The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Mercantile House (Portland, Me.)

Mercantile House Ledger

1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 285

Firm based in Portland, Maine, that supplied “merchandize” to local merchants in Maine, as well as in several locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and northeastern Massachusetts. Firm undertook international “adventures” as well. Ledger includes general accounts for merchandise, bills receivable and payable, cash, profit and loss, storage, and truckage, as well as accounts generated with certain ships.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

This ledger documents the network of trade in southern Maine (at that time, still a part of Massachusetts) in the new republic. The firm which kept this ledger supplied local merchants in Portland, Gorham, North Yarmouth, Orrington, Pembroke, Georgetown (in Kennebec), and Cooper, Maine, as well as several locations in New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts. But this firm was not exclusively local; it undertook “adventures” to London, Cadiz, Port-au-Prince, Surinam, Virginia, North Carolina, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the goods purchased and sold are not itemized. Instead, they are accounted for under the general term “merchandize.”

Throughout the volume, there are more general accounts of the form for merchandise, bills receivable and payable, cash, profit and loss, storage, and truckage. There are also accounts generated with certain ships, including the General Wayne, the Five Brothers, and the Brig. Zephyr. Among the prominent accounts represented in this ledger are the Portland merchants Robert Boyd; Stevens and Hovey; Benjamin Titcomb, Jr.; Woodbury Storer; Ralph Cross; and William Waite. Other accounts were with Williams and Coffin (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), Asaph Gates (Orrington, Maine), Charles Josselyn (Pembroke), James Coffin (Pepperell), David Coffin (Newburyport), and James Robinson (Lynn).

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Mercantile House Ledger (MS 285). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, 1989.

Additional Information

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.



Maine--Commerce--18th centuryMaine--Commerce--Massachusetts--18th centuryMaine--Commerce--New Hampshire--18th centuryMassachusetts--Commerce--Maine--18th centuryMerchants--Maine--Portland--18th centuryNew Hampshire--Commerce--Maine--18th centuryPortland (Me.)--Commerce--18th centuryShipping--Accounting--18th centuryStorage and moving trade--Maine--18th century

Types of material

Account books