Peter Geiger yanked open a filing cabinet and pulled out an envelope-sized clear plastic bag.

Carefully, he opened the seal and delicately held up a yellow paper booklet the size of an index card.

It was a coffee-stained almanac, dated 1758.

Geiger is executive vice president of the Lewiston-based promotional product company that bears his family’s name. On the company’s website, his name is followed by the suffix “Philom.” — which he said was used by Benjamin Franklin and means “lover of learning.”

Geiger is an almanac junkie, and his job at the company, outside of curating memorabilia, is to publish the Geigers’ “Farmers’ Almanac.” He also helps his brother Gene Geiger, CEO, manage the other side of the family business: making and distributing branded merchandise.

Peter Geiger, 60, keeps hundreds of almanacs and other company collectibles in a second floor room at Geiger’s headquarters called the “Farmers’ Almanac Museum.”

In a display case he’s got “Jayne’s Medical Almanac” of 1868, the “Almanac for the Reformed Church” of 1910 and the “Tolerance Almanac” of 1875, the cover of which boasts a picture of a woman in a dress swinging a hammer at an oversized booze bottle — while straddling the bottle.

Geiger’s got almanacs as small as postage stamps and as large as comic books.

One of his favorites is the “Guide to Kissing” almanac from the 1890s.

“It gave advice. (The almanac) was a guide to good living,” he said.

In the 1700s and 1800s, Geiger said, almanacs were as common as newspapers are today.

“If someone had a printing press, they printed an almanac,” he said.

Geiger said almanacs go back to the 1639 Captain Pierce’s almanac and are a snapshot of the past. And he said when an editor died, his almanac usually did, too.

“I like the connection (they) had with the country at the most basic level — editors writing about their time,” he said.

In addition to collecting, Geiger edits and helps design the “Farmers’ Almanac,” which has a circulation of about 4 million and has been around since 1818.

Geiger said his father, Ray, the previous editor of the “Farmers’ Almanac,” encouraged him to consider the line of work.

“When I was 7 years old, my Dad told me I should be an almanac editor because no editor had ever died under the age of 86,” Geiger wrote in an email. “It sounded good to me at the time, and I am hoping it is still true.”

(Geiger noted, however, that his father died in 1994 at the age of 83, “a bit premature by editor standards.”)

Editing almanacs is Geiger’s favorite part of his job, but he also handles legislative issues that affect Geiger and holds community events. Earlier this month, he helped stage the “Geiger/Montello Night of Stars,” an Oscar-style ceremony honoring young writers at Lewiston’s Montello Elementary School. Geiger has also been chair of the Maine Board of Education and the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education.

Geiger, who lives in Lewiston, graduated from Villanova University and has never married.

“I’ve always been single and I am very independent. I am involved in so many things,” he said.

Geiger spends much of his free time with his 89-year old mother, Ann, and his 61-year-old brother, Gene, who both live in town.

Both Peter and Gene Geiger, the company’s president and CEO, are active in the business community.

Gene Geiger is on the board of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council and co-chairs the group’s Future Forum.

“The Geigers are great community leaders, and are committed to the quality of life here,” said Lucien Gosselin, president of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council.

Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or:

[email protected]