Sarah R. Latimer account-keeping exercise book
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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
The creator of this account-keeping exercise book was Sarah R. Latimer of Wilmington, Delaware. Latimer was the daughter of Delaware physician and Congressman Henry Latimer (1752-1819). The daybook and ledgers she produced vary only slightly from account-keeping exercises found in Charles Hutton'sA Complete Treatise on Practical Arithmetic and Book-Keeping, Both by Single and Double Entry. and Zachariah Jess's .The American Tutor's Assistant, Revised; Or, a Compendious System of Practical Arithmetic, both of which offered instruction in arithmetic and bookkeeping. It is likely that Latimer copied these exercises from one of these books or a similar instructional manual as part of her schooling. Although the entries in the copied daybook and ledger exercises were dated 1806, Latimer titled the volume "Day-Book./1808." She also inscribed the ledgers at the back of the volume with the dates April 7, 1809, and April 13, 1809. Latimer was born around 1792, and likely completed these accounting exercises when she was about seventeen years old. She died on March 19, 1829, at the age of 37 in Wilmington, Delaware. At the time of her death, she owned stock in the Bank of Delaware, the Wilmington and Christiana Turnpike Company, The Schuylkill Bank, and the Wilmington Bridge Company.
Hutton, Charles.A Complete Treatise on Practical Arithmetic and Book-Keeping, Both by Single and Double Entry. Edinburgh: T. Ross and Sons, 1807. Jess, Zachariah.The American Tutor's Assistant, Revised; Or, a Compendious System of Practical Arithmetic. Philadelphia: Joseph Crukshank, 1810.Wilmington Monthly Meeting Records in Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 (accessed via Ancestry.com on December 21, 2017) Probate inventory for Sarah R. Latimer, June 2, 1830, in Delaware Wills and Probate Inventories, 1676-1971 (accessed via Ancestry.com on December 21, 2017) Information derived from the collection.
Sarah R. Latimer, a resident of Wilmington, Delaware, completed this account-keeping exercise circa 1808-1809. The exercise includes a sample daybook and ledgers.
Latimer likely copied the daybook and ledgers from an instructional manual, possibly a later edition of Charles Hutton'sA Complete Treatise on Practical Arithmetic and Book-Keeping, Both by Single and Double Entry, which was first published in the 1760s. Latimer's daybook transcription closely follows an 1807 edition of this manual, although the names of fictional debtors vary slightly. While "George Robson, of York" and "James Wilson, Schoolmaster" are still present, Latimer's transcription updated "Lady Strawberry" to "Lucy Berry," and changed "Sir Jeffery Slingstone" to "Jesse Sling." The daybook records the debts of these individuals in chronological order, beginning with James Elford of Bath's purchase of broadcloth on January 1, 1806. Although many of the debtors are described as living in English towns, Latimer recorded her own location as Wilmington at the top of each page in the daybook. Many of the fictional individuals in this exercise settled their accounts with Latimer in December 1806.
Following the daybook is a section labeled "Ledger A" in which each individual's transactions for the year are grouped together with debts on the left-hand page and payments on the right-hand page. For instance, Latimer noted that George Robson's debts for sundries purchased in January and March of 1806 were settled by a payment of cash in full on October 27, 1806. Latimer moved the accounts of individuals whose accounts were not settled into a second ledger at the back of this volume, entitled "Ledger B." Although the entries in this exercise were dated 1806, Latimer signed and dated Ledgers A and B on April 7, 1809, and April 13, 1809, respectively.
At the back of the volume is a short handwritten description of the "principals books of accounts," which included the daybook, ledger, memorandum book, and expense book. It is likely that Latimer copied this description from an instructional manual as well.
This volume is provides outstanding evidence of how educated young women learned to keep accounts in early nineteenth-century Delaware.
The volume is bound with marbled paper wrappers and contains forty-one leaves of unlined, wove paper, most with handwritten text in ink.
Item 0150: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0096
Purchase, May 2016
Processed by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, December 2017.
- Finance, Personal--United States--History--19th century
- Finance, Personal--Handbooks, manuals, etc
- Education--Delaware--History--19th century
- Women--Education--United States--History--19th century
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2017 December 21
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec