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John Wilson account book


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

This volume spanning the years from 1849 to 1899 comprises the personal account book of John Wilson, who lived in Troutbeck and Windermere, Westmorland, England, in the Lake District. The volume has a stamped, decorative parchment binding, a red label on the spine that reads "Ledger," and a brass clasp closure bearing the words "improved patent" above the image of a lion. Evidence from Wilson's recorded business transactions and work performed for clients suggests he was probably a literary agent, editor, and stationer. An alphabetical index with finding tabs is at the beginning of the volume with two letters stamped on each tab. The volume has 114 numbered pages enumerated in ink on the on the recto only in the upper right hand corner. Throughout the volume and at the end some pages are blank. Wilson recorded the client's name and/or business, services provided, and the cost in columns of pounds, shillings, and pence. The totals are at the bottom of each page. Wilson's work varied and his clients chiefly included publishers, newspapers, writers, and joiners. Some of the publishers Wilson worked for included, Cassell & Co. from 1892 to 1898, W. B. Horner & Son, London from 1889 to 1892, and Cook & Son Tours in 1877. Work performed for publishers indicates Wilson was paid for editing, writing, arranging, and printing. Wilson was regularly employed by several newspapers such as the Kendal Times from 1868 to 1894, the Lakes Herald from 1889 to1898, and Field Newspaper from 1879 to1896. Wilson wrote columns, reported the yacht club regattas, covered the Northwestern sheep dog trials, provided stationary, and enlargements. Wilson also worked for writers George Augustus Sala (1828-1895) and Eliza Winstanley (1818-1882) among others. He edited and delivered manuscript sheets for the authors. Wilson worked for a joiner named George Brownrigg of Troutbeck from 1852 to 1873, who probably made coffins. Wilson recorded providing coffin plates and letterhead for Brownrigg. Laid in the volume is one small photograph of a family posing in front of a hay cart, an envelope addressed to Kendal in Westmorland, and a brief letter with an envelope addressed to John Wilson from J. Richardson, a printer, dated April 1867 regarding payment. The envelope accompanying the letter is illustrated on both sides depicting the printing process. Eighteen postage stamps are pasted on the blue marbled paste down and endpaper at the beginning of the volume. Written in black on the marbled endpaper is John Wilson, Troutbeck 1850, Jersey 1864, and Windermere 1865. Twenty-four postage stamps are pasted on the recto of the last marbled endpaper at the back of the volume. Pasted across the inside back cover and endpaper is a perpetual calendar for the nineteenth century. Bound in at the end of the volume is a foldout illustrated print of astrological symbols, comets, and seers bearing the title "The hieroglyphic, or Oracle of events to come--1849," printed at the bottom. Following the foldout is a sixteen page almanac entitled "Reynold's astrological and prophetic almanack for 1849 . . ." containing memoirs of Louis Napoleon, the months of the year with humorous illustrations at the top, county fairs, stamps, monetary matters, and on the last three pages are recipes, chiefly for the household with a few medicinal remedies. The "Y Z" index tab at the beginning of the volume lists years and dates on the left with a line of what appear to be astrological symbols for each date.

Sold by Susanne Schulz-Falster Rare Books (Woodstock, England), 2016.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Donna Brandolisio
Finding Aid Date
February 2017
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John Wilson account book, 1849-1899.
Volume 1

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