Information About The Farmer's Almanac

The Farmer's Almanac has been a popular book of reference for centuries. Learn more about it.

Since man began looking to the stars in order to predict future events, almanacs have been written and read. The first almanac to be printed was seen in Europe in the mid fourteen hundreds. Early almanacs contained lists of holy days and the dates for when they were to be celebrated. The most famous of the early almanacs was published in the year of seventeen hundred. It was known as the Vox Stellarum of Francis Moore. It contained data which pertained to the calendar as well as data from astronomical sources.

Several years later, in the year of seventeen hundred and thirty-two,'Poor Richard's Almanack' was published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by a man named Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was a printer, among other occupations, and he published his book of weather predictions, recipes, advice, and growing tips for farmers under the pen name of Richard Saunders. Some of Franklin's sayings are still well-known today. One of his famous bits of advice was, "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Franklin published his 'almanacks' for the next twenty-five years.

The publication which is simply known today as The Farmer's Almanac started its illustrious history over two hundred years ago, in the year of seventeen hundred and ninety-two. And this useful publication has been published every fall, every year, ever since. Its claim to fame includes the fact that it is the "oldest continuously published periodical in North America."

A man by the name of Robert Thomas founded this popular book of reference material. The word almanac is believed to have come from the Arabic word "al-manakh" which means "weather." Thomas' first almanac appeared as simply, "The Farmer's Almanack...for the Year of Our Lord 1793." He sold his compilation of weather forecasts, planting charts, tide tables, astronomical data, rising and setting times of the Sun and the Moon, the positions of the planets, recipes, and common sense advice coupled with a calendar of the days, weeks, and months of the year for less than ten cents a copy.

Thomas is said to have devised a secret method of forecasting the weather. His forecasts were believed to be at least eighty per cent accurate. Thomas published his last edition of his famous almanac in the year of eighteen hundred and forty-six, the same year that he passed away. He was eighty years old.

Another interesting note about The Farmer's Alamanac is a story that is said to have happened in the year of nineteen forty-two. FBI agents captured a German spy after he found his way to New York. Amazingly, the agents found among the spy's possessions, a copy of The Farmer's Almanac in his pocket. The United States Government could only assume that the almanac was being used as a reference for finding out weather forecasts. Technically, this was supplying information to the enemy and could have been a violation of the Code of Wartime Practices for the American Press. No charges were filed against the publication though.

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