Franklin Benjamin Sanborn
|Franklin Benjamin Sanborn|
December 15, 1831|
Hampton Falls, New Hampshire
|Died||February 24, 1917
Concord, New Hampshire
|Resting place||Sleepy Hollow Cemetery|
|Occupation||journalist, author, historian, abolitionist, social reformer|
|Children||Victor Channing Sanborn|
Franklin Benjamin Sanborn (December 15, 1831 – February 24, 1917) was an American journalist, author, and reformer. Sanborn was a social scientist, and a memorialist of American transcendentalism who wrote early biographies of many of the movement's key figures. He founded the American Social Science Association, in 1865, "to treat wisely the great social problems of the day." He was a member of the Secret Six, or "Committee of Six," that funded the militant abolitionist John Brown.
Professional life 
He was active in politics as a member of the Free Soil Party in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In 1856, he became secretary of the Massachusetts Kansas Commission and came into close touch with John Brown. He aided Brown in the invasion of Harper's Ferry after having vainly opposed the scheme.
From 1863 to 1867 Sanborn was an editor of the Boston Commonwealth, from 1867 to 1897 of the Journal of Social Science, and from 1868 to 1914 a correspondent of the Springfield Republican. He was one of the founders of, and was closely identified with, the American Social Science Association (secretary 1865–1897), the National Prison Association, the National Conference of Charities, the Clarke School for the Deaf, the Massachusetts Infant Asylum, and the Concord School of Philosophy. He lectured at Cornell, Smith, and Wellesley.
In October 1863, he became secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Charities, the first established in America. He was secretary from 1863 to 1868, a member from 1870 to 1876, and chairman from 1874 to 1876. In 1875 he made a searching investigation into the abuses of the Tewksbury almshouse, and in consequence that institution was reformed. In 1879 he helped to reorganize the system of Massachusetts charities, with special reference to the care of children and insane persons, in July 1879 becoming State Inspector of Charities under the new board, serving until 1888.
Personal life 
Sanborn lived at Concord, Massachusetts. He was twice married, first to Ariana Walker in 1854 for eight days until she died. Following his first wife's death, Sanborn courted nineteen-year-old Edith Emerson, the daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson of Concord. Sanborn ultimately proposed to Miss Emerson in 1861, and was rejected. Sanborn apparently took offense, and launched into a series of letters to Miss Emerson's mother. Those letters apparently inflamed the Emerson family, with the result that Ralph Waldo drafted a chilly letter to Sanborn, informing Sanborn of Emerson's wife's displeasure at having been accused. The matter did not end happily, with Mrs. Emerson writing her own letter of reproach to Sanborn.
Ultimately, Sanborn begrudgingly apologized and moved on. He married as his second wife his cousin Louisa Augusta Leavitt in 1862—said to look enough like Sanborn to be his sister—the daughter of Sanborn's uncle Joseph Melcher Leavitt, a Boston merchant, with whom he had three sons. (Sanborn's other uncle was Benson Leavitt, once a partner of his wife's father and later acting mayor of Boston.) Louisa Leavitt had worked as a schoolteacher at the Concord school Sanborn founded. The couple were married at the Church of the Disciples in Boston by abolitionist minister James Freeman Clarke. Their son Victor Channing Sanborn became a Chicago lawyer, and wrote frequently about his father, as well as authoring a book researching his ancestor Thomas Leavitt's origins. Sanborn died February 24, 1917, and was buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.
- Thoreau (1872)
- Life and Letters of John Brown (1885)
- Dr. S. G. Howe (1891)
- A. Bronson Alcott: His Life and Philosophy (with William Torrey Harris) (1893)
- Emerson (1895)
- Dr. Earle (1898)
- Personality of Thoreau (1902)
- Personality of Emerson (1903)
- A History of New Hampshire (1904)
- Hawthorne and His Friends (1908)
- Bronson Alcott at Fruitlands (1908)
- Recollections of Seventy Years (1909)
- Thoreau and his Earliest Writings (1914)
- Sixty years in Concord (1916)
He contributed largely to the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society (1903–15). He also edited two volumes of Theodore Parker's Writings (1914), introduced Newton's Lincoln and Herndon (1913), and wrote brief biographies of Samuel Langdon (president of Harvard College), of Ellery Channing and of Mrs. Abbott-Wood of Lowell. He edited for the Boston Bibliophile Society five volumes of Thoreau's manuscripts, a volume of the Shelley-Payne correspondence, and one of the Fragments and Letters of T. L. Peacock. He edited writings of Paul Jones.
See also 
- New Hampshire Biography and Autobiography, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, Privately printed, Concord, New Hampshire, 1905
- "Sanborn, Franklin Benjamin". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Sanborn, Charles Henry". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
- Sanborn's aunt Miss Alice Leavitt (his mother's sister), was personal nurse to Ralph Waldo Emerson's widow Lydian.
- The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Leslie Rusk, Eleanor Marguerite Tilton, Columbia University Press, 1931, ISBN 0-231-08102-2, ISBN 978-0-231-08102-3
- The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol. LXXI, 1917, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Published by the Society, Boston, 1917
- The Concord Magazine, November 1998
- Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, by Victor Channing Sanborn of Kenilworth, Illinois, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, October 1917, The New England Historic Genealogical Society, Vol. LXXI, Published by the Society, Boston, Mass., 1917
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Sanborn, Franklin Benjamin". New International Encyclopedia 20. 1916. p. 410.
Further reading 
- A. Bronson Alcott: his life and philosophy, Volume 1 Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, William Torrey Harris, John Wilson and Son, Cambridge, Mass., 1893
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Franklin Benjamin Sanborn|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- The Significance of Being Frank, by Tom Foran Clark
- Franklin Benjamin Sanborn Papers, 1845–1936, Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Massachusetts