Early American Almanacs

I recommend reading Michael Winship’s recent article “Pirates, Shipwrecks, and Comic Almanacs: Charles Ellms Packages Books in Nineteenth-Century America,” in Printing History (N.S. no. 9, January 2011): 3-16. In it, he discusses the earliest almanacs in the United States and the development of the comic almanac specifically. As well as a few pirates.

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In graphic arts, we are fortunate to hold the Sinclair Hamilton collection, which includes a photostat of Noadiah Russell (1659-1713), Cambridge Ephemeris. An Almanack of Coelestial Motions, Configurations, &c. for the Year of the Christian Aera, 1684 (Cambridge [Mass.]: Printed by Samuel Green, 1684). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 5
John Tulley (1638-1701), An Almanack for the Year of Our Lord, MDCXCVI [1696] (Boston, N.E.: Printed by Bartholomew Green, and John Allen, for John Usher, and are to be sold at his shop below the Town-House, 1696 [i.e., 1695?]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 6

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I prefer American almanacs from the eighteenth century, when the woodcuts become more plentiful, such as seen here with our: John Tobler (1696-1765), The Pennsylvania Town and Country-Man’s Almanack for the Year of our Lord 1756 (Germantown [Pa.]: Printed and sold by C. Sower jun., [1755]). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) Hamilton 34.

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Michael Winship is the Iris Howard Regents Professor of English II at the University of Texas at Austin and editor of the final three volumes of the nine-volume Bibliography of American Literature. He is the author of American Literary Publishing in the Mid-Nineteenth Century: The Business of Ticknor and Fields (1995) and has published widely on the nineteenth-century American book and publishing trades.

Winship’s article is available in paper or (soon) electronically at Princeton University and for others, directly from the American Printing History Association: http://www.printinghistory.org/publications/printing-history.php

See also Charles Ellms, Queer Almanac (1836). GAX Hamilton SS347
Charles Ellms, Shipwrecks and Disasters at Sea, or, Historical Narratives of the Most Noted Calamities…(1836). GAX 2003-1740N