Skip to main content

Account Books Collection

Identifier: 1979-0001


The books fall into three categories: farmers, storekeepers and businesses.


  • Creation: 1774-1892


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.


The books fall into three categories: farmers, storekeepers and businesses. Individuals or companies include, among others: Benjamin Brown, Marshall J. Collins, John Fitch, Charles Harding, Edmund Howe, E. Lathrop, B. Lathrop, Daniel M. Lester, James Lincoln, Collins and Company, Edward Dakin, Lucius Gurley, William Runkle, William B. Morgan, Duckworth's, Bank of Commerce and Willimantic Linen Company. Unidentified materials include a journal from a store on a wharf and a tanner together in one volume, the journal of a gristmill and the account book of a general store in Mansfield Center, CT.


29 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The account books in this collection are from different sources but date primarily from nineteen century Connecticut.

Series I: Farmers (1774). Three account books and three day books (1807-1886) document the farm of Benjamin Brown and his son. Brown was a farmer in Brooklyn, Connecticut. The first two account books show settled accounts signed by Benjamin. The third, dated 1843-1845), was kept jointly by father and son. The three day books may have been kept by Benjamin Brown, if he lived to a very old age, or they may have been kept by his son. Brown's account and day books represent an economic exchange system based on credit. Brown exchanged goods and labor but very little cash with members of his community. The primary source of Brown's trade was dairy products, but he also provided potatoes, grain, apples, wood and livestock.

The Brown books may be the most significant portion of the collection because they provided almost complete coverage of the period 1807 to 1886 documented in a consistent accounting manner.

The day book of Marshall J. Collins, 1808-1869, of Hazardville, Connecticut, also documents a credit system of economic exchange. The primary products of Collins' farm were beef, butter, corn and wood. The f irst half of the book was later used as a child's scrap book, obliterating most of the entries in the earlier section.

The account book of John Fitch, 1774-1818, identifies Fitch as an attorney at law in Windham, Connecticut. The entries also document that he was a farmer, waggoner and cater of goods, and a land holder. Fitch worked within the credit system but also exchanged cash more regularly than the other farmers represented in this series.

Charles Harding's account book, 1811-1840, demonstrates the specific skills of a laborer from Mansfield, Connecticut. Harding worked on farms, tended bar, repaired waterwheels, textile mill machinery and straw braiding machinery. He also worked as a weaver, general woodworker and in construction. A portion of this book was also used as a scrapbook, obliterating the account entries in this section.

Edmund Howe of Mansfield, Connecticut, maintained an account book from 1802-1825. He appears to have been a farmer, producing hay and wood for credit. He also produced leather, boots and woolen cloth. The books also suggest that Howe was a blacksmith, particularly who provided horseshoes. Most of Howe's accounts are recorded as cash transactions in English pounds and shillings.

Three account books, 1819-1860 belonged to E. and B. Lathrop of Norwich, Connecticut. There is a gap in the books from 1829 to 1837. The main products of the Lathrop farm were potatoes, corn, rye, cider and wood. The Lathrop's also carted goods and rented out their horse and chaise, or oxen and wagons.

Daniel M. Lester maintained an account book from 1809 through 1842. A farmer in Preston, Connecticut, Lester provided produce and labor for goods. He made corn brooms and wove baskets for income.

James Lincoln's day book, 1812-1847, also contains some settled accounts. A farmer or farm laborer from Windham, Connecticut, he sold his services on farms with or without the use of his oxen. He also received an income from several textile related activities: shearing, carding wool, spinning, weaving and mending looms. He also mended tools, wagons and shoes, made shingles and worked in a saw mill.

William B. Morgan, 1833-1850, maintained an account book of receipts and payments for services rendered and received.

Series II: Storekeepers (1775). Collins and Company account book, 1854-1861. The first half of this book, labeled as "Ledger A", is an account book covering one year from November 1854 to November 1855. The second half of the book contains day book entries from March through November of 1861. Collins and Company was a dry goods store in Middletown, Connecticut. The storekeeper(s) worked within the credit system, receiving eggs, brooms, berries, corn and labor from their customers in exchange for sugar, salt, tea, coffee, matches and other similar goods.

Edward Dakin kept a day book, 1881-1882, for his dry goods store in South Kent, Connecticut. The credit system of economic exchange is also represented in his entries. It appears that he owned the store.

Two day books, 1814-1816, belonged to Lucius Gurley, a storekeeper in Mansfield, Connecticut. He maintained the first book from April to November 1814 and appears to be the author of the second book, December 1815 through December 1816. The items in Gurley's store were exchanged for goods and services from the community.

William Runkle and Duckworth's kept day books, 1800-1814, documenting the credit system of economic exchange in Bloomsbury, Connecticut.

An unidentified store, presumed to be located on a wharf maintained a journal from 1830-1934. In the same journal as recorded the records of a tanner.

An unidentified store located in Mansfield Center, Connecticut, account book detailing transactions from 1775-1777. The store is in some way associated with the Storrs family as there are several references to "Landlord Storrs."

Series III: Businesses (1792-1892). Two labor account books, 1857-1862, and one payroll book, 1857-1887, of the Willimantic Linen Company document the activities of a textile mill in Willimantic,Connecticut. These books contain valuable information about the mill operations: operatives' names, days and weeks worked, wages per day, whole amount of wages, payments in cash, rents, board, sundries, amount due and remarks. The payroll book contains information concerning the following: operatives' names, room or area in the mill, hours worked, rate of wages, amount of wages, payments in cash, rents, and net amount.

Book of receipts (1840s) for the Bank of Commerce.

An account book, 1891-1892, kept by an unidentified business is a ledger of a business most probably located in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The entries are recorded in the form of cash.

A ledger kept by Captain William Hubbard, a cobbler from Lebanon, Connecticut. Hubbard made fine calf shoes and boots and did some repairs; all of the entries are for cash.

Acquisition Information

Unknown. The James Lincoln materials were donated to the University in 1936. The Mansfield Center ledger (27) was purchased in 2010.

Account Books Collection
Archives & Special Collections staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US