Talk:Poor Richard's Almanack

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Ben Franklin also was an apprentice to his brother, james —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:42, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm adding the following line to the sample maxims list: "Benjamin Franklin however, never said "A penny saved, is a penny earned." That is a misquotation from "A penny saved is twopence clear."". Because A, it is not written well into the article, just randomly tacked on the end. B, it is worded very strangely, using "however" when there's no contradiction implied and using "said" when the list is of maxims written. And C, it is in a the list of sample maxims, but is not itself a maxim, but information about a maxim. I'm also re-adding the link that was removed as it has all the editions where the other sites just have some of them.Lookingforgroup 20:56, 8 May 2006 (UTC)


I removed the link to "Benjamin Franklin: Writer, Inventor, Statesman" since the poster has only edited articles to promote There might be some value in the information but it definitely does not belong in the body of this article.


According to Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, Franklin plagarized much of the material for the almanac from other soursees. I think this should be looked into. Alex (+) 04:50, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Poor Richard! His Sayings Updated[edit]

The articles I have read in the Wikipedia seem to me to be uniformly excellent.

I submit my website ( for consideration as an external link for two articles: “Benjamin Franklin” and “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

I am quoting below from Google’s page on “Ben and Verse.” A reference to this page may facilitate a ready verification of the statements below.

The proposed reason for listing it under “Poor Richard’s Almanac” appears in the description from Google’s Directory (and elsewhere):

John McCall’s distillation of sayings from “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

The proposed reasons for including it, in addition, under the broader topic “Benjamin Franklin” also appear in the following reasons: 1) It’s on a list of a dozen links in the Franklin Institutes “List of Resources for Studying Ben Franklin.”

2) It’s described in the US History Organization’s “Franklin Links” in this way:

See Ben Franklin’s proverbs and quotes in sound bites and rhymes. Find a bio, links, and aphorisms by subject from “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

3) Its “A+” award from the Webenglishteacher, which describes, under “Benjamin Franklin,” the site in this way:

This site rewrites Franklin’s aphorisms as up-to-date verse, with different proverbs appearing each month. In addition to being entertaining, it has many possible classroom applications.

I realize that these descriptions are much lengthier than those I saw on the relevant pages in Wikipedia. A possible citation occurred to me:

Quotations by subject plus an update in rhyme

This description has been correct for years, and I have instructed my estate to maintain the website so that it will continue to be accurate long after my death.

However, I have added a new miscellaneous section to my website, and I hope to submit proposed links shortly for some articles unrelated to Franklin.

I would consider it an honor to be listed in Wikipedia.

Sincerely, John McCall [email removed for privacy] 17:27, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Wisdom Indexed[edit]

As an old indexer, I hope you will forgive me for adding a particularly boring rationale for considering a link for my website,

The website may be distinctive in offering a large number of Franklin’s sayings, organized by subject, with (what seem to me) abundant cross-references.

John McCall 12:58, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

Poor Richard Free from Copyright Restrictions[edit]

Astounding as it might seem, when I first began writing about Poor Richard, a publisher tried to impose copyright restrictions on almanac sayings hundreds of years old. Thanks to the kindness of Dr. Leo Lemay, who offered his version of the sayings for my purpose, I was able to proceed.

Please feel free to use any or all the material from my website "Ben and Verse",, as long as the source is noted. The website is devoted chiefly to quoting and updating from selected almanac sayings (as I described in another discussion on this page).

Also, please note that a site search engine has now been installed. 20:57, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The Jean Kerr play Poor Richard[edit]

I suspect that some reference to the Jean Kerr play Poor Richard should appear here (but I don't have the knowledge to take it further). Nat 12:35, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Dwapara link[edit]

The web page provides no information about Poor Richard's Almanac, so I've removed its mention. PRRfan (talk) 03:08, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Project Gutenberg to Download "Ben & Verse"[edit]

Project Gutenberg, the institution for the preservation of literature, according to its founder Thomas Hart, plans to download the entire section on Ben Franklin and "Poor Richard's Almanac" from "Ben & Verse," the web site described above. Even now,it may be downloaded at Provided that the source is cited, the material may be used without compensation or restriction.

John McCall —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:11, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Project Gutenberg was founded by MICHAEL Hart[edit]

I'm ashamed for the mistake made in Dr. Hart's name. as I consider him a key figure in preserving world literature.

John McCall —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:47, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Please Delete the Talk Items on Gutenberg[edit]

I ask that anyone with the skill and authority to do so to delete my items referring to Project Gutenberg here (and, if possible, elsewhere). Even though I do not profit financially from my web site, I have come to find these references are out of place, no better than name dropping. I regret my poor judgment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:43, 31 January 2008 (UTC)


Doesn't add much...not really criticism of the Almanack, per se, but rather, Franklin. I suggest deleting the entire section. Any objections? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Wholesale deletion seems drastic, especially with such short notice. The information seems well researched and cited regardless of whether it's criticism or something else. Give it some time. Few people check their watchlists daily. Ando228 (talk) 21:35, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Richard Saunders, aka "Poor Richard"[edit]

The "Poor Richard" Franklin refers to, Richard Saunders, was an actual person.

