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Interpreting the Evidence

Poor Richard's Almanac, 1733

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Revolution and New Nation (1754 - 1820s)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    American Revolution
    Colonial America

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Poor Richard's Almanac, 1733 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Title page of Poor Richard's Almanac, 1733.
Historical Context
Benjamin Franklin began to publish "Poor Richard's Almanack" in 1732.  The almanac was a yearly publication that provided information about the calendar and weather, which was very useful to farmers.  Franklin published this book under the name of "Poor Richard" or "Richard Saunders."  This immensely popular almanac was published until 1757. During its twenty-five years of publication, it sold over 10,000 copies a year, more than any other book in the American colonies.  It was also well known for the proverbs Franklin included.
Essential Question
How do individuals influence the development of a society?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the content of this paper and evaluate the impact of Benjamin Franklin's life on the development of American society.
Historical Challenges
When and how did almanacs originate? Was Benjamin Franklin the first person to make an almanac?
This almanac mentions leap year. When and why was leap year first observed?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Poor Richard's Almanac was published for 25 years and sold 10,000 copies a year. How many total copies did it sell in the 25 years?
English Language Arts: Create your own almanac for next year. Include items similar to Franklin's almanac, such as a calendar, weather, poems, puzzles, household hints, and astronomical and astrological signs.
English Language Arts: Read some of Franklin's proverbs from "Poor Richard's Almanack." Which ones are familiar? Choose five and rewrite them in a way that makes their meaning clear.
English Language Arts: What is a pseudonym? Who are some other authors that write/wrote books under a pseudonym?