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Almanacs collection (16th-20th C.)


Almanacs were compilations based on the calendar, containing miscellaneous information such as: astronomical and astrological predictions; medical and agricultural notes; dates of markets and fairs and descriptions of routes between towns; chronologies of historical events; poems and anecdotes; predictions of weather; and all sort of information for practical use.

A broad set of English almanacs (from the 17th century to the very beginning of the 19th century) is held in Cardiff Rare Books Collection. The major titles included  (not all complete though) are: Apollo Anglicanus (date range extends from 1685 to 1747); Atlas Ouranios, the Coelestial Atlas (from 1751 to 1801); The British Tellescope (from 1729 to 1749); The Coelestial Diary (from 1729 to 1772); Ephemeris: or, a Diary Astronomical, Astrological, Meteorological (from 1685 to 1762); The Gentleman’s Diary (from 1741 to 1801); The Ladies’ Diary (from 1729 to 1801); Merlinus Anglicus Junior (from 1729 to 1762); Merlinus Liberatus (from 1729 to 1801); Olympia Domata (from 1729 to 1801); Parker’s Ephemeris (from 1729 to 1772); Poor Robin (from 1685 to 1801); Remarkable News from the Stars (from 1729 to 1772); Speculum Anni (from 1734 to 1801); and Vox Stellarum (from 1729 to 1801). Most of the items are bound by year. The almanacs section of Salisbury Collection also includes a smaller set of English almanacs; holdings include, for instance, Francis Moore’s Vox Stellarum: or, a Loyal Almanack ... (from 1793 to 1845).

A 1529 ‘almanac’ is included in the longer work Magna Carta, dated for that year.

There is elsewhere in the collections a set of astrology almanacs, including British and American titles, dating from the early 1900s to the 1920s. A long run of Whitaker’s Almanack is also held for most of the 20th century.

A few examples of continental almanacs can be found amongst the collection, including a French set of 1791 Almanac Royal, and an edition of facsimile reproductions of thirteen sheet almanacs printed in Umbria (Italy) between 1565 and 1822.

The Salisbury collection contains c. 1,000 Welsh almanacs, published as broadsheets, booklets, or newspaper supplements, and ranging in date from the 17th-20th century, (one of the first almanacs in Welsh, Almanac Am y Flwyddyn 1681, published in London by Thomas Jones, is held in the collection).

Also included is a set of broadsheet almanacs published by local publishers or as newspaper supplements from the 18th century to the 20th century. Holdings include a good set of the Royal Almanack, published by various publisher under various names: The Chester Royal Almanack (1788-90); Cheshire, Lancashire, and North-Wales Almanack (1791-93); The Royal Almanack ... (1796-1801); The Royal Almanack, particularly calculated for Cheshire and North-Wales (1802-03); the Cheshire and North Wales Royal Almanack (from 1804 to 1829); Evans’s Cheshire and North Wales Royal Almanack (1820; 1830). Among the newspapers supplements are: Almanac ‘Y Cymro’ (from 1899 to 1906); Border Counties Advertizer almanac (from 1899 to 1903); and The Welshman Almanack (from 1910 to 1914).

Date range: 16th-20th centuries.

Significance: Significant in Wales and the United Kingdom.

Strengths: Welsh almanacs, English almanacs, French and Italian almanacs

Size: Almanacs in Salisbury Collection: c. 1,000 items, plus c. 500 English almanacs in Cardiff Rare Books and other collections.

Languages: Welsh and English.

Keywords:  Almanacs, broadsheets, history, Wales, England, Europe.

Notes: In the Cardiff Astrological Society collection, an interesting set of Astrological almanacs is included amongst the volumes, including an American set from the Llewellyn College of Astrology, Portland, Oregon; plus The Adept, an almanac from Minnesota. Others from Britain include issues of The Green Book of Prophecies, Alan Leo’s Astrological Manuals, the Astrological Bulletin, Zadkiel’s Almanac, Raphael’s Almanac, and Antares Almanac.