It was on December 19th, 1732 that Benjamin Franklin began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack.
It was a hodgepodge of things: It had information about the movements of the moon and stars, weather reports, historical tidbits, poems, and those adages that Franklin became famous for, like “Fish and visitors stink in three days” and “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
And”A penny saved is twopence dear” (often misquoted as “A penny saved is a penny earned”). Some of the stuff was original and some was borrowed, drawing upon diverse sources like Native American folklore, common farmers’ superstitions, politicians’ speeches, and published authors’ writings.
Franklin published his wildly successful almanac for a quarter century, and its popularity increased by the year. At its height, the book sold 10,000 copies a year, making it a best-seller in colonial America.
Books were expensive and hard to come by in the colonies, and Ben Franklin’sPoor Richard’s Almanac was the only book that many households owned besides the Bible.