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"My power was allways small tho my will is good."

— Jane Mecom

"Energy and persistence conquer all things."

— Benjamin Franklin

This oversized postcard is a reproduction (offset printed, NOT letterpress) of "Signed, Sealed, Soapbox," part of the ongoing Dead Feminists broadside series. This piece is a collaboration between Chandler O'Leary of Anagram Press and Jessica Spring of Springtide Press, in solidarity with those stand up for the rights and equality of all, despite the considerable might of the powerful few.

This postcard faithfully reproduces the hand-lettered typography and hand-drawn illustrations of the original poster—which features our very first male Dead Feminist. "Signed, Sealed, Soapbox" is a correspondence between Jane Mecom and her brother, Benjamin Franklin. Their quotes are accompanied by excerpts—word-for-word, including any original spelling errors and colonial-era grammar—from their letters to one another, each in a hand-lettered style based on Ben and Jane's actual handwriting.

Jane's excerpted letter:

"I have wrote & spelt this very badly but as it is to Won who I am sure will make all Reasonable allowances for me and will not let any won Els see it I shall venter to send it & subscrib my Self yr Ever affectionat Sister, Jane Mecom."

Ben's excerpted letter:

"Is there not a little Affectation in your Apology for the Incorrectness of your Writing? Perhaps it is rather fishing for Commendation. You write better, in my Opinion, than most American Women. Believe me ever Your loving Brother, B. Franklin."

There are few Founding Fathers more famous than Ben Franklin, but his sister Jane was somewhat of a mystery. What we do know is that Jane had a very different life than her illustrious brother. Thanks to the simple fact of having been born female, her youth was spent having babies rather than obtaining an education. Her life was marked with misfortune, poverty and the deaths of nearly everyone she loved. Yet through it all she craved knowledge, and read everything she could get her hands on. She was a skilled craftsperson, making the famed Franklin Crown Soap and teaching the trade to others. And she followed her brother's career with pride—and he supported her in return, both financially and emotionally.

"Signed, Sealed, Soapbox" is illustrated with the sweeping curves of ornate penmanship and the detailed linework of colonial engravings. A faux-bois forest of branches and flowers resembles the printed toile fabrics of the day. The swoops and swirls of the calligraphy rest in stately Wedgwood blue (complimented by a telltale vase at the bottom!), while Ben and Jane's correspondence occupies a butter-yellow letter edged like a vintage postage stamp. And though there is no surviving likeness of Jane Mecom, she deserves much more than the portrait of a Jane Doe. Instead, she is made in the image of the "Comtesse d'Haussonville" by French painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

Colophon reads:

Jane (Franklin) Mecom (1712 – 1794) was born in Boston's North End, the youngest daughter of a soap maker. Married at fifteen, she had no formal education but was a voracious reader of books supplied by her brother. She ran a boarding house and made soap to support her ailing husband, her elderly parents and her twelve children. She outlived all but one of them. Her "Book of Ages" chronicles the deaths of these loved ones, but what little we know of Jane herself can be traced to a lifetime of correspondence with her beloved brother.

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) attended school for just two years before becoming a printer's apprentice at age twelve, but was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale and Oxford. He founded the first lending library in America, reformed the colonial postal system and became the first U.S. Postmaster General. He espoused the values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit and tolerance, and opposed authoritarianism in both religion and politics.

Despite the differences in their education and circumstances, Benjamin largely treated his sister as an equal, and penned more letters to her than any other person in his life. He sent his writings and political essays to get Jane's opinion, and notable figures of the day visited her to pay their respects out of deference to the famous Franklin. Benjamin provided decades of financial support for Jane and her children, and upon his death bequeathed her a comfortable living — as well as public trusts to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia to fund mortgages, school scholarships and eventually establish the Franklin Institute of Technology.

Illustrated by Chandler O'Leary and printed by Jessica Spring, 100% occupied with Benjamin's wise words — and deeds — as he signed the Declaration of Independence: "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." November 2011

Postcard size: 5 x 8 inches
PLEASE NOTE: this oversized postcard requires extra postage. It mails at the regular letter rate (currently 46 cents) within the U.S.

PAPER FINISH: this postcard is made from paper with a smooth, eggshell finish. If you write on it, we recommend using either a ballpoint pen or some form of permanent, smear-proof ink.


This original artwork is copyright Chandler O'Leary and Jessica Spring 2011. Copyright is not transferable with the sale of this piece. The buyer is not entitled to reproduction rights.

WA state residents are subject to sales tax.

This postcard will ship flat in a protective mailer.

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SIGNED SEALED SOAPBOX oversized postcard featuring Jane Mecom and Benjamin Franklin

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  • Handmade item
  • Materials: ink, paper
  • Ships worldwide from United States
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