Guided Primary Source Analysis: Poor Richard Illustrated – Lessons for the Young and Old

Poor Richard illustrated

Benjamin Franklin was a man of many talents and one of the key figures in the founding of the United States. Franklin was also a printer and a writer. One of his most well known publications was an almanac, or yearly handbook, published under the pseudonym (a made-up name) of Richard Saunders.

The source above, Poor Richard Illustrated, features 25 small illustrations with lessons for the young and old. At least one person should examine each small illustration in detail. Zoom into the image to read the advice and analyze the image details. What lesson does your assigned illustration teach? Share all the lessons learned.

As a group, look up and define the words industry, temperance, and frugality. Which definition for each word seems to best relate to the lessons learned? Which category—industry, temperance, frugality—does the illustration you analyzed best match? Why? Use specific details from the illustration and the captions to support your conclusion.

How could you translate the Poor Richard lesson you analyzed into words and pictures that people, in particular kids your age, could more immediately relate to? Create a modern-day illustration and caption that teaches a similar lesson people would be wise to follow today.

What other observations, reflections or questions does this source inspire? Let us know!