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Friday, July 4, 2014

Ben Franklin’s Not-So-Famous Sister

Here & Now's Alex Ashlock spoke to historian Jill Lepore at the Granary Burying Ground in Boston, where Benjamin and Jane Franklin's parents are buried. (aScratch/Flickr)

Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock spoke to historian Jill Lepore at the Granary Burying Ground in Boston, where Benjamin and Jane Franklin’s parents are buried. (aScratch/Flickr)

Ben Franklin is arguably the most famous American ever. His youngest sister Jane is mostly lost to history. But a Harvard historian found her in the letters she and her brother exchanged over their long lives.

They were called Benny and Jenny, and Benny wrote more letters to Jenny than he did to anyone else. Most of his survive; many of her’s do not.

But Jill Lepore finds a life unknown in those that do. Her book about Jane Franklin, “Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin,” comes out in paperback on July 1, and it’s been nominated for a National Book Award in nonfiction.

Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock spoke to Lepore about her book back in October. We revisit that conversation.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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