Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Lowly Almanac

I don't know about other states, but Texas regularly publishes an almanac. For authors setting a story in Texas, past or present, it's a treasure chest of information. Take a look at the table of contents:

  • State profile
  • State rankings
  • State flags and symbols
  • The natural beauty of Texas
  • History
  • Environment (weather, astronomical calendar)
  • Recreation
  • Counties
  • Population
  • Cities and towns
  • Elections
  • Historic government documents and officials
  • State government
  • Local government
  • Federal government
  • Culture and arts
  • Crime
  • Health and science
  • Education
  • Media
  • Business and transportation
  • Agriculture
  • Pronunciation guide
  • Zip codes
  • Obituaries
I ask you---is there anything about the state you couldn't find out in this one volume? I use it regularly to check facts in my story settings. Did this town exist in this time period? When was this college/university established? Who was the governor at the time of the story? What major events/catastrophes happened during the story? What flora and fauna are typical in the region of the state in which my story is set?

I keep an almanac on my shelf of reference books, but they're available in the local library, too. In addition, older issues likely can be found at or ABE books, and they don't go out of date insofar as the history of a state is concerned.

An almanac is an entire library in itself. In addition, Texas has a wonderful online resource called
The Handbook of Texas Online with a handy search feature.

For those of you writing stories set in Texas, here's everything you need to know and more. And for those of you writing about other states, check out their yearly publications (almanacs) and what's available online. Who knows what you'll find?

It might even save you a trip to the library or some money at a bookstore!


nlindabrit said...

You are an unfailing source of excellent references!

K9friend said...

The internet sure is a research timesaver, isn't it?

Leona said...

Research is the key to a great story! Internet and books, great resources!