Early Almanacs

Memorial Day is celebrated on Monday May 25. Traditionally on this weekend memorials and cemeteries receive an extra sprucing up.  Throughout New England this weekend is a popular time to work in the garden.  Many gardeners may be familiar with the Farmers' Alamanac, still published today, which includes weather predictions, astronomical data and recommendations for planting.  We found this 1935 edition at the Amesbury Public Library, they have a small collection of almanacs from the 18th - 20th centuries. This education of Farmer's was printed in Newburyport. 

 

 But Farmers' isn't the only game in town. One of the earlier and most popular almanacks published in the United States was the Astronomical Almananck (or Diary) authored by Nathaniel Ames who lived in Massachusetts. 

Perhaps the most curious Almanack we uncovered was this colorful one published in Britain in the 19th century. Clock Almanack by John Hartley was written in the Yorkshire dialect. This copy from 1871 includes short stories which were typical of this publication. The cover signals levity to the newly expanding reading public.  Unlike the astronomical, religious and even the Farmer's almanacs this publication didn't take itself quite so seriously.