Dale A. Buckmaster, Editor
UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE
Edward M. Carney, et. al., The American Business Manual (New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1914, 3 vols, of 384 pages each. Reprint edition: New York: Arno Press, 1979, $90.00).
Reviewed by Dale L. Flesher and Tonya K. Flesher University of Mississippi
The original aim of this three volume set was "to present the fascinating subject of business—the true romance of modern life—in a manner to add to the enthusiasm and zeal of executives and employees alike." The editor's stated purpose was "to present in compact, readable form all the essential principles of business organization and management, as well as the concrete application to the work of the various departments." Consequently, the volumes contain much more about business in 1914 than most people care to know. Thus, a complete reading of the books would be of interest only to someone desirous of a thorough background on American business during the early Wilsonian period. However, there are several accounting related chapters that might be of interest to accounting historians including the following: Taxation, Account-ing, Producing Costs, Depreciation, The Balance Sheet, and Audit-ing. These chapters are dispersed throughout the three volumes as there is seemingly little organization of the contents.
Some chapters were of less interest than others. For instance, there were only two pages on the federal income tax, but at least a dozen pages on tariffs. This is understandable since the tax rate at that time began at one percent and went as high as six percent on income above $500,000.
The numerous photographs and illustrations of accounting records were quite interesting. According to the caption of one photo, the use of a listing adding machine eliminated all chance for error. Another machine that was mentioned (in the chapter on Labor Saving Devices) was the check-signing machine. This device consisted of ten fountain pens fastened together. Thus, whenever