The advent of printing, as well as rises in literacy in the United States and western Europe from the 1600's to 1800's, brought a rise in ephemeral publications. These types of printings, which were not meant to last, included newspapers, almanacs, and chapbooks and could be found within the everyday home.
Some of the earliest almanacs contained astrological infromation and predictions. Over time, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, popular almanacs began to develop into a form of folk literature containing home remedies, folk wisdom, fiction, and interesting facts along with gardening information and weather predictions. A variety of these early almanacs, including a copy of Benjamin Franklins Poor Richards Almanac, may be viewed in Archives and Special Collections or the Digital Media Repository.
Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. s.v. "almanac," http://www.credoreference.com/entry/columency/almanac (accessed November 29, 2011).