage son, William. His relation to women was somewhat different than that of his fellow countrymen.

One direction of this relationship is reflected in the way he used pseudonyms. Franklin used pseudonyms extensively throughout his life, sometimes to express an idea that might have been considered challenging or even illegal by the authorities, other times just to present two sides of an issue. He often wrote as a woman, in fact creating entire personae for the "writer." Many of these were humorous, filled with wit and irony: Silence Dogood (her 15 letters dealt with issues like love, courtship, the state of education and were published in New England Courant), Alice Addertongue (a thirty-five year old gossip who wrote scandal stories for Pennsylvania Gazette), Polly Baker (who had several illegitimate children and whom Franklin used to examine the negative way women were treated by the law), Caelia Shortface and Martha Careful (two "ladies" whom Franklin used to write mocking letters to get even with his former employer who had stolen some of his publishing ideas) and last but not least, Busy Body (whose letters looked humorously into the battle of the sexes and got published in the American Weekly Mercury). Of them all, Silence seems to have been by far the most effective and successful. She was particularly fond of ridiculing Harvard, often complaining that it had been ruined by corruption and elitism, and that most of its students learned nothing there except how to be conceited. Her success came when she was at her most convincing and when the readers of the Courant thought she was a charming woman. A few of the male readers wrote in upon learning that she was single and offered to marry her.

At the other end of the segment, relationship to women revolves around his family. He is notorious for having loved women and many examples can be found by looking at his correspondence over the years, particularly, with Catherine (Katy) Ray in Rhode Island, Polly Stevenson, his London landlady’s daughter who became a close friend and Madame Helvetius, his French admirer. In his letters to them he frequently reveals more about himself than in the other correspondence. For the first 25 years of his marriage to Deborah, while the children were growing up, the family was settled in Philadelphia, and there was ordinarily no occasion for letters between them.  In 1756 and 1757 while Franklin was frequently away on military duty in the war with the French, he wrote pretty regularly to Deborah.  His letters to her are affectionate, as are those he later wrote to her from London.2 But even if their bond lacked grand passion, it shows nonetheless mutual respect. Franklin’s correspondence is abundantly spiced up with quite a few flirtation letters,3 as Edmund Morgan called them, particularly in the 18 years they were apart. He considered flirtation a legitimate "amusement" and refuge from a tiring schedule of diplomacy. Investigation of the emotional variables revealed in his letters has proven that they are complementary in his articulation of various educational elements, some discursive, many still not. In support of all educational positions that Franklin took, the concept of “publicity,” which he often equated with ‘publicness’(a manner of embodying and performing good public citizenship through public argument) has been paralleled by “privacy”–a lens through which he could better or more effectively, or just differently, consider the development, and eventual transition of all colonial educational discourse. In other words, just as early American republicanism was a site where actors articulated a common political discourse to various economic, political, religious, and cultural concerns, so was early American education a site where Franklin sutured education to common and often opposing interests. Firsthand study of his intimate letters shows consistency with his public affirmation of creed and the necessity he envisaged of religious and moral education; likewise, a stand gets more contoured on one such area of relative unanimity among republican rhetorical pedagogies, as the marginalization of laborers, women, and non-Anglo, non-Caucasian ethnicities or races. To quote a few examples: Religious education is evinced in: (Letter to Jane Mecom, July 1771, p. 868): "I see so much Wisdom in what I understand of its Creation and Government, that I suspect equal Wisdom may be in what I do not understand. And thence have perhaps as much Trust in God as the most pious Christian."; necessity for education, request for books, dictionaries, fables, Latin and English books(Letter from Deborah Franklin to Margaret Strahan Desember 24, 1751-upon his suggestion); the need to have good and virtuous education (Letter to his daughter, Sarah, wife of Richard Bache, who had followed Franklin as U. S. Post)“This ascending honor is therefore useful to the state, as it encourages parents to give their children a good and virtuous education.”…“And certainly no mode of honoring those immediate authors of our being can be more effectual, than that of doing praiseworthy actions, which reflect honor on those who gave us our education; or more becoming, than that of manifesting, by some public expression or token, that it is to their instruction and example we ascribe the merit of those actions.”; family education (Letter to Deborah, Easton, Saturday Morning, Nov. 13, 1756): “So I had a good mind not to write to you by this opportunity; but I never can be ill-natured enough, even when there is the most occasion”; (Letter to Deborah, ALS: American Philosophical Society, Trenton, April 5. 1757):“I leave Home, and undertake this long Voyage more chearfully, as I can rely on your Prudence in the Management of my Affairs, and Education of my dear Child; and yet I cannot forbear once more recommending her to you with a Father’s tenderest Concern.” (Letter to Deborah, ALS: American Philosophical Society, New York, April 29. 1757):” Among my Books on the Shelves, there are two or three little Pieces on the Game of Chess; One in French bound in Leather, 8vo. One in a blue Paper Cover, English; two others in Manuscript; one of them thin in brown Paper Cover, the other in loose Leaves not bound. If you can find them yourself, send them: But do not set anybody else to look for them. You may know the French one, by the Word echecs in the Titlepage.”(Letter to Deborah, ALS: American Philosophical Society, New York, Friday, May 27. 57 Afternoon):” I have wrote to Sister Jenny, and [hope] to quiet [torn] them. Family Quarrels are the [torn] most indiscreet [and sca]ndalous of [Quarrels. So?] let me beg of you my dear [Wife not] to have any [Part in] this. Write [torn] about in in my Absence. [Your] loving [Husband]”.

