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2004 Speaker - Mr. Ralph Archibald

portraying Mr. Benjamin Franklin

The pre-eminent Benjamin Franklin impersonator in Philadelphia, Mr. Ralph Archbold eschewed his job as an industrial photographer in 1974 to begin portraying Franklin, a career that has endured over 33 years. Making between 400 and 500 appearances a year, Archbold is affiliated with the Friends of Franklin, was designated the official Ben Franklin for America’s Constitutional Bicentennial, and is the official Franklin of the Franklin Institute.

Similar to Franklin in interests, appearance, and even date of birth, Ralph Archbold and Ben Franklin are nearly synonymous in the City of Brotherly Love. A resident of Philadelphia since 1981, Archbold has received acclaim for his impersonations nationwide, portraying Franklin for such noteworthy publications and productions as:

  • The New York Times
  • USA Today
  • The New Yorker
  • The History Channel
  • TIME magazine

He is featured in the IMAX movie at Franklin Institute, appears on screen in the Freedom Rising show at the National Constitution Center, is the Franklin Image in the money exhibit at the Federal Reserve Bank and narrates the voice of Franklin in The Lights of Liberty Show.

He performed for 200 guests in the East Room of the White House following a Presidential Dinner to honor Ben Franklin's 300th birthday.

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