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Shearer, James

James Shearer Daybook

1836-1838
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 418 bd

During the late 1830s, James Shearer operated a general store near Palmer, Massachusetts, trading in the gamut of dry goods and commodities that made up the country trade in Massachusetts, from dried fish, butter, rum, and brandy, to soap, nails, chalk, cloth, sugar, molasses, spices, coffee, and tea. Although some customers paid their accounts in cash, most appear bartered goods (e.g, with butter) or services (carting).

The Shearer daybook contains detailed records the transactions of a general store located in or near Palmer, Mass., during the years surrounding the financial panic of 1837. The volume is attributed to Shearer based on a single signature on the last page of the volume, closing out a lengthy account with J. Sedgwick. Although Shearer cannot be identified with certainty, it appears likely that he was a member of the prolific Shearer family of Palmer in Hampden County.

Subjects
General stores--Massachusetts--Palmer
Palmer (Mass.)--History
Contributors
Shearer, James
Types of material
Daybooks
Shreve and Earl

Shreve and Earl Account Book

1807-1809
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 625 bd

In the first decade of the nineteenth century, the firm of Shreve and Earl operated in Burlington County, New Jersey, trading in a range of sundries from molasses, sugar, and butter to fabrics and spices. They also sold large quantities of liquor, suggesting that they may have operated as wholesalers of whiskey and spirits.

Kept in standard double column format, the Shreve and Earl account book documents two years of a fairly extensive retail operation, probably located in Burlington County, N.J. The principals in the business are possibly Alexander Shreve (1769-1854), husband of Mary H. Earl, and his son Joshua, along with Alexander’s brothers-in-law Thomas and Caleb Earl. Several accounts are notable for the relatively large quantities of alcohol recorded: of 33 entries for Reuben Gauntt, for example, 29 are for either whiskey or spirits and one for molasses and coffee.

Subjects
General stores--New Jersey
Liquor industry--New Jersey
New Hanover (N.J.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
Shreve and Earl
Shreve, Alexander, 1769-1854
Types of material
Account books
Smith, Lewis

Lewis Smith Account Book

1784-1828
2 folders 0.15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 085 b

A resident of Northampton, Mass., directly across the Connecticut River from South Hadley, Lewis Smith ran a substantial farm during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Settling in the village of Smith’s Ferry shortly after service in the American Revolution, Smith owned a part stake in a sawmill and produced and traded in an array of farm products, from grains and vegetables to grain, beef, and pork. A producer of apples and owner of his own mill, he produced large quantities of cider and vinegar.

In a standard double-column account book kept somewhat erratically, Lewis Smith recorded an extensive exchange of goods and services befitting a prosperous Northamptonite. Smith sold an array of goods he produced, from apples to dairy products, grain, beef, lard, and tallow, with cider from his mill (and briefly brandy) being the most consistent producer of revenue.

Subjects
Cider industry--Massachusetts--Northampton
Farmers--Massachusetts--Northampton
Northampton (Mass.)--History
Types of material
Account books
Stone, John

John Stone Ledger

1836-1842
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 247 bd

A native of Barnstable County, Mass., John Stone was born on July 18, 1809, and spent the entirety of his brief life in the town of North Dennis. A general storekeeper and merchant who dealt in lumber and building materials, Stone married Elizabeth Downes on Dec. 8, 1832, only to see her die barely a year later. He married a second time to Isabella Nickerson Thomas (ca.1838?), with whom he had one son, John M. Stone, in 1839. Just 34 when he passed, John Stone died on May 18, 1843.

This volume is comprised of a number of miscellaneous accounts kept by Stone, and because there are no page numbers, the exact nature of the book is difficult to discern, however these include inventories of goods (apparently at Stone’s store) and some records of expenditures.

Subjects
General stores--Massachusetts--North Dennis
Lumber trade--Massachusetts--North Dennis
Merchants--Massachusetts--North Dennis
North Dennis (Mass.)--History
Types of material
Ledgers (Account books)
Thompson, William

William Thompson Account Book

1861-1862
1 folder 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 097

During the years of the Civil War, George Dodge and Co. operated a general store, possibly in Worcester County, Mass., selling a range of personal consumables.

This diminutive account book includes records of personal purchases by William Thompson at a general store operated by George Dodge and Co. Beginning in Dec. 1861, Thompson purchased small quantities of goods such as coffee, fish, pork, flour and rye meal, bed cord and suspenders, indigo, molasses, and butter, settling his accounts in January 1864.

Subjects
General stores--Massachusetts
Contributors
Thompson, William
Types of material
Account books
Tilton, Hannah

Hannah Tilton Account Book

1845-1885
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 250 bd

Born into a working class family from New Bedford, Mass., in Nov. 1829, Hannah Sisson was the daughter of a cooper Job Tilton and his wife Patience, and was raised in the multigenerational home owned by her grandparents John and Nancy Tilton. In April 1853, Hannah married George Oliver Tilton, a farmer from Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard, and moved to the island.

