American almanacs

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A tradition of almanacs published for the purposes of North America began in New England in the 17th century. The earliest almanac published for New England appeared in Cambridge, Massachusetts as early as 1639, by William Pierce. It was the second work printed in the English colonies of America altogether (the first being The Oath of a Free-man, printed earlier in the same year).[1] The earliest New England almanac of which an extant copy survives in the Library of Congress[2] was published by Zechariah Brigden in Cambridge in 1659.[3] Harvard College became the first center for the annual publication of almanacs with various editors including Samuel Danforth, Oakes, Cheever, Chauncey, Dudley, Foster, et alia. An almanac maker going under the pseudonym of Poor Richard, Knight of the Burnt Island began to publish Poor Robin's Almanack one of the first comic almanacs that parodied these horoscopes in its 1664 issue, saying "This month we may expect to hear of the Death of some Man, Woman, or Child, either in Kent or Christendom." Other noteworthy comic almanacs include those published from 1687-1702 by John Tully of Saybrook, Connecticut. The Boston ephemeris was an early almanac published in Boston during the 1680s.[4]

The most important early American almanacs were made from 1726-1775 by Nathaniel Ames of Dedham, Massachusetts. A few years later James Franklin began publishing the Rhode-Island Almanack beginning in 1728. Five years later his brother Benjamin Franklin began publishing Poor Richard's Almanack from 1733-1758. Benjamin Banneker improved on the Almanac from 1792-1797.

From the late 18th to early 19th century, there began a fashion of Farmers' Almanacs published regionally in the newly independent United States.

  • "The United States almanac" 1776–
  • The Farmer's Almanac, published from 1792, since 1836 known as The Old Farmer's Almanac
  • Washington's citizen and farmer's almanack, for the year 1810 .. containing, besides the astronomical calculations by Joshua Sharp, a variety of pieces in prose and verse
  • "The Annual Visiter and Citizen and Farmer's Almanac" 1812–
  • The Citizen and farmer's almanac 1814–?
  • The Farmers' Almanac, published since 1818 in Morristown, New Jersey, later in Newark, New Jersey, since 1955 by the Almanac Publishing Company in Lewiston, Maine.
  • The Farmer's almanac, for the year of our Lord 1819 ... calculated for the meridian of Philadelphia by Andrew Beers (1749-1824), published by S. Potter & Co.
  • The New England Farmer's Almanac (1820s-1830s?)
  • The Maine Farmers' Almanac, printed from 1819 in Hallowell, Maine and later in Augusta, Maine, printed by Goodale, Glazier & Co. and edited by Daniel Robinson and Abel Bowen. Appeared until 1968.
  • American Almanac and Treasury of Facts


  • Bruce Stanley Burdick, Mathematical Works Printed in the Americas, 1554–1700, Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Mathematics, 2010, ISBN 9781421402055.

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