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The Whistle

Object Number: 
1950.305
Date: 
ca. 1830
Medium: 
Cotton
Dimensions: 
Overall: 17 1/4 x 20 1/2 in. ( 43.8 x 52.1 cm )
Marks: 
printed: at bottom: "When I saw any one fond of popularity/ constantly employing himself in political/ bustles, neglecting his own affairs and/ ruining them by that neglect: He pays/ indeed says I, for his whistle./..."
Description: 
Copperplate-printed cotton kerchief with Benjamin Franklin and children in a sitting room with a whistle, above the story in three columns; printed in sepia ink on a natural ground; decorative border.
Gallery Label: 
In a 1779 letter to his intimate friend Madame Brillon (Anne-Louise d'Hardancourt Brillon de Jouy, 1744-1824) , Franklin told the story of how, as a child, he paid too much money for a whistle. He related how people often "give too much for their whistles." "In short," he wrote, "I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things." In the early 19th century, Franklin's story of "The Whistle" became a popular cautionary tale used to instill moral values in children.
Credit Line: 
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Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group