University of Massachusetts Amherst
SCUA

Collection area: Mercantile (page 2 of 6)

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Coffin, George R. (George Richards)

George R. Coffin Journal
1854-1857
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 1000 bd

The son of a master mariner from Newburyport, Massachusetts, George Richards Coffin was born in Castine, Maine, on Feb. 12, 1832. Sent to Boston at the age of 19 to get his start in business as a clerk, Coffin became a wharfinger in 1854, just a year before he married Hannah Balch, the eldest daughter of a prominent Newburyport merchant. As his family grew to eight, Coffin thrived in his trade, becoming a long-time member of the Merchant’s Exchange in Boston and Inspector of Grain for the Commercial Exchange in the 1870s. By the 1880s, he relocated his family to the genteel western suburbs of the city and by the time of his death in 1894, he had earned a spot in the Boston Blue Book.

This beautifully written diary was kept by George Coffin as he was starting out in life. Kept regularly, though not daily, the entries are filled with details about his budding business and personal lives, providing a rich portrayal of an aspiring young man in antebellum Boston. Beginning during the last few months of his clerkship and courtship of Hannah Balch and continuing through their engagement and marriage to the birth of their first child, the diary is filled with descriptions of socializing at parties and lectures, religious attendance and recreational activities, and it includes his thoughts on marriage, family, and his career in business. Of particular note are Coffin’s accounts of a visit to the State Prison in Charlestown, his reactions to local resistance to the capture of Anthony Burns under the Fugitive Slave Act, and the steady growth of his relationship with Hannah.

Gift of Elizabeth Hartmann, Nov. 2017
Subjects
  • Boston (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • Burns, Anthony, 1834-1862
  • Clerks--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Coffin, Hannah B.
  • Courtship--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Husband and wife--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Marriage--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Newburyport (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century
  • United States. Fugitive Slave Law (1850)
  • Weddings--Massachusetts--Newburyport
Types of material
  • Diaries

Coon, John H.

John H. Coon Ledger
1862-1873
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 230 bd

Owner of a general store and a farmer in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Ledger includes lists of customers, the goods that they purchased, and how they paid (cash and exchange of goods or services).

Subjects
  • Arnold, Emmons
  • Crippen, Frank
  • Croslear, Aaron, Mrs
  • Curtiss, Ira
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Sheffield
  • Noteware, Frank
  • Sheffield (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Tuttle, Leonard
Contributors
  • Coon, John H
Types of material
  • Account books

Currier, William A.

W.A. Currier Daybooks
1865-1869
2 vols. (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 213

Located at 14 and 16 Main Street in Haverhill, Mass., W.A. Currier dealt in kitchen goods, home furnishings, and stoves around the time of the Civil War. His trade seems to have been diverse and dynamic: in the Haverhill city directory for 1865, he is recorded variously as a furniture seller, junk dealer, and carriage maker, while two years later, he is listed at the same address under stoves and tinware.

Covering the immediate post-Civil War years, Currier’s daybooks document customers, items purchased, prices paid, and transactions relating to the trade in home goods, stoves, and rags.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
  • Adams, George
  • Daniels, W. F
  • Gildea, Peter
  • Griffin, Samuel
  • Haverhill (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Kimball, O
  • O'Brine, J. W
  • Rags--Prices--Massachusetts--Haverhill--19th century
  • Stacy, W. P
  • Stove industry and trade--Massachusetts--Haverhill--19th century
  • Stoves--Repairing--Massachusetts--Haverhill--19th century
  • Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Haverhill--19th century
Contributors
  • Currier, William A
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Cushing, David F., 1814-1899

David F. Cushing Records
1851-1862
2 vols. (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 248 bd

Born in Newfane, Vermont in 1814, David F. Cushing journeyed to West Medway, Massachusetts, at the age of sixteen to learn the tailor’s trade. There he met and married Polly Adams (b. 1821), who gave birth to their son, Winfield, in 1843, the first of at least nine children. Shortly after starting his family, Cushing returned home to Vermont, establishing a general store in the village of Cambridgeport, situated on the border of Grafton and Rockingham. He enjoyed considerable success in his work, rising from being listed as a “retail dealer” in the early years to a merchant; by 1860, Cushing owned real estate valued at $4,000 and personal property worth $7,000. A deacon of the Congregational church, his frequent appointment as a postmaster hints at a degree of political connection within the community to accompany his financial and personal success. He remained active in his store for 56 years until his death in 1899.

Cushing’s daybook (1860) includes lists of stock, how he acquired his goods, and the method and form of payment (cash or exchange of goods and services). The receipt book, comprised of printed forms, records freight hauling activities, with records of the freight (usually hay or oxen), weight, and date.

Subjects
  • Barter--Vermnont--Cambridgeport--19th century
  • Cambridgeport (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Vermont--19th century
  • General stores--Vermont--Cambridgeport
Contributors
  • Cushing, David F., 1814-1899
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Dall Family

Dall Family Correspondence
1810-1843
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 282

Chiefly correspondence from various Dall family members in Boston, Massachusetts, particularly father William Dall, Revolutionary War veteran, merchant, businessman and former Yale College writing master, to sons William and James Dall in Baltimore, Maryland. Letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities of the time.

The correspondence documents the daily changes in the life of a merchant’s family in the early 19th century, reflecting anxiety over trade restrictions, embargoes, and other economic disruptions resulting from the War of 1812. The elder Dall (William 3rd) and much of his family lived in Boston, but two sons lived in Baltimore. The bulk of the correspondence consists of letters to the younger son, William 4th, who was then apprenticed to a Baltimore merchant. The letters of son James Dall, then a student at Harvard University, provide accounts of Boston political and cultural activities.

