Poor Richard’s Almanack

Poor Richard’s Almanac was a published article, not of great importance politically, but of great entertainment to many of the Colonists at the time. This annual handbook was written by one of the founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, who wrote under the pseudonym, Poor Richard or Richard Saunders. The reason for using this pen name was due to his prior arrest from the British for printing “seditious” articles.

These articles were published between the years 1732-1758 and soon became one of the most profitable enterprises Franklin had entered into after selling close to ten thousand copies a year. Although Franklin was the publisher of these written pieces, he was not necessarily the originator. These handbooks were considered, more or less, an anthology of all different works from all different writers. They included information pertaining to agricultural predictions, charts of the moon’s phases, and series of proverbs, just to name a few.

Many might question why Benjamin Franklin, or rather, Poor Richard, published these articles. The Almanack, he figured, was a service to the American people to educate them and entice them to learn. In them, he advocated two essential qualities to success, these qualities being: industry and frugality.

The longevity by which the Almanack was sold was impressive during that time period. Many were appreciative for the writings, as it was almost a lighter piece to read seeing as most of the newspapers pertained to the violence that was occurring amongst the Americans and British Colonists.

One of the proverbs I found most interesting from the Almanack was a piece of advice given to the people from “Poor Richard”:

” If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worthy reading, or do things worth the writing.”

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