Account books, 1807-08, 1817-1833

Collection Type

  • Manuscripts



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Bound together: two account books. The first, dating from 1807-1808, evidently was kept by a clerk (as evidenced by the entry for October 1808: "To Theodore Lyman for my services as a clerk [...]," as well as someone making purchases of liquors and cloth for ship's stores or for individuals. This is probably not a book kept by a professional merchant, but possibly a Harvard undergraduate (e.g. records the purchase of a Harvard student lottery ticket). It is preceded by 10 pages titled "expense account," which is clearly that of a young person, boarding with a Mary Goodrich. This section totals 30 pages.

The remainder of the ledger is devoted to "expenses of house in Washington Place (Boston) bought by Samuel King Williams of Charles Barrett, 1817." The handwriting of these entries is entirely different from that of the first section of this volume, and it is not at all certain how the two works relate. The nature of the record is enormously detailed; foodstuffs, for example, are specified as "oysters" or "apples," periodicals are noted by name, and charitable contributions and music lessons are also noted. The fact that the record also notes births makes it possible to assess how household expenditures were affected as the size of the family changed and the age of the children initiated new types of consumption. The record ends in 1833, by which time the keeper of the book evidently had tired of making the meticulous entries characteristic of the first few years.

At the end is a miscellaneous section listing properties evidently owned by Williams in South Boston; a recipe for paper hanging; a list of liquors as of August 15, 1825; a recipe for pickled walnuts; and other accounts of dividends, etc.


Descriptive Terms

account books

Additional Identification Number

Other identifier Account book 125

Physical Description

2 account books

Collection Code


Collection Name

Account books collection

Date of Acquisition


Reference Code


Acquisition Type

Museum Purchase

Record Details

Material Type

account books

Description Level