Acquired 1989
Subjects
  • Baltimore (Md.)--Biography
  • Baltimore (Md.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Biography
  • Boston (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Intellectual life--19th century
  • Boston (Mass.)--Politics and government--19th century
  • Dall family
  • Family--United States--History--19th century
  • Harvard University--Students
  • Merchants--Maryland--Baltimore
  • Merchants--Massachusetts--Boston
Contributors
  • Dall, James, 1781-1863
  • Dall, John Robert, 1798-1851
  • Dall, John, 1791-1852
  • Dall, Joseph, 1801-1840
  • Dall, Maria, 1783-1836
  • Dall, Rebecca Keen
  • Dall, Sarah Keen, 1798-1878
  • Dall, William, 1753-1829
  • Dall, William, 1794 or 5-1875

Gay, Merrick, 1802-1866

Merrick Gay Account Books
1844-1849
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 242

A successful merchant from Gaysville, Vermont, Merrick Gay (1802-1866) operated a general store in his village for many years, later establishing a woolen factory. Gay served his community variously as postmaster, town clerk, and state senator.

These two daybooks document Gay’s business transactions with local individuals and firms and with the Town of Stockbridge and Narrows School District. The entries record the name of each customer, the method and form of payment (cash and goods), and Gay’s purchases, including labor costs for hauling freight.

Subjects
  • Barter--Vermont--Gaysville--History--19th century
  • Blanchard, Solomon, b. ca. 1816
  • Books--Prices--Vermont--History--19th century
  • Claremont Manufacturing Company--History
  • Freight and freightage--Rates--Vermont--History--19th century
  • Gaysville (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Gaysville (Vt.)--Rural conditions--19th century
  • Gaysville Forge Company--History
  • Gaysville Manufacturing Company--History
  • General stores--Vermont--Gaysville
  • Narrows School District--History
  • Stockbridge (Vt.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Waller, Israel
Contributors
  • Gay, Merrick, 1802-1866
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Daybooks

Gillett, Chauncey S.

Chauncey S. Gillett Daybook
1841-1845
1 vol. (0.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 417 bd

Although poorly known, Chauncey S. Gillett (1815-1846) appears to have carried on a relatively small custom at a general store in Southwick, Massachusetts, during the early 1840s. The son of Almon and Cinthia Gillett, Gillett traded in the typical range of groceries, dry goods, and other commodities, including buttons, cloth, paper, tobacco and tea, molasses, and candles, but also in liquors of various sorts (rum, gin, and brandy cider). Gillett died at the age of 30 on January 4, 1846, and is buried in Southwick.

Kept by the young Chauncey Gillett, this daybook records a chronological series of transactions at a general stores in Southwick, Mass., between 1841 and 1845. Among Gillett’s customers were several relatives, including Almon, Rhodolphus, and Levi Gillett, all of whom are also buried in the Southwick cemetery.

Subjects
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Southwick
  • Southwick (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • Gillett, Chauncey S
Types of material
  • Daybooks

Henry, Samuel

Samuel Henry Accounts Books
1813-1881
2 boxes (0.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 013

Justice of the peace, merchant, landowner, and entrepreneur from Prescott and Shutesbury, Massachusetts. Nine volumes contain descriptions of his duties as justice of the peace, a book of deeds and mortgages from local real estate transactions, account books of sales in his general store and from his palm leaf hat business, and notes of accounts with individuals.

Subjects
  • General stores--Massachusetts--Shutesbury
  • Panama hat industry--Massachusetts
  • Prescott (Mass.)--History
  • Shutesbury (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Shutesbury (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Henry, Samuel, 19th cent
Types of material
  • Account books

Hodges, Charles W.

Charles W. and Joseph F. Hodges Account Books
1862-1865
2 vols. (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 209

Brothers Charles W. and Joseph F. Hodges moved from Norton, Mass., to Foxboro, and established a successful retail grocery business just prior to the Civil War that became the basis for other mercantile enterprises.

These two account books appear to be customer ledgers of the grocery firm Hodges and Messinger, which was to become the Union Store of Charles W. and Joseph F. Hodges.

Subjects
  • Foxborough (Mass.)--History--19th century
  • Grocers--Massachusetts--Foxborough
  • Grocery trade--Massachusetts--Foxborough
Contributors
  • Hodges, Joseph F. (Joseph Francis), 1827-1901
Types of material
  • Account books

Howe Family

Howe Family Papers
1730-1955
7 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 019

Personal, business, and legal papers of the Howe family of Enfield and Dana, Massachusetts, including correspondence between family members, genealogies, account books and printed materials. Account books record transactions of various family members whose occupations included general storekeeper, minister, printer, postmaster, telephone exchange and gas-station owner, and document the transactions of community businesses and individuals, some of whom were women involved in the beginnings of the local palm leaf hat and mat industry.

Subjects
  • Bookkeeping--History--Sources
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Biography
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Howe family--Genealogy
  • Moneylenders--Massachusetts--Enfield--History
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--History
  • Swift River Valley (Mass.)--Social life and customs
Contributors
  • Howe, Donald W. (Donald Wiliam), 1982-1977
  • Howe, Edwin H., 1859-1943
  • Howe, Henry Clay Milton, b. 1823
  • Howe, John M.
  • Howe, John, 1783-1845
  • Howe, Theodocia Johnson, 1824-1898
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Business records
  • Deeds
  • Genealogies
  • Scrapbooks
  • Wills
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