(approved for use September 4, 2002)


An extensive collection of books, pamphlets, prints, and manuscripts by and about Benjamin Franklin, his contemporaries, and his times. Orginally formed by William Smith Mason, 1888S, the collection came to Yale in 1935. Mason's gift consisted of more than 11,000 books, 850 pamphlets, 400 broadsides and a large group of manuscripts. At present, all manuscripts as well as books, pamphlets, and broadsides published before 1765 are housed in the Beinecke Library. Serial titles as well as books, pamphlets, and broadsides printed after 1765 are housed in the Franklin Collection rooms in Sterling Memorial Library.
Cf. George Simpson Eddy, "A Ramble Through the Mason-Franklin Collection," YULG 10:4 (April 1936), 65-90. Additions to the original collection are described in brief notes in later issues of the Gazette including 15:1 (July 1940), 16-19; 16:1 (July 1941), 1-3; and 20:2 (October 1945), 23-28.
The Rare Book Team used to catalog the few items, mostly adds to on-going multi-part items, that were added to the collection each year. The Franklin cataloging was turned over to the Specialty Cataloging Team in CMS on Aug. 21, 2013.

Classification and Marking

The Franklin Collection has its own classification. Call numbers are assigned by the Franklin Collection before items are sent to the Specialty Cataloging Team for cataloging. Call numbers are penciled on the verso of the t.p. as: Franklin [call number]. When cataloging is completed, Franklin items are put on a truck in the Catalog Dept. for items to be sent to Preparations. The location code is smlfra.

Subject and added tracings

Standard L.C. subject headings and added tracings are made for Franklin items. No genre headings or provenance notes are made. Copy specific notes are rarely made, but may be made if needed to distinguish multiple copies on a record or to point out important copy specific features.

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