Book cover for Poor Richard's Women

Poor Richard's Women

Nancy Rubin Stuart

Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 7:00 PM ET

Approx. 60 minutes

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Closed captioning is available as an option for this program via Zoom’s live transcription.

Contrary to his conventional image as a highly reasoned individual, Benjamin Franklin's intimate relations revealed a man who struggled with passion and prudence throughout his life. Hear the truth about Ben’s common-law wife, Deborah Read, once dismissed by male historians as a dull, ignorant woman. Learn about Margaret Stevenson, the widowed landlady who served as Ben’s “second” wife in London; Catherine Ray, the twenty-three-year-old New Englander with whom he traveled overnight and later exchanged passionate letters; Madame Brillon, the beautiful French musician who flirted shamelessly with him; and the witty Madame Helvetius, who befriended the philosophes of pre-Revolutionary France and brought Ben to his knees. In this program, author Nancy Rubin Stuart will address why Ben found these women as attractive and dangerous as electricity itself, drawing from her new book, Poor Richard’s Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father.

Headshot of Nancy Rubin StuartNancy Rubin Stuart is an award-winning author and journalist whose eight nonfiction books focus upon women and social history. Her most recently published works include Defiant Brides (2013) and The Muse of the Revolution (2008). A former journalist, Stuart has written for the New York Times, Huffington Post, the New England Quarterly, and national magazines. A former AAS Fellow for Creative and Performing Artists and Writers, Nancy serves as executive director of the Cape Cod Writers Center. Connect with her at
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