On Ben’s Birthday, We Have To Ask

This morning, I asked Harry Kyriakodis, the keeper of Harry K’s Philadelphia encyclopedia, to give me a little something on Benjamin Franklin. After all, it’s the patron saint’s birthday.

In true Harry fashion, he responded in minutes and with “I have written and collected some snippets about Franklin, but haven’t put them together in a good way… But here are just a few of them…” Just a few: he gave me 13 complete encyclopedia entries, including one that includes about 25 individual inventions and discoveries. Among them swim fins and electric cooking (a turkey zapped and then cooked with an “electric bottle” on a picnic on 1749).

Street cleaning, street paving, street lamps…ah, Ben, can we steal a little of your civic energy?

Two years after zapping the turkey, Ben, who had a great interest in advancing medicine, began a campaign to build a hospital. But not just any campaign, for the effort to build Pennsylvania Hospital would be the first, according to Harry, “in which donations are matched by a sponsoring group.”

The matching campaign, Ben, we thank you.

Our sponsoring group is the Knight Foundation. Last spring they pledged us $100,000 if we could raise $100,000 ourselves. Well, we are partway there. But we still need your help. Our work on the Daily, our work to expose, reveal, explore, and seek out the hidden stories and places of Ben’s city depends on that match. Our ability to continue to attract the best writers and photographers depends on that match. Our ability to put on another–even better–Hidden City Festival next year depends on that match.

A little Benny whispered in our ear and said, “make it easy for your readers and supporters and co-conspirators” (he said this, indeed), and so we made THIS PAGE. Click there now. And do it in honor of Ben. May he live in all of us.

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-editor of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including the forthcoming Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (Temple Press) and a novel, Lion and Leopard (The Head and the Hand Press). He is the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."

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