Miniature Book News #106: 2000 September Page: 1


Number 106 8 St. Andrews Dr., St. Louis, Mo. 63124 September, 2000

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines
ALMANAC as "a book or table
containing a calendar of the days,
weeks, and months of the year, a register
of ecclesiastical festivals and saints'
days, and a record of various
astronomical phenomena, etc."
The Romans produced fasti, which
were similar in usage to almanacs,
and incorporated lists of dates for
religious ceremonies, market days,
feast days, even lists of persons of
certain achievements, etc., as a kind
of historical record.
Almanacs and calendars were included
in many manuscripts and Books of
Hours during the middle ages.
And when we arrive at the printing
era (15th century), most English almanacs
were published by the Stationers
Company. In fact, the ubiquitous
London almanacs were published by
the Company of Stationers from the
17th to the 20th centuries, making
this output one of the longest continuous
publication runs in the history of the
printed book.

The earliest almanac in the U.S. is
probably ascribed to Bradford's Press
in Philadelphia in 1687, according
to the Britannica.
And then Benjamin Franklin published
his popular "Poor Richard's Almanac"
with its wise sayings for 25 years
beginning in 1732.
In sum, almanacs have been and continue
to be a popular form of publication.
As to miniature format, Louis W. Bondy
has this to say in his Miniature Books:
Almanacs and calendars belong to the most
frequently encountered miniature books. By their
very nature and ephemeral interest, they were often
published in small sizes to ensure that they could be
carried in pockets or handbags so as to be ready for
instant consultation. In addition, they developed
quickly from purely utilitarian objects into
decorative and often beautiful gifts. Thus some of
the most strikingly attractive miniature books can
be found in this category.
The finest examples, especially in England,
France, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria,
combine all the arts of book-production in an almost
perfect manner. Some bibliophiles exclude
almanacs from their collections and regard such
items as "a-biblia", non-books, but by doing so,
they deprive themselves of some of the most
handsome and desirable objects in the entire

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German Taschen Kalenderfor 1825. Cupid is at left on the frontispiece. At right is
a page from the February schedule. Actual size.

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Edison, Julian I. Miniature Book News #106: 2000 September, periodical, 2000; St. Louis, Missouri. ( accessed February 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Rare Book and Texana Collections.