He was a rare breed: inventor of the Franklin stove and bifocal spectacles, diplomat and one of the most brilliant public servants in U.S. history.
He was Benjamin Franklin and his life and pursuits will be explored in "Virtue for Fun and Profit: Benjamin Franklin's Secrets of Success," the subject of the third installment of the 2002-2003 A.R. Sánchez Distinguished Lecture Series on Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m. in Texas A&M International University's Student Center Ballroom.
Featured speaker is Dr. H.W. Brands, distinguished professor of history and Melbern G. Glasscock Chair in American History at Texas A&M University. Dr. Brands' book, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times bestseller, and a Main Selection for the Book of the Month Club.
His acclaimed text is considered the first comprehensive biography of Franklin in over 60 years. In it, he vividly brings to life one of the most delightful, bawdy, original and important figures in American history.
Franklin taught himself to write effectively, founded the Pennsylvania Gazette (1730-48) and wrote Poor Richard's Almanack (1732-57). He became prosperous and promoted public services in Philadelphia, including a library, fire department, hospital, and insurance company, and an academy that became the University of Pennsylvania.
He served as a member of the Colonial Legislature, a delegate to the Albany Congress and negotiated a treaty that provided loans and military support for the Revolution. He is regarded as one of the most extraordinary and brilliant public servants in U.S. history.
Brands is the author of 16 books including the provocative The Strange Death of American Liberalism, Since Vietnam: The United States in World Affairs, 1973-1995 and Into the Labyrinth: The United States and the Middle East, 1945-1993.
His latest book, The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and The American Dream, was published by Doubleday and Company in August. In this month's edition of Texas Monthly, Brands writes about the history of the Alamo in "The Alamo Should Never Have Happened."
Brands holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds an M.A. in liberal studies from Reed College and an M.S. in mathematics from Portland State University. His B.A. in history was earned at Stanford University.
For further information, please contact the College of Arts and Humanities at 326-2460 or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 429.
University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.