Painting of Benjamin Franklin
The oil painting of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) rendered by artist Charles Ayers Whipple is a copy of Joseph Siffred Duplessis’s famous life portrait of Franklin commissioned while Franklin was in Paris in 1779. This composition is similar to the portrait (museum id 0.23371.1) painted by artist Lloyd Branson that is also in National Postal Museum's collection.
Among his many enterprises, Benjamin Franklin had a long career with the post. Beginning in 1737, the ambitious printer became postmaster of Philadelphia for the British Crown, ensuring that he would receive reliable news, and receive it first. This allowed him to publish it first. In 1753 Franklin received the promotion to joint postmaster general for the American colonies with William Hunter. Franklin and Hunter instituted milestone markers and ordered post riders to travel by lantern light through the night, thus improving the mail's reliability and speed between Philadelphia and Boston as well as turning the first profit for the British Post in North America. However, as a result of his revolutionary political activities, the Crown dismissed Franklin from service as joint postmaster general in 1774. Not long after, his involvement with America’s postal system renewed, and he served as postmaster general under the Continental Congress from July 25, 1775, to November 7, 1776.
http://npgportraits.si.edu/ (Accessed April 11, 2006)