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Almanac(k)s of Season's Past

franklin.jpgOn this date in 1732 (OS), Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of Poor Richard's Almanack, which was not the first almanac ever published, but is certainly one of the best remembered in the U.S. Poor Richard's is probably recalled more for its maxims and homilies than for its informative value, though various editions contained sage advice on everything from "How to Secure Houses From Lightning" to "Rules to find a fit measure of Meat and Drink."

Written under the pseudonym 'Richard Saunders' (with the occasional preface from 'Bridget Saunders,' his fictional wife), Poor Richard's also contained some of the same content you'll find in The World Almanac today--meteorology, agriculture, other contemporary information--albeit in different form. Consider this prediction on eclipses from 1734 (and compare it to the modern almanac standard in The World Almanac 2007, on page 331):

"Of the eclipses, 1734. There will be but two: the first, April 22, 18 min. after 5 in the morning; the second, October 15, 36 min. after 1 in the afternoon. Both of the sun; and both, like Mrs. ------'s modesty, and old neighbor Scrape-all's money, invisible. Or like a certain storekeeper late of ------ County, not to be seen in these parts."

More such gems can be found online here, where you can read a page-by-page facsimile of an early edition of Poor Richard's Almanack.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 19, 2006 3:00 PM.

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