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Ben Franklin rose from humble beginnings to become one of the best known figures of the 18th century. The life of his favorite sister, Jane, followed a different path. She was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and a shrewd observer of politics. But her life was one of endless domestic duties, hardship and grief. Using long overlooked letters and Jane's own handwritten account of family births and deaths, historian Jill Lepore sheds light on the life of Jane Franklin Mecom, her long and loving relationship with her famous brother, and the role of women in America's colonial era.
Excerpted from BOOK OF AGES by Jill Lepore. Copyright © 2013 by Jill Lepore. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.