I currently have around 100 different Old Farm Almanacs from the 1800’s in my collection. All of them are from the New England region of the United States. There were three major almanacs published in that area during nineteenth century. They are pictured below. These photos give you a good idea of what my current collection is like.
The above 1875 edition of Dudley Leavitt’s Farmer’s Almanac features a picture of father time. This particular example is in pretty good condition for 133 years old. As I was taking a close look at the picture, I was surprised to see a signature. It says, "Herrick," which is my first name.
Here’s another example of a Leavitt’s almanac, this one from 1862. It features a very simple woodcut illustration. Look closely in the upper left hand corner of the almanac and you will see a small piece of string. It was typical for the farmer to punch a hole in the corner of his almanac and tie a loop of string there so the booklet could be hung in a convenient place for frequent reference. About half of my collection still has the string loops.
The binding on this 1873 copy of the Maine Farmer’s Almanac was reinforced by its owner with some string. Repairs to the bindings are not unusual. These books were highly regarded by their owners. And they were saved for years. I have one old almanac with a torn page that was carefully stitched back together with fine thread.
Here is another example of a Maine Farmer’s Almanac, showing a clearer view of the typical cover woodcut for this publisher. The editor, Daniel Robinson, was a direct descendent of Pastor John Robinson, the beloved spiritual leader of the Mayflower Pilgrims when they were in Leyden, Holland. I do not think Pastor Robinson ever made it to America. But his son Issac did. Some of my favorite Farmer’s Calendar essays are found in the Maine Farmer’s Almanac.
Many of the almanacs in my collection look like this example of an 1853 Old Farmer’s Almanac by Robert B. Thomas. They are fragile, stained, faded, and freckled by thousands of fly specks. The deteriorating condition of these old almanacs is part of the reason I have established this web site. I want to preserve the old writings before they are gone and completely forgotten.
This example of a Thomas’s Old Farmer’s Almanac may look familiar to you. The almanac is still being published and the same distinctive cover design is still used. Note the fine example of a hanging string on this 134-year-old relic.