December 28, 1732 — The first “Poor Richard’s Almanack” was published by Richard Saunders. He continued to publish new editions for 25 years, bringing him much economic success and popularity. The almanack sold as many as 10,000 copies a year.
Below are some quotes and little nuggets of wisdom from the series of books
“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.”
“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.”
“There cannot be good living where there is not good drinking.”
“To all apparent beauties blind, each blemish strikes an envious mind.”
“Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.”
“Wise Men learn by other’s harms; Fools by their own.”
“The World is full of fools and faint hearts; and yet every one has courage enough to bear the misfortunes, and wisdom enough to manage the Affairs of his neighbor.”
“Pay what you owe, and you’ll know what’s your own.”
“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
“Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.”
You might wonder was is so special about this Richard Saunders. This Richard Saunders was in fact Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the USA.
He was just 26 when he produced his almanac, then it ran for 25 years from 1732 to 1758, selling as many as 10,000 copies annually – a huge number at the time.
In 1735, upon the death of Franklin’s brother, James, Franklin sent 500 copies of Poor Richard’s to his widow for free, so that she could make money selling them.
An “almanack” – the letter ‘k’ has been dropped in modern spelling – was one of the most popular types of printed material in America during the 18th Century. In those days the main purpose of such a miscellany was to provide year-ahead weather forecasts that would help farmers decide when to plant and harvest their crops.