“In compliance with the Advice contained in these Letters”: Benjamin Franklin’s correspondence networks and the making of the Autobiography

Thomas J. Haslam

College of Liberal Arts, Shantou University, China.  Email:

Volume IX, Number 3, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n3.09

Received August 11, 2017; Revised September 15, 2017; Accepted September 18, 2017; Published September 20,  2017.


This study offers a quantitative approach to mapping out and examining Benjamin Franklin’s writing of his memoirs. It does so by situating the memoirs in the context of Franklin’s other and indeed primary writing activities: his participation in various correspondence networks. Both drawing upon and differing from previous scholarship, this study ascribes key aspects of the memoirs less to intentional design and literary craft, and more to Franklin’s writing habits and cognitive style as manifested over his career. This study further argues for a reconsideration of how Jane Mecom and William Franklin influenced the memoirs.
Keywords: Correspondence Networks, Benjamin Franklin, Data Analysis, Autobiography.