Philadelphia  has had an important presence in the literary world dating all the way back to Benjamin Franklin. The statesman, printer, inventor, scientist, political theorist, and author published his Poor Richard’s Almanack annually 1732–1758. It contained the standard information normally found in an almanac, as well as Franklin’s own doses of wit and wisdom, much of which has resulted in sayings that still exist in American vernacular.
The 19th century transformed Philadelphia into a center of publishing, with major publishers like J. B. Lippincott playing a major role in local industry for decades. Philadelphia writers at the time included Charles Brockden Brown, a pioneer in the development of the American novel. Meanwhile, interlopers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Louisa May Alcott made the city a brief stop during their illustrious careers. Noted African American scholar, activist, and historian W. E. B. Du Bois wrote his social history The Philadelphia Negro in 1899, and Walt Whitman, the father of American poetry, spent much time in the city, just a quick trip from his native Camden, New Jersey, across the Delaware River.
The Curtis Publishing Company was one of the largest publishers in the country during the early 20th century. It ran its magazine empire from its historic Curtis Center  building in Society Hill, publishing the Ladies’ Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post, the country’s oldest magazine. Though the major publishing houses today are largely centered in nearby New York City, some domestic and international publishers still have outposts in Philly.