Benjamin Franklin Medal (American Philosophical Society)

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Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) - Portrait of Joseph Duplessis (around 1785)

The Benjamin Franklin Medal is an award of the American Philosophical Society that has not been awarded for a long time in its more than 100-year history and has been rededicated several times.

The medal

Benjamin Franklin Medal

The approximately 10 cm medal was designed by Louis St. Gaudens (1854–1913) and Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907). On the front the lettering "Benjamin Franklin", the portrait of Franklin and again in capital letters the words "Printer, Philosopher, Scientist, Statesman, Diplomatist" (printer, philosopher, scientist, statesman, diplomat) can be seen in capital letters . The reverse shows an allegorical representation of history, which is recorded in the presence of literature, science and philosophy.


1906 decided the United States Congress on the occasion of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin (next to John Bartram one of the founders of the American Philosophical Society, then known as Philosophical Society ), the Secretary of State to allow a medal to Franklin Memorial to be embossed. The first medal - in gold - went to the French Republic on the instructions of the then US President , Theodore Roosevelt . The US Secretary of State Elihu Root presented it to the French ambassador, Jean Jules Jusserand, during a ceremony marking Franklin's 200th birthday .

Another 150 medals were minted in bronze . The US President and the American Philosophical Society should be able to award these medals themselves. While it is documented that Marie Curie received a medal as a "keepsake" in 1921 when she gave a brief report on her piezoelectric measurement of radioactivity to the American Philosophical Society on the occasion of the award of the John Scott Medal by the City of Philadelphia , the next official award took place the medal only in 1937, to William Lyon Phelps on the occasion of his lecture on "Truth and Poetry". Until 1949, awards were made to various scientists every or every other year at festive lectures.

Another thirty year hiatus followed before the medal was presented three times to deserving officials of the American Philosophical Society between 1979 and 1983. Between 1985 and 1991, the Benjamin Franklin Medal was the American Philosophical Society's highest award in the field of humanities and sciences .

Since 1987 the American Philosophical Society has awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Public Service for exceptional contributions to the common good ("general welfare"). Since the 1993 Congress of the American Philosophical Society approved the award of the Thomas Jefferson Medal for special contributions in the fields of art and the humanities ("arts, humanities, and social sciences"), the Benjamin Franklin Medal has only been awarded in the field of ( Natural) sciences awarded ("sciences").

Award winners

Benjamin Franklin Medal (1906-1983)

Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distintinguished Achievement in the Humanities or Sciences (1985–1991)

Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Public Service (since 1987)

Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences (since 1993)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Benjamin Franklin Bicentennial Medal at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (; Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  2. Minutes . In: American Philosophical Society (Ed.): Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society . tape 60 , no. 4 , 1921, pp. xxii , JSTOR : 984523 .