• Carmen Milligan

Junto Club

I am learning so many new things about early America from the PBS panels on Benjamin Franklin. Ken Burns' new movie on Franklin debuts in early April, and PBS is hosting weekly panels via Zoom in preparation. I actually had to start taking notes because there were so many little nuggets from the discussions.


The Junto Club was one of them. There is a very good article describing the beginnings and workings of the club here. At first it reminded me of the Parisian Salon, but those events centered around art. Then there was the Literary Salon, hosted by Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, but again, that was more focused on writing. Franklin's group, which was a set group, and not various invited guests at each meeting, was more morals, philosophy, and current events. However, regardless of the type of salon, or club, it was still a network of ideas, thoughts, and problem-solving.


It was, of course, all men. I can only imagine the different turns and avenues the conversations would have taken if the female perspective had been heard. There were 24 questions penned to facilitate and guide discussion. You can read through them at the link above. You'll notice that many of these deal with the list of 13 Personal Virtues that Franklin penned and tried to exemplify. It was a time of great learning, with the sharing of knowledge paramount, and a desire to create something bigger and better than themselves. I have often wished that we would go back to the days of the Salon. Then I realize that there may be some out there. I just haven't been invited. Eeeek!

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