The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 10, No. 1 Spring 1983
James W. Jones, CPA BALTIMORE, MARYLAND
A DESCRIPTION OF A BALTIMORE MERCHANT'S JOURNAL
Abstract: The paper briefly describes the entries recorded in the journal of a Baltimore merchant during the latter 18th and early 19th centuries—twenty-seven years. Topics covered include entries in dual currency, composition of journal entries, method of posting, handling of contra accounts, and unusual transactions. An analysis of these journal entries provides insight into the rules of book-keeping and the economic and domestic lives of the citizens during this period in time.
This paper describes the entries recorded in the journal of a Baltimore merchant.1 The first entry, dated October 12, 1795, deb-ited the Cash Account for $363.35 (£ 136.5.2)2 and credited the Account Estate of J. Stansberry. The final entry is dated July 1, 1822, nearly twenty-seven years later. The period included the years of the War of 1812 (in which the citizens of Baltimore, Maryland distinguished themselves), the event which gave birth to the present national anthem by Francis Scott Key. However, there are no allu-sions in the entries of the journal reflecting this event.
Construction of the Journal
Physically, the journal was leather bound, 13 x 8 inches plus binding, and 1¼ inches thick. As shown by a label in the back cover, the journal was
MADE AND SOLD, by
JOSEPH TOWNSEND, opposite the Centre Market-House, BALTIMORE: Who carries on the Book-Binding Business, in its Several Branches, in a neat and expeditious Manner.3
Note: While the words book-keeper and book-keeping might also be spelled as one word, the author has used the hyphenated spellings of these words to main-tain harmony with the historical nature of this paper. The same view applies to capitalized nouns and other spellings.