APS Library Bulletin headline
New Series, vol. 1, no. 1, Winter 2001

Footnotes, Head Account Book as Artefact

1. Franklin arrived from Boston just prior to the first limited experiments with paper currency in Pennsylvania, introduced by the Currency Acts of 1723 and 1726. Benjamin Franklin, A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper-Currency (Philadelphia 1729), as reprinted in Leonard W. Labaree, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), 1:142. The shortness of currency worsened the already difficult economic circumstances following the bursting of the South Sea Bubble. Peter Thompson, Rum Punch and Revolution: Taverngoing and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), p. 127.

2. See, e.g., joiner Lambert Emerson's advertisement, Pennsylvania Gazette, June 1, 1738.

3. As Kalm was to note twenty years later: "But all the money, which is got in these several countries [from Philadelphia's exports], must immediately be sent to England, in payment for the goods which are got from thence, and yet those sums are not sufficient to pay all the debts." Kalm, Travels, 1:50. Kalm provides a table of the value of goods shipped yearly from England to Pennsylvania from 1723-1747. During that period, English manufactured goods rose in annual value from andpound;10,793 to andpound;73,819, a nearly seven-fold increase. Kalm, Travels, 1:52. Kalm found that he met "with excellent masters in all trades, and many things are made here full as well as in England. Yet no manufactures, especially for making fine cloth are established." Kalm, Travels, 1:58. As evidenced by the numerous transactions in the Head account book, Philadelphia's furniture industry was to become a notable exception to Philadelphia's dependence on foreign manufactured goods. The incidence of imported furniture lessened the more Philadelphians became accustomed to buying from their local cabinetmakers.

4. Labaree, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin 1:140.

5. Labaree, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin 1:144. The shortage of paper currency also may have encouraged some to leave. Peter Turner, "intending for London," advertised that his fabrics and other wares were "to be Sold extreme cheap for ready Money or short Credit." Turner advertisement, Pennsylvania Gazette, July 30, 1741

6. Labaree, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin 1:148. However, in 1740, after a loan of eighty thousand pounds was issued in support, Franklin was to become alarmed at the proliferation of irredeemable paper currency and changed his tune: "I now think there are limits beyond which the quantity may be hurtful." Scharf, History of Philadelphia, 1:196.

7. Of course, what was a disadvantage to Head, his suppliers and customers, is a boon to modern scholarship. Head's records of barter are a cornucopia of information regarding previously unknown tradesmen, their goods, and their lifestyles.

8. Crediting the account of Edmond [Edmund] Woolley, Head wrote: "Minde the note of my hand That I gave Edmond Woolley for Balance I paid by his order To Caleb Ransted which was In full of all accounts." Head Account Book, p. 14 [1/29/29].

9. Head Account Book, pp. 56 left and right. No other business was recorded with Logan [1674-1751], who had been William Penn's secretary.

10. Head Account Book, pp. 41 left and right.

11. Head Account Book, pp. 74 left and right.

12. Head Account Book, pp. 88 left and right.

13. Head Account Book, pp. 119 left and right.

14. Head Account Book, pp. 73 left and right.

15. Head Account Book, p. 68 left. The recordation of even a single non-cash payment for a piece of furniture could become complicated. On the same date as the debit for the chest of drawers, Johns was credited for paying partly in cash, £3-4-0, and the remaining £4-1-0, "To an order upon Charles Hansley." That same date Charles Hansl[e]y's account was debited "To an order from Christian [not Philip] Johns." A year to the day later, on 10/1/25, an order in the exact amount, £4-1-0, showed up as a credit to Hansly's account as "By an order from Christian Johns dated 10/1/24/And paid to William Clare 2/12/25." On the latter date, Clar's account was credited, "To an order apon C[h]arles Hansley," but in a greater amount, £4-7-5." The inconsistencies were nowhere explained. Head Account Book, pp. 19 [Clar], 55 left [Hansly], 68 left and right [Philip Johns].

16. Head Account Book, p. 76 left [Lucan; Tison].

17. Head Account Book, pp. 98 left and right. By then Head was seemingly out of the furniture business, but his son-in-law, Jeremiah Warder, the hatter, was very much into the business of hats and shirts. Head Account Book, pp. 77 left and right. Beaver hats were the most esteemed. "Raccoon...was next in goodness." Kalm, Travels, 1:97.

