Early almanacs were permanent tables of the apparent motions of the sun and moon, from which astronomical data for any year could be calculated. In the 15th century, almanacs began to be prepared for definite periods, such as 10 or 30 years, and in the 16th century, for a single year. From this period astrological and meteorological predictions were also included, alongside other information. (OED) Later almanacs came to include lists of interesting facts, and other miscellaneous information for edification and amusement.
The Folger's Collection development policy targets acquisition of 16th- and 17th-century English almanacs from the handpress era, and acquisition of Shakespeare-related almanacs from the modern era.
Nature of contents (Cont):
5, for "calendars"
In general, consider the clause following a short title of author's last name and year as part of the title proper.
245 10 ǂa Perkins, 1643. A new almanacke and prognostication, for the yeere of our Lord God, 1643 : ǂb being the third from the bissextile or leape-yeere, and from the worlds creation, 5606 : composed and chiefly referred to the meridian of the famous city of London / ǂc made and set forth by Samuel Perkins, well-willer to the mathematicks. 246 30 ǂa New almanacke, and prognostication, for the yeere of our Lord God, 1643
- Always transcribe information about the meridien of calculation in the 245
- Do not use MARC 751 for the meridien of calculation or other associated place names
Date of publication
Almanacs were typically published in the summer or autumn preceding their year of calculation. Put the corrected [actual] imprint date in the fixed field, and add field 046 for the date as it appears on the piece.
008/06 s 008/07-14 1676bbbb 046 x ǂc 1677 260 London : ǂb Printed by J.D. for the Company of Stationers, ǂc 1677 [i.e. 1676] 500 Almanacs were published the year preceding the date of calculation.
Modern almanacs often do not include an imprint date at all, but will include a date as part of the title or elsewhere. Assume that the publication date is the preceding year, and include it in the publication statement in square brackets (following RDA 2.2.4, Other sources of information).
245 04 The Shakespeare almanac for 1894. 264 01 ... ǂc 
Record an image of a Zodiac man as an illustration.
Make a note about the presence or absence of red printing. Most early English almanacs have at least the first gathering printed in red and black. An otherwise standard almanac printed only in black is therefore also an important fact.
500 Gathering A printed in red and black.
500 Printed entirely in black.
Early English almanacs were typically attributed to a single author, sometimes whose attribution sometimes continued after the author's death. If the almanac attributes its contents to an author known to be dead, record the author's name as an added entry with ǂe dubious author (from the MARC relator list), with a note about the name's origin.
245 00 Pond 1633. A new almanack for the yeare of our Lord Christ MDCXXXIII : ǂb being the first after the leap-yeare, and since the creation of the world 5634 : again amplified with many things of very good use, both for pleasure and profit, not heretofore published / ǂc exactly rectified according to art by Edvvard Pond. 246 30 New almanack for the yeare of our Lord Christ MDCXXXIII 500 A continuation of the almanac started by Edward Pond, -1629. 700 1 Pond, Edward, ǂd -1629, ǂe dubious author.
If the almanac's title uses the original name but does not attribute the content to the dead author, make a note about the continuation, but do not make an added entry for the author.
245 00 Pond. An almanack for the year of our Lord God 1692 : ǂb being the bissextile or leap-year, and from the worlds creation at the spring 5695 years compleat : amplified with many good things both for pleasure and profit, and fitted for the meridian of Saffron Walden in Essex, where the pole is elevated 52 degrees and 6 minutes above the horizon : and may serve indifferently for any other place of this kingdom. 246 30 Almanack for the year of our Lord God 1692 500 A continuation of the almanac started by Edward Pond, -1629.
655 7 Almanacs. ǂ2 aat 655 7 Ephemerides. ǂ2 aat 655 7 Pamphlets. ǂ2 aat 655 7 Tables (documents) ǂ2 aat [when there are substantial tables in addition to the calendar]
For the calculation and prediction of natural phenomena and meteorological events (such as the times of tides, comets, and eclipses) on the basis of astronomical observations.
650 0 Astronomy ǂv Early works to 1800.
For reference to the aspects, positions and influences of celestial bodies, such as that found in the calendar section and pictures of the zodiac man; also to predictions of storms, earthquakes, &c.
650 0 Astrology ǂv Early works to 1800.
For predictions concerned with nations, political parties, and global events based on the influence of the stars: called judicial astrology or mundane astrology.
650 0 Mundane astrology ǂv Early works to 1800.
Booktrade name added entries
Use relationship designator
ǂe publisher for the Company of Stationers.
260 [London] : ǂb Printed by W. Onely, for the Company of Stationers, ǂc 1698 [i.e. 1697] 7001 Onley, William, ǂd active 1697-1709, ǂe printer. 7102 Stationers' Company (London, England), ǂe publisher.
Some printers appearing as initials only have been positively identified or surmised.
- A.M. = Anne Maxwell, active 1665-1675
- F.K. = Felix Kingston
- J.C. = James Cottrel, active 1649-1670
- J.D. = John Darby
- J.F. = James Flesher
- J.G. = James Grover (1678-1681)
- J.L. = John Legate (
- J.L. = John Leake (
- J.R. = James Roberts (1700-1701)
Indicate level of certainty in the wording of the note, and add an access point for the printer.
260 London : ǂb Printed by J.G. for the Company of Stationers, ǂc 1682 [i.e., 1681] 500 "J.G." is probably James Grover, who printed other almanacs. 7001 Grover, James, ǂd -1700, ǂe printer.
- Tis the season for almanacs (The Collation blog post)
- Bosanquet, E.F. English printed almanacks and prognostications : a bibliographical history to the year 1600
- Capp, B. S. English almanacs, 1500-1800
- Capp, B.S. Astrology and the popular press
- Smyth, Adam. Autobiography in early modern England. (Has a chapter on almanacs as an instance of life-writing)