|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Scope and Contents
These documents were printed by Franklin at the press he established in Passy, France, while representing the new United States government in Paris. Franklin went all out to create forms which would represent the new American nation as a respectable power. For these forms, he used a sloped Roman type and fancy capitals which were unique to his press, and had the paper made to order (in England!) in the smooth wove style still little known of in France, with a strip of marbling down the center of the sheet. The sheet would have originally been twice the size you see here; it held the promissory note in duplicate. The document is "indentured," or cut apart in a wavy line through the marbling, making each copy of the promissory note (for the very large sums of money the US was borrowing from France) unique — so it would be impossible for either side to substitute a different document with, perhaps, a different sum owed.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Conditions Governing Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
Collection is located on-site.
Collection has no restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Benjamin Franklin Promissory Notes; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Percy S. Brown.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library