''The World Almanac and Book of Facts'' is a US-published reference work and is the bestselling〔(History of The World Almanac ) retrieved 2007-12-25〕 almanac conveying information about such subjects as world changes, tragedies, sports feats, etc.
It has been published yearly from 1868 to 1875, and again every year since 1886.〔 It was number 1 on the ''Washington Post'' bestseller list on November 27, 2011. The 2014 edition (ISBN 978-160057-182-4) has 1,008 pages.
The first edition of ''The World Almanac'' was published by ''The New York World'' newspaper in 1868 (the name of the publication comes from the newspaper itself, which was known as "The World"). Published just three years after the end of the US Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, its 120 pages of information touched on such events as the process of Reconstruction and the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson.
Publication was suspended in 1876, but in 1886 newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, who had purchased ''The New York World'' and quickly transformed it into one of the most influential newspapers in the country, revived ''The World Almanac'' with the intention of making it "a compendium of universal knowledge." ''The World Almanac'' has been published annually since.
In 1894, when it claimed more than a half-million "habitual users," ''The World Almanac'' changed its name to ''The World Almanac and Encyclopedia''. This was the title it kept until 1923, when it became ''The World Almanac and Book of Facts'', the name it bears today.
In 1906, the ''New York Times'', reporting on the publishing of the 20th edition, said that "the almanac has made for itself a secure position, second only to the forty-year-old Whitaker's Almanac of London, with which alone it can be compared."〔("The World Almanac for 1906" ), ''New York Times'', January 20, 1906〕
From 1890 to 1934, the New York World Building was prominently featured on the cover of the almanac. 〔http://www.worldalmanac.com/wa-bco-covers.aspx〕 In 1923, the name changed to its current name, ''The World Almanac and Book of Facts''.〔
Calvin Coolidge's father read from ''The World Almanac'' when he swore his son into office.〔 Since then, photos have shown that Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton have also used ''The World Almanac'' as a resource.〔
The ''New York World'' merged with the Scripps-owned ''Telegram'' to form the ''New York World-Telegram'' in 1931. The ''Almanac'' survived the closure of the ''World-Telegram'' in 1966.
During World War II, ''The World Almanac'' could boast that it was read by GIs all over the world: between 1944 and 1946, at the request of the U.S. Government, ''The World Almanac'' had special print runs of 100,000 to 150,000 copies for distribution to the armed forces.
In late December 1984, the 1985 edition reached first place in the category of paperback Advice, How- To and Miscellaneous books, on the ''New York Times'' best-seller list, with more than 1,760,000 copies sold at the time.〔Edwin McDowell, (World Almanac Fact: It's a No. 1 Best Seller" ), ''New York Times'', December 27, 1984〕
The first version of the video game ''Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?'', published in 1985, included ''The World Almanac'' in the purchase.〔David Hendin, ("'CARMEN SANDIEGO'; Point of Reference" ), ''New York Times'', letter to the editor, March 29, 1992〕
Over the years ''The World Almanac'' has been featured in a number of Hollywood films. For example, Fred MacMurray talks about it with Edward G. Robinson in ''Double Indemnity''; Bette Davis screams about it in ''All About Eve''; Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper flirt about it in ''Love in the Afternoon''; it is featured in ''Miracle on 34th Street'' when a trial is held to see if Santa Claus really exists; Rosie Perez continually reads it in the film ''White Men Can't Jump''; and Will Smith checks it for the exact time of sunset so he can set his digital watch in ''I Am Legend''.
''The World Almanac For Kids'' has been published annually since 1995.
In 1993 Scripps sold the ''Almanac'' to K-III (later Primedia).''The World Almanac'' was sold to Ripplewood Holdings' WRC Media in 1999. Ripplewood bought Reader's Digest and the book was then produced by the World Almanac Education Group, which was owned by The Reader's Digest Association. ''The World Almanac'' was sold to Infobase Publishing in 2009.
Some lists published are:
* "Surprising Facts"
* "Number Ones"
* "Americans By the Numbers"
* "Milestone Birthdays"
* "Notable Quotes"
* "Offbeat News"
* "Historical Anniversaries"
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