Ben Franklin’s association with books, printing, and writing was a constant throughout his long life.

As a young boy, Ben worked as an apprentice printer to his brother James, who worked in a printing shop. He later worked as a journeyman printer in other shops, then became a master printer and eventually owned his own printing business. Printing was done by hand, letter by letter, so he became very familiar with the placement of letters, words, font sizes, and page layout. He was acutely aware of editing and revision of the printed word and frequently edited his works over the years.

Joining together with like-minded associates, Ben formed the Junto, which was also known as the Leather Apron club. Tradesmen such as printers wore leather aprons as part of their work; the idea reflected the makeup of the group, which set itself apart from more elite gentlemen's clubs. The group met to hold good-natured discussions on science, philosophy, morals, and civic virtue. The Junto shared their books, and this collection later grew into a subscription library.

Ben spent the first half of his life in the printing business and had a lifelong association with printing. But from a young age, Ben was also composing works as well. From his beginning as a young printer, he wrote anonymous letters under the name “Silence Dogood” that were published in his brother’s newspaper. He wrote “Poor Richard’s Almanack” under the name Richard Saunders; he later wrote “The Way to Wealth” anonymously. There was a reason to write under an assumed name; many of the aphorisms, or proverbs, printed in Poor Richard’s Almanack were already in use, such as “there are no gains without pains” and “early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” One of his best known works is his autobiography; it was begun as a letter to his son and then expanded over a number of years into a memoir.

You can read a digitized copy of the “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” at the Internet Archive.