18. Head Account Book, pp. 118a left and right [Vallecot], 119 left and right [Carrall]. "Wm[.] Vallicot" was admitted freeman on April 30, 1717. Minutes of the Common Council, p. 121.

19. Pennsylvania Gazette, September 27, 1750.

20. "The town not only furnishes most of the inhabitants of Pennsylvania with the goods which they want, but numbers of the inhabitants of New Jersey come every day and carry on a great trade." Kalm, Travels, 1:53-54. Kalm wrote that in New Bristol, now simply Bristol, in Pennsylvania some twenty miles north, "[t]he inhabitants carry on a small trade, though most of them get their goods from Philadelphia." Kalm, Travels, 1:219. The trade of even well-situated larger towns was adversely affected, and not always fairly. Burlington, New Jersey, across the Delaware River from Bristol, which Kalm visited on May 31, 1749, was described, as follows: "The town has a good situation, since ships of considerable burden can sail close up to it: but Philadelphia prevents its carrying on an extensive trade; for the proprietors of that place have granted it great immunities, by which it is increased so as to swallow all the trade of the adjacent towns." Kalm, Travels, 2:219 [footnote omitted]. In 1718, a petition had been presented in the Pennsylvania Assembly to bar Jersey inhabitants from selling meat in the Philadelphia market. Watson, Annals, 1:97. Even Trenton, another ten miles up river, got its goods from Philadelphia and carried on only a "small trade." Its chief source of income was as a transit point for travelers between Philadelphia and New York. Kalm, Travels, 1:221. John Head sold furniture in New Jersey. One chest of drawers, at £3-0-0, was ordered by "John [?] Hanby at Racoon Crik," on 3/17/40. Head Account Book, p. 46. Raccoon Creek lay across the Delaware and a few miles south. Many in its population descended from earlier Swedish settlers. Kalm spent a substantial amount of time there. Kalm, Travels, 1:330, 2:3-212. Philadelphia also dominated the commerce of the upper Chesapeake Bay region. Luke Beckerdite, "An Identity Crisis[,] Philadelphia and Baltimore Furniture Styles of the Mid Eighteenth Century," in Shaping a National Culture, p. 243.

21. Joiner Josiah Claypoole supplied "9 Pickturs Sent to John Hawes of Antequa" and a "pr of chest of Drawes of Walnutt for Moley," as credited in Nathaniel Allen's book on January 20, 1738. "Moley" was Allen's ship, the "Molley," for which joiner George Wilson also supplied a bedstead with black cornice, on February 23, 1748. Leibundguth, "Furniture-making," pp. 13-14, 18, citing Account Book of Nathaniel Allen, pp. 149 [Claypoole], 169 [Wilson].

22. Head Account Book, pp. 100 left and right. An "Anthony Atwood" had a wharf located under Society Hill, between Pine and Cedar Streets, as of 1748. "Restoration of the Schuylkill Gun to 'The State in Schuylkill,' April 23d, 1884," Pennsylvania Gazette, 8:211. Aaron Goforth, Jr. "Joyner" was admitted as a freeman on May 20, 1717. Minutes of the Common Council, p. 127. He came to Philadelphia with his father, Aaron Goforth, Sr., also a joiner, in 1711. Hornor, Blue Book, p. 3. Aaron Goforth, Jr.'s dealings as an intermediary between Head and the captains, in which he was transacting furniture made by Head not him, indicates that he was also acting as a merchant. See also the discussion, in the section on oval tables, of the consignment by Head customer Thomas Shute of an oval table for sale in Barbados.

23. "Marriage Certificate of Samuel Bryan and Sarah Head," 12/17/46, HSP, Marriage Certificates, vol. 1, Am.10155; Head Account Book, p. 29 [4/6/23-4/24/28]. Samuel Brian or Bryan was born about 1721 to Thomas Brian and Susannah Hearn. FamilySearch.com, film #452894, ref. #18338. With respect to dates derived from FamilySearch.com: FamilySearch's International Geneaological Index has no means of indicating Julian vs. Georgian dates, resulting in an ambiguity not necessarily present in the original documents cited. This deficiency was noted in Mike Spathaky, "Old Style and New Style Dates: a Summary for Geneaologists" (1995), posted on Scott Crevier's Family History: Old Style and New Style Dates, http://www.family.crevier.org/dates/.

