Tales of Cape Cod presents Nancy Rubin Stuart: Poor Richard's Women

Monday, June 27, 2022 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Tales of Cape Cod presents author Nancy Rubin Stuart for a talk about her latest book Poor Richard's Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father. Join us for this event on Monday June 27th at 7 pm at the Olde Colonial Courthouse in Barnstable. Book signing and reception to follow Stuart's talk. Books will be for sale courtesy of Titcomb’s Bookshop.

Admission prices are $10 for members of Tales of Cape Cod; $15 for nonmembers. Memberships, which allows for reduced admission prices, can be secured at the door. 

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“An engrossing look at the human side of Benjamin Franklin . . . Using a post-feminist lens that’s critical of gender essentialism, Stuart rescues these women from obscurity . . . This is a terrific read: poignant, provocative, and probing.”
—Library Journal, Starred Review

A vivid portrait of the women who loved, nurtured, and defended America’s famous scientist and founding father.

Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin—the thrifty inventor-statesman of the Revolutionary era—but not about his love life. Poor Richard’s Women reveals the long-neglected voices of the women Ben loved and lost during his lifelong struggle between passion and prudence. The most prominent among them was Deborah Read Franklin, his common-law wife and partner for 44 years. Long dismissed by historians, she was an independent, politically savvy woman and devoted wife who raised their children, managed his finances, and fought off angry mobs at gunpoint while he traipsed about England.

Weaving detailed historical research with emotional intensity and personal testimony, Nancy Rubin Stuart traces Deborah’s life and those of Ben’s other romantic attachments through their personal correspondence. We are introduced to Margaret Stevenson, the widowed landlady who managed Ben’s life in London; Catherine Ray, the 23-year-old New Englander with whom he traveled overnight and later exchanged passionate letters; Madame Brillon, the beautiful French musician who flirted shamelessly with him, and the witty Madame Helvetius, who befriended the philosophes of pre-Revolutionary France and brought Ben to his knees.

What emerges from Stuart’s pen is a colorful and poignant portrait of women in the age of revolution. Set two centuries before the rise of feminism, Poor Richard’s Women depicts the feisty, often-forgotten women dear to Ben’s heart who, despite obstacles, achieved an independence rarely enjoyed by their peers in that era.


Nancy Rubin Stuart is an award-winning author and journalist whose eight nonfiction books focus upon women and social history. Her most recently published works include Defiant BridesThe Untold Story of Two Revolutionary-Era Women and the Radical Men They Married and The Muse of the RevolutionThe Secret Pen of Mercy Otis Warren and the Founding of a Nation. A former journalist, Stuart has written for the New York TimesHuffington Post, the New England Quarterly, and national magazines. She serves as executive director of the Cape Cod Writers Center. Connect with her at nancyrubinstuart.com.

Event address: 
Olde Colonial Courthouse
3046 Main St
Barnstable, MA 02630
Poor Richard's Women: Deborah Read Franklin and the Other Women Behind the Founding Father Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807011300
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - March 15th, 2022