Forty years later, Noah Webster argued that the system of education of such public expression should be uniquely American. Believing that “it is dishonorable to waste life in mimicking the follies of other nations and basking in the sunshine of foreign glory,”4 Webster is famous for having proposed a system where every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. “He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country; he should lisp the praise of liberty and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen, who have wrought a revolution in her favor.”5 These ideas soon turned into ideals and led to educational innovation in the early 1800s. A standard curriculum was difficult to achieve in a country as large and sparsely populated as the new United States of America. One of the means of promoting a curriculum that advocated the ideals of democracy and independence from England was the development of textbooks. Noah Webster introduced his first text in 1783, a speller with an emphasis on developing patriotic and moral values as well as teaching children correct grammar and spelling. The important section of Webster’s correspondence is more specifically, the correspondence (between1776-1843) that relates closely to his career as lawyer, educator, and editor of newspapers, federalist agitator, lexicographer, and etymologist. Other sources on Noah Webster, for example, reflect Webster vies on various topics (banking, history of political parties, federalism, suffrage, on his American Dictionary of the English Language, Amherst College, epidemics, etymology and legislation, etc), but also of diaries and miscellaneous papers. Webster presented himself in his correspondence between1776 and 1843 as a prophetic civil servant speaking for his nation’s highest ideals: God and the American people. A close reading of his work and family correspondence shows involvement with political and religious concerns. Much of the correspondence from his later years is addressed to members of his family, especially to his brother Abraham, son William, and members of his daughter Julia Webster Goodrich’s family. He too was affectionate for women, but after marriage to Rebecca Greenleaf Letters he became the devoted family man of 8 children. He promised Rebecca that he would abandon “the risky business” of publishing and commit himself to a more lucrative and dependable law career, however, correspondence of later years shows him in pursuit of numerous publishing endeavors, including school books, histories, abolition pamphlets, political treatises, books on public health, and, of course, dictionaries. The separation between England and America was effectual in Webster’s conception and determined much of his thought. His education, in terms of his literary and circumstantial influences, had made him exclusively an American and a republican, so when he began to give expression to his mind, he was untouched by anything outside of the horizon of his frugal life. “He was not so much opposed to foreign culture as he was absolutely ignorant of it, and in his career we are called upon to observe the growth of a mind as nearly native as was possible.”6 Throughout his life, Webster advocated the standardization of both the American language and the education system. There is little coverage in the letters to and from his wife, Rebecca Greenleaf Webster, to show him in the private posture of the lexicographer, speller, historian that he was, except for his anti-abolitionist stand he took to his daughter (not his wife) in 1837, when Webster warned her about her fervent support of the abolitionist cause (Letter, March 18 1837): "slavery is a great sin and a general calamity – but it is not our sin, though it may prove to be a terrible calamity to us in the north. But we cannot legally interfere with the South on this subject." He added, "To come north to preach and thus disturb our peace, when we can legally do nothing to effect this object, is, in my view, highly criminal and the preachers of abolitionism deserve the penitentiary."7 The entire correspondence between Webster and Franklin is also interesting as it sets forth a certain excess of experimenting ardor in Franklin paralleled and complimented by an unlooked-for degree of conservatism in Webster. If the first impulse came from Franklin, the controlling reason is to be looked for in Webster’s patriotism. There is enough coverage and “private exposure”on the simplicity of the orthography, on the reform on the difference between the English orthography and the American national language (considered as “a band of national union”) as well as on directions to the education of the young in his correspondence with Daniel Webster, Josiah Quincy, John Pickering, etc, but this falls outside the scope of our narrowed down research.