24. Wells advertisement, Pennsylvania Gazette, May 21, 1747; Head Account Book, p. 120 left [5/5/32, 5/20/32]. Cf., repairs to multiple looking glasses by George Claypoole for merchant John Reynell, on August 15, 1746, and April 4, 1748, suggesting that Reynell was trading in them. Leibundguth, "Furniture-making," p. 12, citing Business Papers of Coates-Reynell, 1702-1744.

25. Head Account Book, pp. 56 left [Cordry, 4/19/23], 105 left [Lawrence, 9/20/46].

26. See, e.g., the workings of such arrangements in the sections on chairs and clockcases.

27. Head credited Thomas Wells "By an ould desk apon a frame;" and Peter Stretch for an "ould Clock." Head Account Book, pp. 120 right [Wells, £1-7-6, 11/26/31], 132 right [Stretch, £4-10-0, 8/4/33]. An example of a desk-on-frame that would have been old by the time of Head's transaction with Wells is that illustrated in Hornor, Blue Book, pl. 6; and Samuel T. Freeman and Co., The James Curran Collection of Rare Eighteenth Century American Furniture, auction catalog (Philadelphia, March £11-12, 1940), lot 284, dated c. 1700.

28. The "ould Clock" that Head got from Stretch, on 8/4/33, at £4-10-0, was the part of the "Clock and Case," that he debited to Thomas Fitswarter [Fitzwater] the next week, on 8/10/33, at £7-10-0, presumably in one of his £3-0-0"Squar" cases. Likewise, the £3-10-0 credited Stretch for another "ould Clock", in 5/0/37, was probably part of the "Clock and Case," that Head charged Thomas Carrall [Carroll?], on 5/14/37, at £7-10-0, presumably in one of his £4-0-0 arched cases. Head Account Book, pp. 120 right [Wells], 109 right and 132 right [Stretch], 110 left [Fitswarter], 119 left [Carrall].

29. Head Account Book, pp. 87 left [Aspdin, 6/22/26], 97 left [Loyd, 2/4/33], 99 left [Campbell, 3/20/27 table £2-5-0 debit, 4/19/27 chest of drawers £5-10-0 debit] and right [Campbell, 9/10/27 table £2-5-0 credit, 10/5/27 chest of drawers £5-10-0 credit].

30. Head Account Book, pp. 48 right [Benjamin Hooton credit], 80 right [James Lipencot credit], 113 left [Stoopes], 136 right [Mickel Branin credit], 138 left [Benjamin Hooton debit.]. Mathias Aspdin was "Attorney" for Ralph Sandiford, publisher of a "Negroe Treatise," for sale at twelve pence each. Pennsylvania Gazette, December 22, 1730.

31. Head Account Book, p. 112 right. "TWO Brick Houses, two storey each, in Fourth Street, (Part of the Estate of Benjamin Clark, deceased)" were advertised for sale by his executors, including Benjamin Hooton. Pennsylvania Gazette, March 21, 1744.

32. Head Account Book, pp. . 49 left [Poultis], 59 right [John Morris], 66 right [Hannah Turner], 78 right [George Boon], 94 right [Clifton].

33. Head Account Book, p. 50 left.

34. Head Account Book, p. 99 left.

35. Head Account Book, pp. 82 left and right. Head made careful notes before entering them in the account book, as George Vaux VIII noted in pencil: "Inventory of these goods in old Head Pocket Book in my collection 4/2 1900." Head Account Book, p. 82 right. Alexander Forbes also sold fabrics and thread from "his house, in second street, two doors from Black Horse Alley." Pennsylvania Gazette, February 23, 1748.

