The Old Farmers Almanac

North America’s most popular reference guide and oldest continuously published periodical

My grandfather, “Doc” Mize, was a farmer all his life. When I was a child, in the 1960’s, I remember him having The Old Farmers Almanac and planning his planting schedule around the forecasts within. Mother used to buy them for the articles and recipes and such. I used to check the almanac for the fishing charts to see when the fish would bite (but then I’d just go when I could). This magazine has been beloved for many years and probably years to come.

The first Old Farmers Almanac (known then as The Farmers Almanac) was founded and edited by Robert B. Thomas in 1792. The second year the distribution tripled to 9000 copies and they were sold for 4 cents an issue (sixpence). the secret weather predicting formula, created by Thomas, is still used today. It takes into consideration solar activity, astronomy cycles and weather patterns. Thomas also came up with drilling a hole through the top left corner of the magazine so it could be hung from a nail, or a string tied to it, for easy access.

Published very September and containing weather forecasts, planting charts, astronomical data, recipes, and articles. Topics include: gardening, sports, astronomy, folklore, and predictions on trends in fashion, food, home, technology, and living for the coming year. Thomas added “Old” to the title in 1832 but dropped it in 1836. After he died, the new editor John Henry Jenks permanently added it back to the title. The four seasons drawing, on the cover, was added in 1851, made permanent in 1955 and is still used today. It was drawn by Boston artist Hammatt Billings, engraved by Henry Nichols.

In 1939, Robb Sagendorph, the founder of Yankee Magazine, bought the Old Farmers Almanac. He made it more witty, wise, and more entertaining, as it had been a hundred years earlier. In 2000, the 13th editor became Janice Stillman who kept the traditions intact. In 2016, The Old Farmer’s Almanac celebrated its 225th anniversary. While true believers will tell you that the weather forecasts are 80% accurate but the truth is that research has shown about 51% accuracy, which means you could guess just as well. The Magazines website is very nice and found here.

Neither we nor anyone else has as yet gained sufficient insight into the mysteries of the universe to predict weather with anything resembling total accuracy.

The Almanac – Bicentennial edition

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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