Gary John Previts, President THE ACADEMY OF ACCOUNTING HISTORIANS
IT'S ABOUT TIME . . . PATHWAYS TO A NEW VISTA OF ACCOUNTANCY'S PAST
In the last decade economic historians have been stirred to what has been called a "New Economic History" which uses quantitative tools along with the standard qualitative judgmental implements found in the historian's toolbox. While accounting history, as ado-lescent as it is, does not presume to need a "quantified" overhaul, nonetheless it would seem that some attention would be warranted with regard to the use of these methods in analyzing blocks of accounting artifacts not yet added to the main stream of historical knowledge. For example, a recent paper presented at the history session in New Orleans referred to available annual accounting statements (internal and external of large publicly held firms). Archi-val data of this same corporate era is known to be available both on the continent and in the far east as well. Much of this informa-tion and the classificatory scheme it follows affords a continuous type of evidence which could be used to develop series of "micro-accounting" cases which could lend themselves to quantitative analysis and inference with regard to the accounting policy and trends within. These new inferences would assist accounting his-torians who are seeking to explain portions of the evolution of vari-ous disclosure techniques and the relationship between such tech-niques and their environment—political, education and economic.
A call for innovative usages of quantification is by no means the limit to what historical pathways might be cleared. Indeed the ac-counting history of the 19th century, at least in this country, is a vast and relatively unmapped territory which has been crossed only by a few hearty prospectors—and they have found the era rich with a lore of important accomplishment. In another section of this issue Professor Stone recalls the "Who Was Who in American Accounting in 1909?" It would be much more difficult to identify the "Who's Who" of 1825 or 1850 or 1875. Yet there were skillful and articulate practitioners of accountancy then just as now. The names of Thomas Jones of New York, Ira Mayhew of Boston, E. G. Folsom of Albany, S. W. Crittenden of Philadelphia and George Soulé of