Benjamin Franklin is most famously known for his inventions and involvement in drafting the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. However, this Founding Father inspired and influenced many other prospects – although less famously on some rare occasions. For instance, few people likely know about his affiliation with the organization known as The Junto Club, or The Junto of Philadelphia, which has also been called the Leather Apron Club.
The group is an organization founded by Benjamin Franklin and his friends in 1727. The original Junto of Philadelphia or Junto Club lasted 38 years, and it began with 12 members who were tradesmen and artisans. They met Friday evenings to discuss issues of morals, politics, or natural philosophy. Members of the club were interested in the improvement of society and proposing public projects (many of which became reality).
While the original Junto was started by not perpetuated by Benjamin Franklin or his affiliates, a group called The Junto of Indianapolis sprang up in 1929. This group adopted the basic concepts of the original and applied it to business – spearheading a version and revitalization of Franklin’s organization some 200 years later. By 1940, The Junto of Minneapolis Club started up.
In 1947, the Junto of Minneapolis mirrored similar philosophies as the original in its description as being a “select council brought together for the mutual exchange of friendship and assistance in the highly charged atmosphere of competitive business.” Other known Juntos to exist in the States include: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, South Bend, Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati, Louisville, Fort Wayne, Baltimore, Newark, N.J., Toledo, Elkhart, Ind., and Chicago.
To find out more about the Minneapolis Junto Club stop by the Hennepin History Museum’s archives and check out the collection.
Page 1 From one of the “Service Club” article; Page 1 & 2 (unnumbered) from 1947 membership book from “Junto of Minneapolis.”; Benjamin Frankling Historical Society http://www.benjamin-franklin-history.org/junto-club/
Written by Amber Espitia, Archive Volunteer