Benjamin Franklin Papers

A Public Notice by Franklin and Robert Morris, 5 December 1775

A Public Notice by Franklin and Robert Morris

Printed in The Pennsylvania Gazette, December 6, 1775.

Philadelphia, December 5, 1775.

Mrs. Brodeau, from England, Takes this Method of acquainting her Friends and the Public in general, that she has opened a Boarding School, in Walnut-street, near the Corner of Fourth-street, where young Ladies will be genteely boarded, and taught to read and speak the French and English Language, the Tambour, Embroidery, and every Kind of useful and ornamental Needle-Work.

Mrs. Brodeau hopes to prove by her Assiduity and Attention to the Morals and Behaviour of those Ladies entrusted to her Care, that she in some Measure merits the Recommendation she has been favoured with from her native Country.6

Any Person desirous of Information concerning the Character and Recommendation of Mrs. Brodeau, may apply to either of us,

Robert Morris, B. Franklin.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6We have no information about this venture, or how Morris and BF came to sponsor it. All that is known about Mrs. Brodeau in 1775 is that her first name was Ann or Anne, and that she had an infant daughter. Her husband, if he ever existed, seems to have left no record, and one theory is that her baby’s father was the Rev. William Dodd, an English clergyman who in the summer of 1777 was hanged for forgery; see the annotation of Dodd to BF below, Jan. 29, 1777. Her school was a great success. In 1783 Sally Bache mentioned to her father that “Mrs. Brodeau who was recommended to you when you were last at home, has made a hand[some] fortune.” (June 1, 1783; APS.) By 1785 the school had apparently moved to Lodge Alley, and was still there six years later. In 1790 her daughter, supposedly aged sixteen, married Dr. William Thornton, the inventor and architect who had a part in designing the new Capitol; the Thorntons achieved some prominence in Washington society, and Mrs. Brodeau often visited them. [John McPherson], Macpherson’s Directory for the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia. . . (Philadelphia, 1785); Clement Biddle, The Philadelphia Directory. . . (Philadelphia, 1791); DAB under Thornton; Allen C. Clark, “Doctor and Mrs. William Thornton,” Records of the Columbia Historical Society, XVIII (1915), 144–208.

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