Join our (not so) secret society

Join our (not so) secret society

Posted by Janice Stillman on 17th Jun 2019

Join the 1792 Society and Be in the Know

Our 1792 Society may not be a secret society, but it is full of secrets that are ready to be shared.

Dear History Hound,

Even before the birth of our country, almanacs were a popular companion to farmer and city dweller alike. Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack originally appeared in 1733, and, at the height of its success in the mid-18th century, it had a circulation of about 10,000 copies. Franklin ceased publishing his almanac after 25 years—eight years before Robert Bailey Thomas was born in Grafton, Massachusetts. It would be another 34 years before the very first edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac would be published, in 1792.

What led a young man from central Massachusetts to publish what would become, and remains, the oldest continuously published periodical in North America? Thomas tells the story himself, beginning in the 1833 edition, with his “Concise Memoir of the Author and Editor of The (Old) Farmer’s Almanac.” He and his brother “were brought up to farming. Our father, quite a scholar for those days, instructed us at home and sent us to the winter school.”

“In the winter of 1783–4, my father sent me to Spencer to improve my penmanship with Dr. I. Allen. The succeeding winter, I studied arithmetic, under my father’s inspection.

“My father possessed a larger library than usually found in a country town. Among many scientific works, no one engrossed more of my attention than Ferguson’s Astronomy. From this work, I first acquired the idea of calculating an Almanack.”

In the winter of 1789, Thomas “called on Isaiah Thomas [no relation] of Worcester to purchase 100 of his Almanacks in sheets, but he refused to let me have them.” As a nod to the wit that would be forthcoming as a hallmark of the Almanac, Robert B. Thomas notes that Isaiah Thomas’s Almanack had a lot of inaccuracies “which I knew I could remedy.”

Finally, in the early summer of 1792, Thomas arranged for instruction “in astronomy as related to calculating an Almanack.” The rest, as they say, is history. Circulation of the second edition of Thomas’s Farmer’s Almanac, as it was known at the time, tripled from 3,000 to 9,000 copies, and Thomas remained the editor until his death in 1846 at the age of 80.

Hard Times for the Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac continued to grow and expand through World War I and the Great Depression. Then the greatest of all Almanac blunders happened. In 1936, Roger Scaife was appointed editor. His term coincided with the only time in the history of the Almanac that circulation and financial stability declined precipitously. The 1938 edition had a circulation of only 88,000 (as compared to 225,000 in 1863)! Scaife also took away what the Almanac was most known for: weather forecasts! In their place, he substituted temperature and precipitation averages. The public was not happy.

Luckily, Robb Sagendorph bought The Old Farmer’s Almanac in 1939, returning the publication to its witty, wise, and entertaining ways. Then came World War II. In 1942, a German U-boat entered the waters off Long Island, New York, sending a spy ashore. He was apprehended by the FBI the next day, and in his coat was a copy of the Almanac. The U.S. government suspected that the Germans were using the Almanac for weather forecasts, which meant that the book was indirectly supplying information to the enemy.

What happened next nearly halted publication of an Almanac that had lived through the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, and so many more historical events. What did Sagendorph do to ensure that his beloved Almanac could maintain a perfect publication record? You’ll have to claim your membership in the 1792 Society to find out!

Let Them Eat Cake

Actually … let us eat cake! We love weather. We love history. But we also love to cook, and we’ll share plenty of our favorite recipes with you when you get your membership in the 1792 Society. One of our most-loved cakes around the office here is this Apple Walnut Celebration Cake.

Start by buttering an 8-cup bundt pan and preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream ¾ cup butter and 1½ cups sugar, then beat in 2 eggs (one at a time). Add 1 cup of plain yogurt and ½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg and beat until smooth. Separately, mix together 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon each of baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to blend. Stir in 2 large peeled and grated tart apples and ¾ cup of chopped walnuts. Spoon the batter into your pan, bake for 50 minutes, and you have a grown-up dessert treat! Dust with confectioners’ sugar for good measure!

Whether you want to discover the best days to view the planets, read about “The Day the Sun Exploded,” or experience “Baseball’s Most Amazin’ Season,” you can get it all (as well as much more useful information, wit, and wisdom) with your membership in The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society!

With an Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society membership, you’ll get all the periodicals and calendars that we publish, plus the Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Guide, and our monthly digital magazine, The Old Farmer’s Almanac EXTRA! And, for a limited time, we’re including a special gift. Join The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society today and you’ll get:

  • The inside scoop on astronomical events, from comets to eclipses
  • Access to the complete history of The Old Farmer’s Almanac
  • Practical gardening tips that will help you to grow the best garden you can, whether you have a city balcony or a country lot
  • Our world-renowned weather predictions for the upcoming year.
  • Plenty of recipes, cooking tips, and, of course …
  • Our famous wit, wisdom, trivia, folklore, and “pleasant degree of humor”

Celebrate all things Almanac!

