Benjamin Franklin’s Years In London

“I … sigh in the midst of cheerful company”

It is difficult not to think of Benjamin Franklin in a purely American setting. After all, this Philadelphia printer who—with little formal schooling—became a remarkable scientist, inventor,writer, philosopher, politician, and statesman was quite as distinctively American as the turkey he proposed for our national symbol. D. H.Read more »

Scott & Zelda

HOW TWO FAMOUS FIGURES OF THE TWENTIES GREW UP, MET, AND FELL IN LOVE

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. …” It was an odd way for a rich and world-famous young writer to end his third novel— The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Yet looking back now, now that he is even more famous than he was in his short lifetime, with Gatsby made into a multimillion-dollar movie amidst enormous fanfare, we can see how touchingly appropriate that ending was.Read more »

“what Good Is A New-born Baby?”

OF BALLOONS, THE FIRST AIR-MAIL LETTERS, AND THE EVER-ENTERPRISING FRANKLIN FAMILY

Seventy-seven-year-old Benjamin Franklin was at the top of his form in the fall of 1783. Minister to the court of France since 1776, this revered figure from the new young country had scored widely in France. Finally, in September, 1783, he had signed the definitive treaty of peace between America and England, bringing the Revolution to its formal end. The crowned heads of Europe saluted him; the diplomats admired him; the ladies adored him. Read more »

How Papa Liberated Paris

An eyewitness re-creates the wonderful, wacky day in August, 1944, when Hemingway, a handful of Americans, and a senorita named Elena helped rekindle the City of Light. Champagne ran in rivers, and the squeals inside the tanks were not from grit in the bogie wheels

From the war there is one story above others dear to my heart of which I have never written a line—the loony liberation of Paris.

There are reasons for this restraint: a promise once made; the unimportance of trying to be earnest about that which is ludicrous; the vanity of the hope that fact may ever overtake fiction; and the blight of the passing years on faded notes.

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