Richard Saunders, 1613-1692, was an English astrologer-physician. In 1677 he published The Astrological Judgement and Practice of Physick, which at the time, and for more than a century thereafter, was the standard book on the subject. Franklin had this book in his library. I myself publish Saunders' book, which can be obtained via Amazon. The current printing runs 397 pages.

Given the actual existence of Saunders, the attribution of Franklin's almanac to "Isaac Bickerstaff" may be erroneous. "Bickerstaff" was pseudonym of Jonathan Swift, created to harass John Partridge (1644-1715), who published a successful series of almanacs, Merlinus Liberatus, from 1680 to approximately the date of his death. Swift entered the fray in 1708, with a satirical almanac, wherein he loudly proclaimed the death of Partridge. Whereupon Partridge replied. You may find an outline of the ensuing broadsides in F. Leigh Gardiner's A Catalogue Raisonne of Works on the Occult Sciences, vol. 2, Astrological Books, first published in 1911. This was reprinted by Edith "Joyce" Waldron in 1977 as Bibliotheca Astrologica (Symbols & Signs, Pasadena, pgs 15-16).

In Gardner, entry 117 is Bickerstaff's Predictions for the Year 1708, described as a 4to.

Entry 118 is a Letter to a Lord (Jonathan Swift), dated 1708

Entry 119 is an Elegy on Mr. Partridge, the Almanac Maker, 1708.

Entry 120, Squire Bickerstaff Detected, was Partridge's reply, 1708.

Entry 121, A Vindication of Isaac Bickerstaff, was Swift's reply, 1709.

Entry 122, The British Visions of I Bickerstaff's Twelve Prophecies, appeared in 1711.

It is possible that Gardner's list is incomplete. In modern times the various broadsides have been collected & published elsewhere. It is clear that Swift did not publish almanacs. Partridge did. He was one of the most notable of various almanac publishers, having one of the longest-lived almanacs. Investigation may determine if Franklin patterned his Poor Richard after Partridge, even though it was named after Saunders.

For more on Partridge, see James Herschel Holden, A History of Horoscopic Astrology (2nd edition, 2006, AFA, Tempe, AZ, pgs 190-1). Neither Holden, nor Gardner, mention almanacs published by Swift.

Dave of Maryland (talk) 19:15, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Poor Richard Typeface[edit]

Is this from where this typeface gets its name? Martyn Smith (talk) 15:03, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

noah webster[edit]

is that right the old farmers almanack page don't mention him at all! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:28, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the note ... good catch! You're right; he had no involvement in The Old Farmer's Almanac whatsoever. I've fixed that passage to conform with the cited source and added a link to an online copy of said reference. This error had been in the article for almost seven years. Graham87 16:29, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Poor Richard's Almanack/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Per Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment table. Daniel Bryant 01:43, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 01:43, 17 April 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 03:14, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

"Current Status" section appears to be false and/or baseless[edit]

The "Current Status" section reads

"Today, the Roosevelt-Bentman Trust for American Voters, Philadelphia, an active charitable trust, owns the property rights to "Poor Richard's Almanack" through The Poor Richard Corporation. The intellectual property rights were secured in 1978 when the Poor Richard's Club, Philadelphia, went defunct.[19]"

The citation is to This is a dead link, and according to the Internet Wayback Machine, has been a dead link since at least February 7, 2017. An earlier snapshotin the Wayback Machine shows this text:

"The Trust recently was given the stock of The Poor Richard Corp. (inc. Aug. 8, 1983) originally The Poor Richard Company, Inc. (inc. July 17, 1978). The company received all intellectual property rights to the Almanac, founded December 19, 1732 by Benj. Franklin, from The Poor Richard Club, when it went defunct in 1978. Transfer of ownership of Poor Richard to the Trust was prompted by the "False News" crisis in the 2016 Presidential Campaign."

The author of this section, PeterJWirs (who has no user page), has purported to be the sole trustee of the "Roosevelt-Bentman Trust." To the extent the "Trust" maintains a current web presence, it appears to be at That site shows no reference to the Almanac or any rights thereto. Mr. Wirs has also purported to be the chairman, CEO, editor and publisher of the Poor Richard Corporation.

There appears to be no reason to believe that any entity has any intellectual property rights to "Poor Richard's Almanack." Copyright, if it ever attached, would have expired more than two centuries ago. There are several federal trademark registrations for "Poor Richard" or variants, but none is registered to the Poor Richard Corporation, or the the Roosevelt-Bentman Trust, and none is for books or publication. I can find no evidence that Wirs, the Poor Richard Corporation, or the Roosevelt-Bentman Trust has ever published a book or periodical of any sort.

The "Current Status" section suggests that "intellectual property rights" were secured from the defunct "Poor Richard's Club." There is no evidence at all to suggest that the Club had any intellectual property rights whatsoever to "Poor Richard's Almanack." (Note: It appears the Club in 1916 published a book entitled "Poor Richard's Dictionary of Philadelphia." The copyright has long since lapsed, and there is nothing to suggest any kind of trademark rights would have attached to the title of the single volume published more than a century ago.) In any event, I find nothing to suggest that any intellectual property the Club may have had would have survived its demise.

Can anyone think of a reason why this section should not be deleted in its entirety? --J. G. Graubart (talk) 00:47, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

Not I. Graham87 03:19, 30 March 2017 (UTC)