Shady history: The type of history The Old Farmer’s Almanac played a part in. A German spy was caught in 1942 by the FBI in New York, and he had an Old Farmer’s Almanac in his pocket. Officials were suspicious that the Germans were using the weather forecasts for clandestine activities. However, the almanac’s editor at the time convinced the government that the periodical provided weather indications rather than forecasts, so it wasn’t a source of information for U.S. enemies.
80: The percent success rate of the Almanac. The Almanac employs modern technology, but still uses the “secret formula” that founder Robert Thomas devised in 1792. By combining the study of sunspots, prevailing weather patterns, and basic meteorology, the Almanac’s weather staff comes up with a long-range forecast. The temperature deviations are based on 30-year averages by government forecasts.
Roger Scaife: The editor appointed in 1936. His term coincided with the only time in the history of The Old Farmer’s Almanac that its distribution declined and the book’s financial stability fell into question. The 1938 edition had a circulation of less than 89,000 compared with 225,000 in 1863. During Scaife’s tenure, he committed the greatest blunders of all blunders in Almanac history. In the 1938 edition, he dropped the weather forecasts. In their place, he substituted temperature and precipitation averages. The public outcry was so great that he reinstated the forecasts in the next year’s edition.
2000: The year the first female, Janice Stillman, became the editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Not only was Stillman the first female editor, but she also became the 13th editor. She still maintains the style established by her predecessors, the editorial directions taken by Hale, and a true dedication to hundreds of years of tradition, while striving to always appear brand-spanking-new.
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