An almanac was one of the most important publications in colonial America, and nearly every household owned a copy. It provided people with valuable information as well as entertainment.
Because almanacs were so important to colonists, printers would pay an astrologer a lot of money to do the calculations—almost as much as a Justice of the Peace was paid.
Benjamin Franklin was a man of science who was able to do his own calculations. He must have had been somewhat accurate, because his two almanacs, Poor Richard’s and Poor Robin’s, were some of the most popular in the colonies.
The most important use of an almanacs was to predict the weather and to help people know when to plant their crops. There were no weathermen in the colonial period. People relied on their almanacs to know the best time to plant their crops and whether it was going to be a wet spring or a dry summer. But without modern science to rely on, people predicted the weather using astrology—studying the movements of the planets and stars in the belief that they influenced events on earth.
Source: Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack
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