Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded the Weather in Almanacs

Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded the Weather in Almanacs

As we begin to consider climate change as an everyday problem, it's valuable to know how people did that in the past. With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Dr. Joyce E. Chaplin is compiling and analyzing a database of manuscript notes about weather in early American almanacs, 1646-1821, out of 10,578 almanacs from nine archives. Her talk focuses on how people recorded the weather in numbers (including degrees Fahrenheit) and in words, from "dull" to "elegant!" These notations are significant as records of a period of climate change, the Little Ice Age, also as records of how people understood and coped with that climatic disruption.

Dr. Joyce E. Chaplin is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University.

This program is part of the Community Project Grants-funded series, "Weather-Wise: Historical Records, Contemporary Conversations." For more information, please visit www.shakermuseum.org.