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Franklin's Princess, on Exhibit in Philly

Sue Ann Prince, director and curator of the Museum of the American Philosophical Society, with a poster of Franklin and Dashkova.
Jacki Lyden, NPR
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Sue Ann Prince, director and curator of the Museum of the American Philosophical Society, with a poster of Franklin and Dashkova.

Benjamin Franklin met many people during his travels. But few dazzled him as much as the Russian princess Ekaterina Dashkova.

The founding father met Dashkova in Paris in 1781 and later nominated her as the first female member of the American Philosophical Society. Now, in honor of the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth, artifacts from Dashkova's life are on display in an exhibit at the society's headquarters in Philadelphia. It's called "The Princess and the Patriot."

Dashkova led a spirited life. At the age of 19, she participated in the 1762 overthrow of the Russian monarchy, dressed as a man. It was the revolt that brought her friend Catherine the Great to power.

Among the documents on display are dictionaries Dashkova translated, music she wrote, diaries and her extended correspondence with Franklin.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Longtime listeners recognize Jacki Lyden's voice from her frequent work as a substitute host on NPR. As a journalist who has been with NPR since 1979, Lyden regards herself first and foremost as a storyteller and looks for the distinctive human voice in a huge range of national and international stories.