, MITCHELL & CO.
S BOOK - 1700
Abstract: The ownership of a copy of Chamberlain's The Accountants Guide or Merchants Bookkeeper, 1686 is traced through six famous owners from 1700 for almost a century. It is now housed in the Boston Athenalum.
Accounting history research for the most part is slow, methodical work and with its fill of frustrations. Once in a while, however, the researcher stumbles over something almost by accident. These oc-casions are Fortune's reward. Recently while thumbing through the index boxes at the Boston Athenaeum I found a card with the follow-ing notation:
"The Accomptants Guide or Merchants Book-keeper" Robert Chamberlain, London, 1686
Such a find in an English library would have been interesting. To find it in Boston was more than that, especially if it could be shown the book was in America close to the publication date. Happily, on closer inspection, the book held all the clues to its early "geneal-ogy" and, as will be set out later, it passed through some fairly prestigious hands in its first hundred years.
Chamberlain's book has an interesting connection with America right in the opening pages. The book is dedicated:
To the Right Honourable And My Honoured Lord Thomas Lord Culpeper Baron of Thoresway, and Governour of his Majesties Colony and Plantation of Virginia
One wonders whether Chamberlain might have visited Virginia since in his introduction "To the Reader" he says,