Beers' Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1811 • Only copy recorded

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Garland C. Boothe, Jr., class of 1954, presented to the Library the only known copy printed as single sheet of Beers’ Almanack for the Year of Our Lord 1811 (New Haven, 1811).

Almanacs were a staple of printer’s trade for centuries, with some editions being printed in hundreds of thousands of copies. Purchasers ranged from the hard-scrabble farmer to the prosperous proprietor and everyone in between. “All our domestic operations are carried on by the aid of this daily manual; and we do not stir from our firesides without running over the long thin columns of days, sun’s declination, time of rising and setting, or without a wishful glance at the hazardous assurance of the bright moon-light nights, and pleasant days.” (Atlantic Magazine, August 1, 1824, page 298)

The usual publishing format was a book styled for a gentleman’s pocket or a lady’s desk. For public places, such as a coffee house wall or above a merchant’s desk, printers provided the text imposed on a single sheet. Useful while current and hanging, but, once out of date, requiring disposal, sheet almanacs rarely survive today. Pocket almanacs stood a better chance of survival. They could remain on the shelf with other books, especially if they were handsomely bound so as to complement a fancy mahogany desk.

According to the titlepage of the pocket edition, Andrew Beers, “Philomath,” provided the “Lunations, Conjunctions, Eclipses, Judgment of the Weather, Rising and Setting of the Planets, Length of Days and Nights, Tide-Table, Time of Sitting of the Courts in Connecticut, with other Matter, Useful, Instructive and Entertaining.” He assured the reader that his calculations “may serve for either of the towns in Connecticut, or the adjacent States, without any essential difference.”

The Boothe gift is now catalogued and shelved as (Ex) Broadside 392.

[Illustration above adapted from page 28 of Many Things Upon Money Matters for the Use of Young People in the United States (West Bradford and Boston, 1835)]

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