National Library of Wales Releases Digital Archive of 178 Almanacs

The National Library of Wales has released a big collection of Welsh almanacs. 178 of ’em, according to the announcement on Twitter. “Thomas Jones’s almanac, usually published under the title Newyddion oddiwrth y sêr (News from the stars), consisted of 20 or 24 leaves. It contained an astronomical and astrological guide for twelve months, lists of fairs and markets in Wales and the Borders, samples of Welsh poetry and literature, a chronology of important historical events, a guide to reading Welsh and keeping accounts, a list of the law terms, the names of Welsh bishops, and miscellaneous advertisements. It was aimed at poor farmers who relied on detailed weather forecasts for their livelihood, and who also held a superstitious belief in astrology.” The almanacs kept here span from 1681 to 1781. And, as you might imagine, they are in Welsh. I took a look at the one from 1681 and it was in surprisingly good shape, with the writing very readable. Unfortunately, the readable writing was in Welsh, so it didn’t do me any good…