Claude-Anne Lopez Dies at 92; Told of Franklin’s Private Life

He was a postmaster-inventor-diplomat-founding father — just another American revolutionary. She was two centuries younger but plenty worldly as well, with a blend of verve and pragmatism that had helped her escape Nazi-occupied Belgium by taxicab. Their first meetings were hardly memorable.

“I must admit that your words of wisdom left me cold,” Claude-Anne Lopez would write many years later. “But I had no choice: it was your papers or nothing.”

It was academia in the 1950s, and she was a woman in a man’s world. She took what she could get: a job transcribing the 30,000 documents that constitute the Papers of Benjamin Franklin at Yale University. She started as a transcriber at 65 cents an hour. She would become an authority — and an admirer....

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