Books: American Sage

THE PAPERS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, VOL. I (400 pp.)—Edited by Leonard W. Labaree—Yale University ($7.50).

Benjamin Franklin, printer, philosopher, scientist, author, patriot and first citizen of Philadelphia, is America's universal man. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of his greatness was that he managed to be a kind of human golden mean—wise, moral, prudent, without being dull. This first volume of his collected papers gives readers the happy chance to get reacquainted with Franklin's winy wit, sage maxims and arrow-swift mind.

27,000 Photocopies. The monumentally projected scope of the collected Papers is a publishing...