Two rare American almanacs dating to 1753 and 1794 have been donated to Bridgewater College Special Collections by two alumnae.
The almanacs were donated by 1967 graduate Donna Spitler Fields of Arlington, Va., and Joyce Spitler Nicholson ’58 of Santa Cruz, Ca. The volumes were passed down in the Spitler family of Page County, Va.
Both almanacs were printed in Pennsylvania for a German-American audience by the Saur/Sauer/Sower family. The 1753 almanac was printed in Germantown by Christopher Saur and the 1794 book was printed in Chestnut Hill by Samuel Saur, Christopher’s grandson. The volumes are German-language materials typeset in fraktur typeface. Their titles are Der Hoch-deutsch Americanische Calender and Der Neue Hoch Deutsche Americanische Calender.
“Like today’s almanacs, these materials feature calendars with phases of the moon, articles, advertisements and a diagram of the zodiac chart, the Man of the Signs,” said Stephanie Gardner, special collections librarian who, along with Andrew Pearson, director of the Alexander Mack Memorial Library at Bridgewater, received the volumes.
Gardner said the almanacs join a notable collection of Saur press imprints in Bridgewater College Special Collections and the Reuel B. Pritchett Museum Collection. She said special collections is exploring options for paper conservation and digitization of the almanacs.
Bridgewater College Special Collections are available by appointment. Contact Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-8018 to schedule a research visit.