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Bibliographical guides

Early American Science: A Selective Guide To Materials At The British Library

arrow Early American Science: A Selective Guide To Materials At The British Library (PDF format), 137KB

The Life of Benjamin Franklin 50kb

Peter PARLEY pseud. [i.e. Samuel Griswold Goodrich.] The Life of Benjamin Franklin illustrated by tales, sketches and anecdotes. ... With engravings. Philadelphia, 1844 (1453.a.10).
Copyright © The British Library

By the early eighteenth century the American colonies were well established along the eastern seaboard. In many respects, their economic development until this point had been remarkable. So, too, were the advances they had made in self-government. By the 1720s trade between the colonies was increasing; transport links were improving; the postal service was becoming more frequent and reliable and newspapers were circulating more widely. Relative to Europeans, most colonists enjoyed a high standard of living and in many towns the creation of an elite class was well under way. Regarding their ability to participate in and contribute to the new scientific thinking, however, the colonies were distinctly disadvantaged. They lacked not only the great libraries, universities and endowed institutions of Europe but also the possibility of support from enlightened patrons. Despite this, the ideas of the Enlightenment enthused many throughout the colonies. Great efforts were made to advance science not only in New England, which had been regarded as the cultural capital of the colonies, but also the Southern and Middle colonies, with Philadelphia - home to Benjamin Franklin and birthplace of the American Philosophical Society - taking up this challenge to great effect. Some of the subjects of the colonists' enthusiasm are outlined briefly in the above publication, this is then followed by a selective bibliography of their works, all of which are held in the British Library.

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