If the system of education should be of public expression according to Webster, to Horace Mann public education and the common school was a site to eradicate social injustices, both Webster and Mann sharing Franklin’s views on education of the common man as the most effective means of preserving the democratic ideals. Mann continued his predecessors’ work, as one of the strongest proponents for public education and the common school. As a lawyer, Massachusetts state senator, and the first secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, he worked continuously on behalf of the public to achieve support for public education." Horace Mann had two wives.8 Research on Mann’s views on education, expressed in his letters to his wife, spans during the 10 year period before he and Mary got married and afterwards.9 The best Mann Collected Papers, which includes Mann’s journal and a consistent body of letters and notes, are located in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston and the Antioch College Library in Yellow Springs, Ohio which contain a large collection of works by and about Mann. Some of Mann’s most important statements come in the form of his Annual Reports of the Board of Education, all of which are collected, along with other important occasional writings, in Mary Peabody Mann and Georges Combe Mann, The Life and Works of Horace Mann, 5 volumes, (1865, revised with additional material in 1891). Education-wise, advice as a way of living ethically was dispensed by Mann in A Few Thoughts for a Young Man (1851); Slavery: Letters and Speeches (1851); A Few Thoughts on the Power and Duties of Women (1853); Lectures on Education (1855); and Twelve Sermons Delivered at Antioch College (1861), which contains some of his best oratory on the subject of the mission of education. Mary Peabody shared in all her husband’s benevolent and educational work, and her familiarity with modern languages assisted Mann greatly in his studies of foreign reforms. She also contributed to Mann’s career as an advocate of public schooling, a reform-minded congressman, and President of Antioch College. The Manns had three sons: Horace Jr., Benjamin and George. Her writing and editing included a novel, letters, a cookbook and early childhood education papers, being influenced by Horace Mann’s belief that public education could create citizens who would celebrate democracy and work to eradicate social injustices. Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Historical Society has the only journal of Mary Peabody Mann and the letters between Horace and Mary, therefore the section on correspondence between Mary and Horace was not available for consultation online and can not therefore substantiate or inform the case in point. However, the correspondence of Mary Tyler Peabody Mann and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1826-1882) shows Mann’s long lasting influence on the two sisters regarding ambitious programs for public schools, universal education, religiously neutral education policies, all of which are still considered the bedrock of American public education.

Much in the same spirit and yet in many more ways, Benjamin Rush was a man before his time. A strong proponent of equal education for women and a general provider of health care in Philadelphia, he was a most prominent physician and author of his day and distinguished himself as an outspoken opponent of slavery. Like Franklin, he too signed the Declaration of Independence. He was a member of nearly every medical and literary institution in his country and of many foreign societies; he succeeded Ben­jamin Franklin as president of the Pennsylvania Society for the abolition of slavery, was an originator of the American Philosophical Society (of which he was a vice-president in 1799-1800) and he was founder of the Philadelphia Bible Society, advocating the use of the Scriptures as a text­book in the public schools and fighting against masonry. His wife, Julia Stockton (1759-1848), was the eldest daughter of Richard Stockton, an eminent New Jersey patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence and received as liberal an education as was open to women of her day, supplemented by association with the cultivated people she could meet as a teenager in her parents’ house. When she married Dr. Benjamin Rush, he was already a public-spirited citizen and one of the prominent medical practitioners held in high esteem by his fellow townsmen. Even though wife Julia was 14 years his junior, their marriage was a happy one. He adored her and ‘never found a fault.’ They had a lovely home life and 11 surviving children, 2 more died in infancy.10 Dr. Rush in his memoirs pays this tribute to his wife: "Let me here bear testimony to the worth of this excellent woman. She fulfilled every duty as a wife, mother, and mistress with fidelity and integrity. To me she was always a sincere and honest friend; had I yielded to her advice upon many occasions, I should have known less distress from various causes in my journey through life…. May God reward and bless her with an easy and peaceful old age if she should survive me, and after death confer upon her immediate and eternal happiness!"11 Often quoted in for the relationship between the two are the end of a poem Rush wrote to Julia the year before his death, "and when the stream of time shall end, and the last trump my grave shall rend, who shall with me to heaven ascend, my Julia"12 as well as the footnote on her in his autobiography: "She raised her family in a time of war, pestilence, and great economic stress; she had little time for anything but the care of her family.”13 The available Rush family papers span more than a century ranging in date from 1789 to approximately 1898, however, the bulk of the material falls between the years 1820 and 1860. The papers are stored at the Ridgway Branch of Philadelphia Library Company, the Pennsylvania Historical Society, the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia College of Physicians, the New York Academy of Medicine, the New York Historical Society, and the Library of Congress.14 Considerations also rest on Brescia, A.M. Guide and index to the Scholarly Resources Edition of the letters and papers of Richard Rush. Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources, 1980 and Butterfield, L.H. ed. Letters of Benjamin Rush. 2 vols. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press for the American Philosophical Society, 1951.

