Almanacs are annual guidebooks, used as a calendar and sometimes as a diary, for looking up astronomical data or astrological signs, and even as a weather forecast. They were particularly popular throughout the early modern period, when printing made them cheap and readily available. Almanacs could be useful to a farmer who wanted to know when to plant and harvest, or to a person in the city who wanted to look up the date of a religious festival. They were the essential guidebook in a pre-digital age, and were therefore produced in large numbers.
Thanks to the generosity of Joseph Daragan ’71, Special Collections is now home to 450 almanacs dating from 1677 to 1907. Mr Daragan’s donation has provided us with both a wonderful teaching tool and a great resource for research into everyday life. Many of the labels here were written by students in the class ‘Books: Technology and Culture in the Atlantic World, 1400-1800’, but much remains to be discovered in this remarkable collection.
Curation: Phillip Emanuel, Ph.D. Candidate in History and Special Collections Graduate Assistant
with students from his Fall 2018 course, HIST 211 Books: Technology and Culture in the Atlantic World, c. 1400-c.1800
Design: Abram Clear '21, SCRC Graphics Student Assistant
Fabrication and Installation: Phillip Emanuel; Jennie Davy, Exhibits Manager; KateKarl Nash '21, Special Collections Student Assistant; Gabriela Montesdeoca '20, Special Collections Student Assistant; and Sara Donovan '20, Special Collections Student Assistant