A pop-up exhibit at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Curated by Gabriella Stuardi & Chloe Ottenhoff
Just in time for the spring planting season, this exhibition presents some of the most curious and unique Italian almanacs held in the Cavagna Sangiuliani Collection, acquired by the University of Illinois in 1921.
With origins in astronomy, early almanacs contained horoscopes, moon phases, tide tables, weather forecasts, and planting charts, leading to the common association with farmers and sailors. By the 17th century, almanacs were the second best-selling publication after the Bible, and publishers quickly capitalized on the market by producing almanacs targeted to a diverse array of readers.
Along with the requisite essential information for the year to come—religious holidays, conversion tables, and world facts—almanacs could contain poetry, historical sketches, or practical information such as home remedies and postal rates. Whether an opera buff, devout Catholic, country housewife, or political elite, there was an almanac published especially for you.