Correspondence between Julia and Benjamin rests considerably on the two spouses’ ability to keep a diverse set of variables—economics, religion and Christian education—in play throughout their letters. Education-wise, textual evidence in support of his stand for the scientific education for the masses, including women, of his position or any interpretation of that has been hard to achieve (and hence found) here, amidst all household news conveyed back and forth during the brief out of town intervals. In more specific terms, the readings of a wide variety of primary texts (typescripts, receipts, bank books, wills, and deeds)as well as letters reveals little surefooted or rich analyses of any of Rush’s views on education expressed to his wife in the privacy of their letters. But all this is counterbalanced by his public stands; he was a prolific writer, the author of over 80 published works, including articles and the texts of lectures, addresses, orations, letters, and eulogies and the majority of these were in the field of medicine, social issues, education, and government. Most of his own views written as a strong advocate for the scientific education for the masses and for public medical clinics to treat the poor and under the influence of his close friendship with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, he expressed publicly in: An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America, upon Slave-keeping (1773); Medical Inquiries and Observations, 4 volumes (1789-1815); and Essays, Literary, Moral & Philosophical (1798).

The study has scrutinized the rhetoric of education through private home relationships in which its main actors, Franklin, Mann, Webster and Rush forced articulations, whenever they found proper, through the uncensored agency of the letters written back and forth to their wives. The letters available in the consulted collections have revealed a small proportion and perhaps just a little of what was at stake on all sides when they established education to further political, economic, and religious aims. However, in the context of reflecting on the role(s) in the urban institutions these education reformers helped set up and of interrogating their efforts to rejuvenate education and mediate economic interests in real moments of conjuncture, the body of letters under close scrutiny has shown in various degrees family circle influence as well as consistency with and reinforcement of their public side(s), contributing to a better understanding of their cosmopolitan thoughts and influence on early Colonial education, in fact, a better understanding of American education’s growth and its influence on the world.



The present study is informed by the ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) grant for research carried out at the American Philosophical Society and Library Company of Philadelphia in the US in 2010.




1 Qtd in Tyack, David, Turning Points in American Educational History, Waltham, Mass.: Blaisdell, 1967, 27.

2 Franklin spent 18 years — more than 20 percent of his life — in the United Kingdom. In 2009, in the Manuscripts Reading Room of the British Library were found 47 Letters from Benjamin Franklin, unseen for 250 years. The 47 letters are copies made in the spring and summer of 1755 of correspondence written to and from Franklin. The copies were transcribed by a contemporary of Franklin’s, Thomas Birch, who had a penchant for compiling historical document. The manuscript is about “the wagon affair” but it is in remarkably good condition, and it includes letters to and from Franklin’s son William; letters to and from General Edward Braddock or his secretary, William Shirley Jr.; a letter to Franklin’s wife, Deborah; and a letter from the governor of Massachusetts, William Shirley Sr.

