The Daragan Collection of Almanacs
LocationSwem Library, Bright Gallery, 2nd Floor Rotunda
400 Landrum Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
- Open to the public
Almanacs are annual guidebooks, used as a calendar and sometimes as a diary, for looking up astronomical data or astrological signs, and even as a weather forecast. They were particularly popular throughout the early modern period, when printing made them cheap and readily available. Almanacs could be useful to a farmer who wanted to know when to plant and harvest, or to a person in the city who wanted to look up the date of a religious festival. They were the essential guidebook in a pre-digital age, and were therefore produced in large numbers.
Thanks to the generosity of Joseph Daragan ’71, Special Collections is now home to 450 almanacs dating from 1677 to 1907. Mr Daragan’s donation has provided us with both a wonderful teaching tool and a great resource for research into everyday life. Many of the labels here were written by students in the class ‘Books: Technology and Culture in the Atlantic World, 1400-1800’, but much remains to be discovered in this remarkable collection.
Jennie Davy, W&M Libraries Exhibits Manager | Phone: 757.221.3062 | [[jadavy]]