Almanacs were the most read secular books in the colonies. The first almanac in North America was published in 1639. In 1732 Franklin published his first almanac, Poor Richard’s Almanack, under the pseudonym of Richard Saunders. He published a new almanac every year for the next 25 years. It contained all sorts of interesting information such as the calendar, weather predictions, sayings, recipes, and demographics. Franklin considered it a way to instruct common people who could not afford books.
The name Poor Richard was based on a British almanac, Poor Robin, which was first published in 1664. The name Richard Saunders gradually became linked with Franklin’s character.
Poor Richard’s Almanack was popular thanks to Franklin’s ability to adapt the information with his own wit and jokes. The almanac was a best seller in the American colonies, making Benjamin Franklin a wealthy man.
Source: Poor Richard’s Almanack
Copyright © 2014. Benjamin Franklin Historical Society.