Edition Highlights

Gentleman's Magazine edition, 1771

This text seems to be a transition from the original form in the Almanack to the form under the title of The Way to Wealth. Even though it appeared under the name of Richard Saunders and not Benjamin Franklin, the fact that it is in such a notable periodical as the Gentleman’s Magazine suggests Franklin’s involvement in its publication and form.

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ID: Eng1771.1
Publication Title: Gentleman’s Magazine.
Way to Wealth Title: Poor Richard Improved
Place: London, England
Year: 1771
Genre: edition
Language: English
Location: APS

Signed Richard Saunders. “Substance of a preliminary address prefixed to an old Pennsylvania almanac, intitled Poor Richard Improved.” This edition illustrates the second form of The Way to Wealth text.

Elegant Extracts editions, 1790

Elegant Extracts, edited by Vicesimus Knox, was, in contrast to the Pleasing Instructor, an anthology in large format, with, in some editions, more than a thousand pages. First published in 1782, its stated goal was the “improvement of scholars at classical & other schools.” The numerous editions are very rare, which suggests that these books were heavily used. They contained The Way to Wealth, with Franklin’s name attached, and they are an added sign that English schoolchildren were very likely exposed to Franklin’s text.

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Publication Title: Elegant extracts: or, useful and entertaining passages in prose, selected for the improvement of young persons: being similar in design to Elegant extracts in poetry.
Place: London, England
Year: 1790
Imprint: London: Printed for C. Dilly. Published as the act directs, 29 Sep.r 1790.
Author/Editor: Knox, Vicesimus, 1752-1821
Genre: anthology
Language: English
Pagination/Collation: engr. title and xvi, [8], 512, [2], 513-1019, [1] p.
Location: Issue A (Google Books: Oxford) BL: RB.23.b.3848 (2) BowdoinYale (Beinecke) and Issue B (ECCO: BL, without shelfmark)
ID: Eng1790.7

The Pleasing Instructor edition, 1768

The Pleasing Instructor, edited by Ann Fisher and initially published in Newcastle by Thomas Slack, her husband, first brought out the “Preliminary address prefixed to the Pennsylvania almanac for 1758: on oeconomy and frugality” in its third edition of 1760; and that form of the text under that title appeared about thirty times up through 1815. Franklin’s name was never associated with it. The subtitle “on oeconomy and frugality” indicates the message that the youthful reader was to take away from the text. Although The Way to Wealth has been associated with the “American Dream” of being able to rise in the world through one’s own efforts, in this widely disseminated form, it is closely followed by another text “On the justice of providence in the distribution of riches.”

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Publication Title: Pleasing instructor: or, entertaining moralist. Consisting of select essays, relations, visions, and allegories, collected from the most eminent English authors. To which are prefixed, New thoughts on education. Designed for the use of schools, as well as the closet and with a view to form the rising minds of the youth of both sexes to virtue, and destroy in the bud, those vices and frailties, which mankind, and youth in particular, are addicted to.
Place: London, England
Year: 1768
Imprint: London: Printed for G. Robinson and J. Roberts, in Paternoster-Row, and T. Slack, in Newcastle. 1768.
Author/Editor: Fisher, Ann, 1719-1778
Genre: edition
Language: English
Pagination/Collation: iv, xii, 368 p. and 16.5 cm.
Location: Hathi Trust (Columbia) BL
ID: Eng1768.2

Works of the late Docgtor Benjamin Franklin, 1796

The mourning that followed Benjamin Franklin’s death in 1790 combined with the subsequent publication of his autobiography to stimulate editions of The Works of the Late Doctor Benjamin Franklin. These were not based on the 1779 edition edited by Benjamin Vaughan, and the text of these editions was not settled. A strange omission from the earliest of them in 1793 was The Way to Wealth. It was not included in British editions until 1796.

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ID: Eng1796.1
Publication Title: Works of the late Doctor Benjamin Franklin, consisting of his life written by himself and together with essays, humorous, moral, and literary, chiefly in the manner of the Spectator. In two volumes. Vol. I [II].
Way to Wealth Title: Poor Richard’s almanack, for the year 1758
Place: London, England
Year: 1796
Imprint: London, Printed for G. Dilly, near the Mansion-house. M,DCC,XCVI.
Printer/Publisher: Dilly, G.
Genre: collected edition
Language: English
Pagination/Collation: 2v. (I: vi, [ii], 232 p., II: [iv], 227 p.), and 14 cm.

Le moyen de s’enrichir, 1773

Franklin assisted Jacques Barbeu Du Bourg, the editor of this 1773 French collected edition, by sending him texts. One was Le moyen de s’enrichir, a French literal translation of the new title of The Way to Wealth that Franklin had given it—and of the new form of the text. For the first time, Franklin is here identified as the author.

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Publication Title: Œuvres de M. Franklin, docteur ès loix, membre de l’Académie royale des sciences de Paris, des sociétés royales de Londres & de Gottingue, des sociétés philosophiques d’Edimbourg & de Rotterdam, président de la Société philosophique de Philadelphie, & résident à la cour de la Grande Bretagne pour plusieurs colonies britanniques américaines.
Way to Wealth Title:  Le Moyen de S'Enrichir
Place: Paris, France
Year: 1773
Imprint: A Paris, Chez Quillau l’aîné, libraire, rue Christine, au Magasin littéraire. Esprit, libraire de Mgr. le duc de Chartres, au Palais Royal. Et l’auteur, rue de la Bucherie, aux ecoles de médecine., M.DCC.LXXIII. Avec approbation & permission du Roi. 
Translator: Barbeu Du Bourg, M. (Jacques), 1709-1779
Genre: collected edition
Language: French
Pagination/Collation: 2 v. ill., port., 27.5 cm., I: [4], xxii, [2], 338 p. front., 5 lvs. of pls., π2 a-c4 A-2T4 2V² (-2V2), II: [4], xiii, [3], 318, [2] p. 7 lvs. of pls., and π² a-b4 A-2R4
Location: LCP (4 copies).
ID: Fr1773.1