In Franklin’s day there was no shortage of almanacs and their authors who purported to predict future events. So Franklin began Poor Richard’s Almanack as a light-hearted parody of those astrologers and their predictions.
As a running joke Poor Richard began predicting and falsely reporting the deaths of actual astrologers who wrote traditional almanacs.
But soon Poor Richard’s Almanack became a source of useful knowledge and information. Franklin included a calendar, weather forecasts, poems, aphorisms, and also astronomical and astrological information that a typical almanac of the period would contain.
In his autobiography Ben Franklin spoke glowingly of his almanac; “In 1732 I first published my Almanack, under the name of Richard Saunders; it was continu’d by me about 25 Years, commonly call’d Poor Richard’s Almanack. I endeavor’d to make it both entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such Demand that I reap’d considerable Profit from it, vending annually near ten Thousand.”