Poor Richard's Almanack

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Poor Richard's Almanack was an annual almanac published by Benjamin Franklin. Poor Richard's ran for 26 years.

Background

In late 1732, he began writing and publishing Poor Richard's Almanack, under the guise of "Poor Richard Saunders" and his wife, Bridget, both fictional characters. The almanack provided useful information on the seasons while enlightening the reader with witty short sayings. Franklin had a knack for rewording and improving old proverbs in a wittier manner. The almanac appeared annually from 1732 to 1758, selling over 250,000 copies.

Poor Richard's Almanack shaped provincial society by trumpeting the virtuous common man and by pushing such men into active roles in the public sphere. Poor Richard outsold competing almanacs published by Atkins, Leeds, Taylor, Jerman, Birkett, and Godfrey by appealing to and providing information for the masses. In the process, Franklin spread the Whig ideology that became American republicanism to his readers. He praised them for having a better intuitive political knowledge and devotion to republican virtue than those in higher social positions. While trying to open the public sphere to men of ability (like himself), Franklin closed it to women, the poor, and non-English nationalities and races. By discussing Pennsylvania politics and other issues, Poor Richard's Almanack sought to transform its readers into diligent citizens who would help develop a politically active private sphere within colonial America.[1]

References

  1. William Pencak, "Politics and Ideololgy in Poor Richard's Almanack". Pennsylvania Magazine Ideologyof History and Biography 1992 116(2): 183-211

External links