36. Wilson, "Early American Account Books," p. 3, quoting historian W.T. Baxter.

37. The general comments in this section regarding account books are substantially derived from the scholarship of two former Fellows in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture. See Yolanda Van de Krol, Records of Distribution; William N. Hosley, Jr., "The Theory and Practice of Bookkeeping in America During the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries and the Application of Surviving Business Records in the Study of Material Culture" (May, 1979), University of Delaware, History 804, Winterthur, Downs Collection.

38. Because Colonial bookkeepers often combined in a single book elements of ledgers, daybooks, and diaries, it has been recommended that all such books should be accessioned by libraries and historical societies under the general heading of "Account Books," to avoid problems of technical nomenclature. Wilson, "Early American Account Books," p. 3.

39. A daybook is a form of single-entry bookkeeping. Head's daybook would have been ordered chronologically with transactions listed under the date when they took place. In an adjacent column, cross references to the ledger would probably have been made. The earliest reference in Head's account book to a daybook is dated 11/20/27. Head Account Book, p. 99 left. The latest is dated 5/19/50. Head Account Book, p. 123 right. References to the daybook in the Head Account Book are often for the purpose of correcting an erroneous entry. Thus, Head gave James Lipencot [Lippincott], a credit of £3-8-4, on 10/28/39, "By a parsel of scanlen reduced as by day Book mak[ing] 11139 foot." Head Account Book, p. 80 right. Head appears to have also used his daybook to aggregate small charges for sundries and then later posted them together in his ledger. E.g., John Campbell was debited £9-19-7, on 11/20/27, "To Sundres as apere [appear] By day Book." Head Account Book, p. 99 left.

40. In the handwriting of George Vaux VIII, on a page in the account book, is the following note in pencil: "Inventory of these goods in old Head Pocket Book in my collection 4/2 1900." Head Account Book, p. 82 right. Head, in crediting Hannah Turner £0-2-6, on 7/29/24, did so "By abatment [abatement] In ye drawer." Head Acount Book, p. 66 right.

41. Head Account Book, p. 94 left.

42. Hereafter, in instances where Head used but one number for facing pages, reference to the lefthand side of pages shall be cited as "p.# left," and to the righthand side as "p. # right." Unless otherwise stated, all lefthand entries were entered as debits and all righthand ones as credits. Remembering what debits and credits signified is made easy by a couplet from an accounting instructional book of the 19th century: "Profit and Loss Accounts are plain/I debit Loss and credit Gain." Quoted in Wilson, "Early American Account Books," p. 3.

43. See account of William Clar [Clare]. Head Acount Book, p. 124 right.

44. On one occasion. Head noted that "The Lafe over [leftover] is [page] no 118." In his haste, Head numbered the next page the same, "118," so this account was actually carried forward to what is here designated "118a." Head Account Book, p. 118 right [Thomas Williams]. Sometimes, Head noted on the subsequent page that the account had been carried over from an earlier one. In one instance, he did so by writing "Brought from page - 97." Head Account Book, p. 118 right [William Shute].

45. While the Head account book's pages are numbered up to 138, there are 231 pages on which entries are written. Until page 40, Head numbered his pages consecutively, one number per page. On page 41, he numbered only the upper right-hand corner of the right page, that number serving to identify the left facing page, as well. For pages 42-45, Head reverted to one number per page. Thereafter, he used the one number per two pages system. Page 118 appears twice, i.e., covers four pages. [Hereafter, references to the second pair of pages 118 will be cited as "118a left and right."] The left hand (debit) side of what would have been numbered page 126 survives, but the right-hand (credit) side and both sides of pages 127 and 128, and the left-hand side of page 129 are missing. The right-hand side of page 129 survives loosely inserted in the book, as do both sides of pages 130 and 131 and the left-hand side of page 132. The right-hand page of page 132 is securely bound in the volume, as are the remaining pages. The last page of the book, which is unnumbered, contains all entries on a single page, in split-column format, with debits to the left and credits to the right.

