The Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack was established in 1797, making it the second oldest almanac in the United States. It began in a modest print shop on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown, Maryland and was the creation of colonial printer John Gruber and his partner and son-in-law Daniel May. Gruber is considered by many to be one of Hagerstown's "favorite sons" right along with Jonathan Hager, the town's founder and namesake. His almanac has been published continuously for 219 years and is the ONLY almanac that is still published today by direct descendants of its founder.
The Almanack, as it soon became known, grew in popularity, quickly becoming an integral part of everyday Early American life. For many years hence, it was THE primary source for agricultural, meteorological and astronomical information vital to an agrarian community's survival. The highly accurate weather forecasts (made over 14 months in advance) were first derived using centuries-old methods but over the years, the method has been advanced, incorporating newer, more reliable techniques. And it still contains favorite folk remedies, useful hints and tips for everyday living, and other forms of traditional community wisdoms. Millions of copies have been sold and it has been said that the The Almanack has made Hagerstown widely-known throughout the U.S. and has given Maryland an ‘epicenter’ of farming and agricultural life.
Throughout its long history, The Almanack has been recognized countless times for its contributions to the steady development and success of colonial agrarian society as well as for making a significant contribution to our national pride.
CITY OF HAGERSTOWN,
Star Spangled Banner's 200th Anniversary!
On October 9th, 2014, The City of Hagerstown held a celebration honoring the 200th Anniversary of The Star Spangled Banner and to also honor John Gruber and The Maryland Theater for their 200+ years of contribution to the arts and humanities to the region. The celebration commemorating Gruber’s significant cultural and historical achievements was held at the site of Gruber’s first print shop on South Potomac Street (now, coincidentally the site of the Maryland Theater!). The honors included the unveiling of a historical marker, speeches by officials, and certificates of special recognition issued by city Mayor David S. Gysberts. It was John Gruber, along with partner and son-in-law, Daniel May, who first published The Star Spangled Banner (originally titled "Defence of Fort McHenry’) in song form in his National Songster - 1814, Hagerstown, Maryland. For local media coverage of the day's events, go to http://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/local/hagerstown-celebrates-first-printing-of-the-star-spangled-banner/article_12bc03d0-502c-11e4-a3f2-0017a43b2370.html.
The Hagerstown Town and Country Almanack was also recognized by Wikipedia as the 39th oldest company in the United States.