3 Edmund Morgan is the author of a biography on Benjamin Franklin, published by Yale University Press in 2002. Morgan explored the various contradictions in Franklin’s personality and the role he played in the creation of America as a republic. The author showed how Franklin was a man who ranked his civic responsibilities over all other aspects of his professional life, including his writings and scientific experiments. In an interview that year, he holds that during his 15 years separation, Franklin wrote flirtation letters of which Deborah knew, he quotes those written to Katie Green. See: http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/id/114680##

4 Tyack, David, Turning Points in American Educational History, Waltham, Mass.: Blaisdell, 1967, 97.

5 Ibid, p.97.

6 Scudder, Horace, E, Noah Webster American Men of Letters, The Project Gutenberg E-book, 2010 February 9, 2010 [E-book #31238]

7 In the Letter from lexicographer Noah Webster, originator of Webster’s dictionary, to his daughter Eliza on the subject of abolitionism. From the Webster family papers, Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

8 Charlotte Messer (who died in 1832) and Mary Tyler Peabody; Mann’s second wife, Mary Peabody, was the sister of Elizabeth Peabody, whose writing and editing included a novel, letters, a cookbook and early childhood education papers. After his first wife’s death, Mann used Elizabeth and Mary alternately as his comforters. Elizabeth vied first with Mary for Horace Mann, the Whig educational reformer. (Later she struggled with Sophia over Nathaniel Hawthorne, to whom Elizabeth was engaged, but Hawthorne and Sophia ended up marrying). The contest for Mann took up years. Mary and Elizabeth first met him in 1833 in Boston, and he finally came round to marrying Mary ten years later. Elizabeth had grown bored and dropped out of the competition earlier, when Hawthorne, the as-yet undiscovered genius of American letters, entered her life in 1837.

9 Research on Mann included M. T. P. Mann et al., ed., The Life and Works of Horace Mann (5 vol., 1891); biographies by J. Messerli (1972) and R. B. Downs (1974); B. A. Hinsdale, Horace Mann and the Common School Revival in the United States (1937); Selective and Critical Bibliography of Horace Mann (comp. by the Federal Writers’ Project of Massachusetts, 1937). Also, the microfilm editions of Mann’s papers inclusive of his general correspondence, lectures, sermons, speeches, legal notes, and journals, with the focus exclusively on the letters by Mary Peabody Mann and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody; and other miscellaneous papers and letters from the Massachusetts Historical Society holdings.

10 Frederick A. Virkus, First Families of America, the Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy, The Standard Genealogical Encyclopedia of The First Families of America (440-442 S. Dearborn Street Chicago, IL: F. A. Virkus & Co. Genealogical Publishers, 1925).

11 Rush’s own version of his story is preserved in George W. Corner, ed., The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush: His "Travels through Life," Together with His Commonplace Book for 1789-1813 (1948), p. 89.

12 Wives of the Signers: The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence, by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilder Press, 1997).

13 George W. Corner, ed., The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush: His "Travels through Life," Together with His Commonplace Book for 1789-1813 (1948), p. 175.

14 The collection includes correspondence, typescripts, receipts, bank books, wills, and deeds and has been organized in two series: the first series contains material authored by, or related to, individual members of the family, while the second series contains material about the family, mostly authored by Alexander Biddle. The preserved material related to Dr. Benjamin Rush’s wife, Julia Stockton Rush, in addition to one receipt from 1816, includes four letters, one of which is an 1848 letter of introduction for maestro Antonio Baroli from Edward P. Fry. Most of the other letters represents correspondence back and forth between Julia Stockton and Benjamin Rush and their children, less between Julia and Benjamin. The second collection includes approximately sixty pages of hand-written copies of letters. These reproduce letters from John Adams to Dr. Benjamin Rush during the period 1810-1813. As demonstrated by the 1943 Parke-Bernet auction catalogue, these letters were at one time in the collection of Alexander Biddle. There’s still controversy over whom or at what time these copies were made. They may, be related to the copies of Dr. Benjamin Rush’s letters that Alexander Biddle had made for his 1898 book entitled Old Family Letters: copied from the originals for Alexander Biddle.


Works Cited

  • Corner, W. George (ed), The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush: His "Travels through Life," Together with His Commonplace Book for 1789-1813 (1948).
  • Green, C. Harry and Mary Wolcott Green, Wives of the Signers: The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence, by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilder Press, 1997). 
  • King, S. Cornelia,  American Education, 1622-1860: Printed Works in the Collections of The American Philosophical Society, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and The Library Company of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1984).
  • Morgan, S. Edmund, Benjamin Franklin, (New Haven: Yale University Press: 2002)
  • Virkus, A. Frederick, First Families of America, the Abridged Compendium of American Genealogy, The Standard Genealogical Encyclopedia of the First Families of America (440-442 S. Dearborn Street Chicago, IL: F. A. Virkus & Co. Genealogical Publishers, 1925).
  • Tyack, David, Turning Points in American Educational History, (Waltham, Mass.: Blaisdell, 1967).