46. Head Account Book, p. 16.

47. For an explanation of the changeover and how it was effected, see [Benjamin Franklin], Poor Richard Improved (Philadelphia: B. Franklin and D. Hall, 1752); Scharf, History of Philadelphia, 1:246; William H. Harris and Judith S. Levey, eds., The New Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975), p. 422. It is certain that Head utilized the Julian method prior to January 1, 1752, for a couple of reasons. First, the signed, simultaneously dated Bollen entry clearly shows that Head attested to using the 8th month to refer to October. This would be consistent with his usage of the Julian calendar, which recognized the new year as beginning with the vernal equinox in March. If March were the first month of Head's calendar, than October would correspond to his eighth. Second, Head recorded many 31st day entries for numerically-indicated months that would not have that many days under the Georgian calendar. E.g., Head credited Isaac Noris Junor [Isaac Norris, Jr.] for some cloth on 6/31/23; Head charged Peter Stretch, on 6/31/32, for mending a clockcase. Those entries cannot mean June, which has only thirty days. Head's sixth month was August. Head Account Book, pp. 16 [Boolen], 50 right [Noris], 109 left [Stretch]. For further consistency and avoidance of confusion, dating has also been normalized to eliminate Head's use of consecutive years divided by an oblique (or forward slash) to indicate changes in calendar years, as was done for certain Julian dates. Thus a date of 11 mo. 1 1739/40 has been normalized as 11/1/39, and a date of 1 mo. 11 1739/40 has been normalized as 1/11/40.

48. Head Account Book, p. 3. Cf., the "Mop pail and handle" supplied merchant Charles Norris by John Elliott. Leibundguth, "Furniture-making," p. 26, citing Family Accounts, Norris of Fairhill, vol. 1 (1740-1773), p. 20.

49. Head Account Book, p. 46.

50. All were from John Roberds in 1725. Head Account Book, p. 73 right.

51. Perhaps this was the "siler," from which Head delivered his lime. A debit entry, dated 8/21/26, to Thomas Canan (Thomas Cannon), states that: "The Lime above was deliverd out of ye Siler at Sundre Times and ye Siler cleared of it." Head Account Book, p. 65 left. Editorial notes: The thorn, "ye" or "yt," will be understood by the reader to refer to "the" or "that." They will not be replaced by "th," so as to maintain the flavor of the original. Superscript letters will, however, be brought down to the baseline. In instances where the meaning of one of Head's terms or the identity of those named is not immediately apparent, a proposed translation will follow in brackets.

52. The Logan accounts books are at HSP. The exigency of having to have his books open to audit by the Proprietors may have dictated the manner in which Logan maintained them.

53. Head Account Book, pp. 9 and103 left [Steel debit], 11 [Clifton debit], 64 right [Mason], 71 right [Smith credit], 84 right [Hillman credit], 88 right [Bates credit], 93 left [Georg debit], 101 right [Rambo], 102 right [Janiens], 113 left and right [Burel Ground], 117 left [Lee debit], 121 right [Ransted credit]. John Smith, who did a lot of hauling for Head, may have been the wheelwright admitted as a freeman on April 30, 1717. "Minutes of the Common Council," p. 121. Ranstead advertised his intended removal to England in June 28, 1744. Pennsylvania Gazette, June 28, 1744. The reference to haggis may be the earliest American reference to what today is considered almost exclusively a Scottish "delicacy." The Quaker burial ground was "on one side out of town." Kalm, Travels, 1:43. By 1770, town had reached it, as joiner Henry Clifton advertised as "removed into Arch Street, opposite the gate of Friends burying-ground...." Pennsylvania Chronicle, August 13, 1770, cited in Prime, Arts and Crafts p. 163.

54. Richard Holmes, The English Primrose (London: Richard Cotes, 1644). Holmes, a London schoolmaster, accented written words as they were pronounced in Southwark, as an aid to their correct spelling by his pupils. Shakespeare Exhibition, The New Globe Theatre, Bankside, London. Southwark, south of the Thames, was home to the Globe, the Rose and other venues for plays presented by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. But just as The English Primrose does not inform us as to how all Londoners spoke, nor does Head's phonetic spelling give us the speech of all of his Philadelphia contemporaries. I am reminded of the three tailors of Tooley Street, a pettifogging coterie from Southwark that fancied itself representing the entire English populace, who, in addressing their grievances to the Commons, opened with the words: "We, the people of England...." Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, n.d.), p. 885, citing Canning.

55. Head Account Book, passim.