The first 340 pages of this daybook detail the daily transactions of a general store in New Bedford between 1845 and 1847. The store traded in very small quantities of consumable goods, ranging from a gallon of molasses to 150 crackers, a pound of butter, a peck of potatoes or apples, flour, pork, and fish. Most purchases were for less than a dollar.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
General stores--Massachusetts--New Bedford
New Bedford (Mass.)--History
Types of material
Daybooks
Toppan, C. S.

C.S. Toppan Account Book

1845-1861
1 vol. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 084

A wealthy merchant from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Includes details of his ventures in ship owning and his investments in manufacturing companies and real estate. Also contains total assets of his “property in possession” as of January 1845, and lists of debtors, including men, women, businesses, religious groups, and political groups.

Subjects
Debtor and creditor--New Hampshire--Portsmouth--History--19th century
Inventories of decedents' estates--New Hampshire--Portsmouth
Merchants--New Hampshire--Portsmouth--Economic conditions--19th century
Portsmouth (N.H.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Shipowners--New Hampshire--Portsmouth--Economic conditions--19th century
Toppan, C. S. (Christopher S.)--Estate
Contributors
Toppan, C. S. (Christopher S.)
Types of material
Account books
Van Dusen, J. M.

J.M. Van Dusen Ledgers

1865-1910
5 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 188 bd

Tinsmith and plumber from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Mentions items he repaired and cleaned (stoves, furnaces, pots, pans, tinware, glassware, and crockery), goods sold (lamps, wash basins, kitchen utensils, shovels, fuel, and furnaces), occasional mention of payment with goods, lists of suppliers, and lists of customers, many of whom were prominent people in the community.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987
Subjects
Business enterprises--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--History--19th century
Heating--Equipment and supplies--History
House furnishings--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--History
Plumbers--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--Economic conditions--19th century
Plumbing--Equipment and supplies--History
Stockbridge (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
Tinsmiths--Massachusetts--Stockbridge--Economic conditions--19th century
Contributors
J.M. Van Dusen Plumbing and Heating Co.
Van Dusen, J. M.
Types of material
Account books
Ward, Dana F.

Dana F. Ward Diaries

1897-1982 Bulk: 1904-1951
2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 577

Born in Chelsea, Mass., in 1874, and a long-time resident of Somerville, Dana F. Ward enjoyed a prominent career in the fisheries industry in Massachusetts. Entering the wholesale fish business in 1900 when he organized the firm of Whitman, Ward, and Lee, Ward became Director and Advertising Manager of the Boston Fish Market Corporation (builder and operator of the Fish Pier) and an investor. Before the U.S. entry into the First World War, Ward was employed by the state to lecture on the benefits of frozen fish as a food source. An active member in both the Congregational Church and local Masonic lodge, he married Katherine B. Symonds (d. 1948) in Leominster in October 1899.

Personal in nature, the Ward diaries provide a chronicle of the daily life of a relatively well to do fish wholesaler from 1897 through 1951, with some gaps. Generally small in size, the diaries are densely written and are laid in with letters, various sorts of documents, stamps, newsclippings, and other ephemera that help define the contours of Ward’s life. The collection is particularly rich for the years during the Second World War and it includes three diaries (1967, 1977, 1982) from later family members.

Acquired from Ben Katz, Nov. 2008
Subjects
Fisheries--Massachusetts
Somerville (Mass.)--History
Contributors
Ward, Dana F
Types of material
Diaries
Wheeler, Truman

Truman Wheeler Account Book

1764-1772
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 618 bd

One of twelve children of Obadiah and Agnes (Tuttle) Wheeler, Truman Wheeler was born in Southbury, Conn., on Nov. 26, 1741. After completing his education, reportedly at Yale, Wheeler moved north to Great Barrington, Mass., in the spring of 1764. Acquiring property about a mile south of the center of town, he soon established himself as a general merchant trading in silk, fabrics, and a variety of domestic goods.

The Wheeler account book represents the initial years of a thriving, late colonial mercantile business in far western Massachusetts. Beginning in June 1764, not long after Wheeler set up shop in Great Barrington, the account book includes meticulous records of sales of domestic goods ranging from cloth (linen, silks, and osnabrig) to buttons, ribbons, and pins, snuff boxes, a “small bible,” “jews harps,” and tobacco. Among the prominent names that appear as clients are members of the Burghardt and Sedgwick families.

Subjects
Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
Merchants--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
Contributors
Wheeler, Truman, 1741-1815
Types of material
Account books