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The Harvard Classics, vol. 1: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Journal of John Woolman, and the Fruits of Solitude by William Penn

By 4 authors Charles W. Eliot Benjamin Franklin John Woolman William Penn / P. F. Collier & Son / 1909


Print: $19.95


Explore Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and take a lively trip through his unique and eventful life. Virtually self-taught, Franklin excelled as an athlete, a man of letters, a printer, a scientist, a wit, an inventor, an editor, and a writer, and is one of the most successful diplomats in American history. Stylistically considered his best work, the text has become a classic in world literature.

The Journal of John Woolman tells the powerful story of John Woolman’s life. Woolman was a seventeenth-century Quaker and abolitionist and his writing focuses on his moral, spiritual, and intellectual development. In particular, the journal depicts Woolman’s deep concern for equality and justice, and restoration in the world around him. He was an open advocate of abolition, and encouraged many to free their slaves. But his influence extended beyond the Quakers. This journal has been continuously published since 1774—a true testimony to the significance and impact of his life.

In 1693, William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, published Fruits of Solitude as “an enchiridion,” or life manual. The book is quiet and pensive, filled with the power of Penn’s wisdom through his bright and simple maxims. Though written over 300 years ago, Penn’s work offers timeless advice on such topics as friendship, education, religion, and family.

The Harvard Classics

Journey through “Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf.” This massive collection, designed to provide the elements of a liberal education, was compiled by distinguished Harvard University president Charles Eliot in the early 1900s. Packed with the essential works of the Western classical tradition, the Harvard Classics collection remains one of the most comprehensive and well-researched anthologies of all time—a must-have library for students and lovers of the classics.

Check out the complete The Harvard Classics and Fiction Collection. Keep reading with Harvard Classics, vol. 2.

Key Features

  • Three important works by early American figures
  • Variety of biographic, journal, and instructive literature
  • First volume of the prominent Harvard Classics collection


  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
  • The Journal of John Woolman by John Woolman
  • Fruits of Solitude by William Penn

Product Details

  • Title: The Harvard Classics, vol. 1: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Journal of John Woolman, and the Fruits of Solitude by William Penn
  • Authors: Benjamin Franklin, John Woolman, and William Penn
  • Editor: Charles William Eliot
  • Series: The Harvard Classics
  • Publisher: P. F. Collier & Son
  • Pages: 419

About Charles Eliot

Charles William Eliot (1834–1926) served as president of Harvard University for 40 years, helping to shape the struggling provincial college into a premier American research university. Eliot graduated from Harvard in 1853, and was appointed tutor in mathematics in 1854, before becoming assistant professor of mathematics and chemistry. Eliot left Harvard in 1863 and traveled in Europe for nearly two years, studying the educational systems of the Old World. He took an interest in every aspect of institutional operation, from curriculum and methods of instruction, to physical arrangements and custodial services. But his particular concern was with the relation between education and economic growth.

Returning home in 1865, Eliot accepted an appointment as professor of analytical chemistry at the newly-founded Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1869, he published a two-part article with his ideas about reforming American higher education in The Atlantic Monthly, catching the attention of Harvard businessmen trying to pull the university out of a crisis of short-term presidents and languishing curriculum. Eliot was quickly elected as the youngest president in Harvard’s history. Under his leadership, Harvard began to expand the range of courses offered, permitting undergraduates with unrestricted choice in selecting their courses of study. This enabled them to discover their “natural bents” and pursue them into specialized studies. The university soon became a center for advanced scientific and technological research. During his presidency, the university extended its facilities with laboratories, libraries, classrooms, and athletic facilities. Eliot was able to attract the support of major donors from among the nation’s growing plutocracy, making it the wealthiest private university in the world.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition