Through the nineteenth century, the terms "calendar" and "almanac" were used interchangeably, with many publications using both words in their titles and subtitles. These publications often included a calendar, which listed the days of the week, holidays, and the like, while they also included predictions, astronomical data, and other general information.
Though calendars and almanacs were published together well into the twentieth century, calendars were also published separately beginning in the nineteenth century. They came in a variety of formats from a circular shape, to a vertical listing of days which remained popular through the nineteenth century, to what is commonly seen today: a rectangular format. The vertical calendar was usually set up in a way that left little room for any other printed material. The rectangular shaped calendar could be easily produced on a single card or in a booklet form. It became popular for merchants to use these calendar styles to advertise their businesses. Similarly, in the mid to late nineteenth-century, almanacs that were published in booklet form, or on a single sheet, some featured advertisements.
A small group of calendars and almanacs are housed in one box in the Graphic Arts Department. This box includes a group of single sheet calendars dating from 1842 though 1880. Earlier calendars and almanacs can be found in the broadside collection. Also included are several early nineteenth-century "revolving almanacs." The remainder of the American Antiquarian Society's extensive collection of published almanacs are individually catalogued online and organized by state. For an inventory of the items in the Graphic Arts department, click here.
- Terri Tremblay