In Celebration of His 300th Birthday : Benjamin Franklin’s Early Memories Procedure
Dr. Arnold Bruhn

Benjamin Franklin’s (1793/1906) autobiography established itself as a classic in American literature after its publication in 1793. Franklin achieved enduring fame as a key founding father of his country, scientist and inventor, skilled diplomat, writer, and philanthropist. His input to the Constitution provided Americans with the country they have today, including a Senate and House of Representatives to balance big states/small states inequities. To better understand this iconic figure, the author edited the beginning of Franklin’s (1793/1906) autobiography to an approximation of the Early Memories Procedure (Bruhn, 1989), the first time this has been done for a published autobiography. Franklin’s memories indicate that he had been physically abused as an adolescent by his older brother, which helps one to properly frame information in his autobiography suggestive of rebellion, some minor antisocial activities, problems with judgment, and difficulties with anger. His complex relationship with his father, whom he idealised for his excellent judgment, emerges as the focal point of Franklin’s concerns at the time he penned his autobiography. The paper also introduces a scoring illustration of the revised Comprehensive Early Memories Scoring System, a general-purpose system analogous to Rorschach systems (Exner, 2003) which are intended for personality assessments. The procedure illustrated herein is ideally suited for clinicians who encourage clients to write autobiographies as part of their therapy, for psychologists who have access to autobiographical materials but nothing else, and for psychohistorians who want to understand their subjects from an issues-oriented perspective.


Benjamin Franklin; Autobiography; Early Memories Procedure

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