Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center
6th Floor of Van-Pelt Library
A few years ago, Franklin & Hall’s printing blocks for the 1759 and 1760 emissions of Delaware currency were recovered at Delaware County Institute of Science during a vault inventory. They were later moved to the Library Company of Philadelphia, where they currently live. These pieces, which include two low-relief borders and one of Benjamin Franklin’s famed leaf blocks, are the oldest extant examples of American printers’ ornaments. They have been key in my reconstructing how mid-Atlantic anti-counterfeiting strategies may have originated and operated. This talk will encompass the known history of the pieces, as well as an explanation of how they were made and how they helped deter counterfeiting. The innovative nature of the pieces suggests that Franklin’s vision of American economy as outlined in The Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency (1729) was one that depended upon printers’ knowledge of printing processes.
Jessica C. Linker is the CLIR Humanities & Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow at Bryn Mawr College. She received her PhD in History from the University of Connecticut, where she examined the history of women’s scientific practice in early America. At Bryn Mawr she supervises the History of Women in Science Project, which uses 3D technologies to reconstruct the historical spaces where women scientists worked. She has served as a liaison between the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing and the American Historical Association since 2011.