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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about . . . the Old Farmer's Almanac.


CURWOOD: Nineteen ninety-six has been a milestone year for several renowned publications. The New York Times marked a century under the ownership of the Sulzberger family, and the Wall Street Journal celebrated the centennial of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But both newspapers were eclipsed by the Old Farmer's Almanac. This popular periodical will soon mark its 205th year, making it the oldest continually running gazette in North America. First published during George Washington's second term in office, the Farmer's Almanac as it was then known was an immediate success. By its second year circulation had tripled to 9,000. Today it stands at more than 4 million. When it started the Almanac was just one of several published at the time. While no one knows for sure what accounted for its success, the Farmer's Almanac's weather and astronomical predictions were sharper than its competitors'. Included in its crystal ball: the July snow of 1816, the 1953 Worcester tornado, and a near-perfect prediction of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. And for this week that's the Living on Earth Almanac, which makes no predictions.



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