Your Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society Charter Membership gives you tools, tips, trivia, and insights in classic Old Farmer’s Almanac style. You’ll amaze friends and family with the breadth of your knowledge about everything from cloud formations to garden planting patterns. You and your family will enjoy the stories, tips and bits of humor available at your fingertips when you’re a member of The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society!

When you join today, you’ll ensure you get the latest details about Almanac events and forecasts, and you’ll enjoy all these benefits:

  • Your best garden ever—Almanac gardening advice, planting dates, timesaving tips, and detailed guidance from experts will get you growing like never before.
  • You’ll know in advance about every important astronomical event in 2019—when they’re happening, where in the sky, and the details and delights of each one.
  • You’ll have access to the world’s best source of Almanac content—from astronomy and weather to anniversaries and milestone dates; from important (and little known) holidays and religious events to traditional days in calendar folklore.
  • You’ll save time and money when you follow all the practical advice and tips that we deliver to you about everything from gardening to food preparation and cooking.
  • You’ll be a weather expert in your family and circle of friends—no one else you know will have the detailed knowledge about forecasting and weather that you’ll have … and for every region of the country!

Exclusive benefits for you when you claim your Charter Membership in the 1792 Society

As if being informed and entertained isn’t enough, you will be among a select few to help shape the future of The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

  • Participate in special focus groups on what makes The Old Farmer’s Almanac an enduring success and how to help it grow in the future.
  • Evaluate potential new Almanac products for their usefulness and appeal to Almanac lovers.
  • Take a quarterly survey to give us an honest assessment of how we’re doing and how we can do better.

Only members of The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society will be invited behind the scenes to provide this vital input. You can help shape the future!

Your Charter Membership gives you a great way to tap into the deep well of advice, trivia, and humor that is the hallmark of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. You know that you’re getting valuable content and advice, delivered to you by The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the world’s premier source for almanac content since 1792. Join us as a Charter Member in The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society. Whether you’re an armchair weather watcher or a roll-up-your-sleeves avid gardener, an Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society Charter Membership gives you the tools to learn, grow, and enjoy each day to its fullest—and it’s available right now at a special introductory rate for all new Charter Members

When you join The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society, you’ll get the best of all things Almanac—from the garden to the Moon:

  • The Old Farmer’s 2019 Almanac: Three editions of the Almanac to enjoy or share.
  • The Old Farmer’s Almanac EXTRA! Our monthly digital magazine with exclusive articles and other content you won’t find in the print edition.
  • The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1819 replica edition
  • The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1919 replica edition
  • The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Guide—Grow your garden better, naturally.
  • Weather Notebook: Keep close tabs on your local weather with this handy and informative notebook.
  • 2019 Weather Watcher’s Wall Calendar: The best of Mother Nature to display and consult.
  • 2019 Gardening Wall Calendar: For green thumbs everywhere.
  • 2019 Engagement Calendar: Keep track of time with this planner-style notebook calendar.
  • 2019 Everyday Calendar: Another day, another tidbit of wisdom from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
  • 2019 Country Wall Calendar: 12 months of refreshing outdoor photography.
  • 2019 Moon Wall Calendar: Luscious lunar shots adorn each month.
  • Special FREE Bonus: Old Farmer’s Almanac Sun Catcher! Hand-pressed recycled glass to brighten your favorite window.
  • Only The Old Farmer’s Almanac can offer you such a great combination of weather watcher tools—and be packed with the guidance, folklore, trivia, and insightful advice that readers have come to love in the Almanac.

    Why not join right now?

    People have been enjoying The Old Farmer’s Almanac for years, and now it’s easy to get your own comprehensive set of Almanac tools—with an Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society Charter Membership.

    We created the Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society for folks like you, who appreciate the historical and modern value of The Old Farmer’s Almanac and its companion publications. And we wanted to make it easy to use, easy to order, and packed with content and value. We’re the ultimate resource for weather watchers, optimistic gardeners, sky gazers, and folks who want to know more about the world around them—and now it can be all yours with your Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society Charter Membership.

    Why not be the first among the Almanac lovers in your neighborhood to join us today and benefit from all the valuable Almanac information that you simply cannot get anywhere else?

    Become an Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society Charter Member today—while this special offer lasts!


    Janice Stillman


    The Old Farmer’s Almanac

    P.S. Act today to claim your Charter Membership in The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792 Society—and celebrate the heritage of The Old Farmer’s Almanac