Franklin’s group of twelve Philadelphians met Friday nights at a local tavern they called the “merchant’s Every-night club,” where they discussed business, morality, politics, philosophy, and whatever else interested them. The membership was vocationally diverse, with businessmen, a clerk, a mathematician, a shoemaker, a surveyor, and a mechanic. Members of the Junto did a great deal of what we today would call “networking,” promoting each other’s advancement and keeping an eye out for useful connections with others beyond their group. The underlying agenda was to help one another become successful in their careers and good citizens. They discussed the role that virtues—such as prudence, diligence, and humility—play in building a successful life. Later in life, Franklin reflected on the role the Junto played in society: “the club continued (for forty years), and was the best school of philosophy, morality, and politics as then existed in the province.” The Junto also took on civic and charitable causes, such as establishing a public library by asking members to donate some of their own books.
Read the rest of William Damon's essay here.
Here's the link for Ben Franklin Circles.