Stephen Daye set up the first North American press at Cambridge, in 1638, and, after printing the famed and elusive Oath of a Free-Man (no copy known) turned his hand and press to the production of an almanac for 1638 (no copy known).Thus was launched a long and active tradition of American almanac-writing and -publication. While at first limited to the zodiacal and lunar calendar, religious observances, planting and harvest times, and sittings of the provincial courts, they quickly became a literary genre and embraced history, jokes, riddles, poetry, medical advice, travel accounts, even political satire. In the preface to his extensive 1962 bibliography, Milton Drake quotes the prolific almanac-writer, Nathaniel Low, who in 1786 claimed that "no book we read (except the Bible) is so much valued and so serviceable to the community." In some cases, enormous numbers of these fragile annual compendia were printed, sold, and, usually, discarded. As Drake observed, "Almanacs have been among the most neglected of America's literary relics," largely ignored by generations of collectors, with the sole exception of Franklin's hugely successful Poor Richard. It is only now, four decades later, that these ephemeral and fascinating early American imprints have come to be more fully appreciated and collected in their own right, for their varied and original contents and for their rarity.