Many people never heard of anthrax before the bio-terrorist attacks after 9/11, when the powdered spores were sent through the US Mail to several people.
However, it’s a disease that has an incredibly long and storied history, that I’ll go in to detail about soon. As an occupational disease, anyone working with animal hides, wool, or any other unprocessed/partially-processed animal parts was at risk. There was also a risk to anyone working with soil that animals (especially herbivores) lived on.
Anthrax lives in hardy spores in the soil. It’s very rare (since requirement of vaccine use), but people do occasionally still contract it from the environment, like a patient in Minnesota did last week.