Pennsylvania Shoemaker's Ledger, 1835-51. John M. Ledger. Shoe Industry. Robison.
Pennsylvania Shoemaker's Ledger, 1835-51.
How Business was Conducted in Central Pennsylvania During the Boom Years Propelled by the Movement West

Pennsylvania Shoemaker's Ledger, 1835-51.

Bellefonte, PA: 1835-1851. Item #859

Large 4to.  305 x 200 mm.,  [12 ¼ x 8 inches.  170 pp. Well used manuscript written in ink.  Contemporary calf backed boards; rubbed and a bit worn, spine chipped.


This is a ledger account book belonging to John Robison, a Pennsylvania shoemaker. Like many artisans in Nineteenth century America, Robison found income not only in his trade, but also through other sources. Robison farmed the land he lived on, selling products such as grain, wheat, and potatoes. Robison also ran a general store, providing neighbors with commodities such as butter, flour, wool, salt, and vinegar. Shoemaking, however, proved to be Robison's most lucrative form of income, and there are accounts for heeling. mending, "half soaling" and "soaling."


The exact location of Robison's business is difficult to determine, although two Pennsylvania towns, Bellefonte and Elk Township, are both mentioned in the book. Most of the entries are ledger lines naming a customer, the service provided, or item sold to them, and the amount received. In some cases, the ledger details wages Robison paid to laborers hired to work his fields who provided services such as plowing and mowing hay. It also seems that Robison occasionally let a spare room in his house to boarders, charging two dollars per week.


The most interesting entries do not deal with Robison's business transactions. On one page a "spiritual song" is transcribed. On the facing page is a "cure for the splint," a malady effecting horses. The following page recounts an adventure of Robison in Elk Township in which he assisted a "subscriber" in catching a five year old mare that had escaped his property.


This ledger is a very interesting record of the daily activities of a craftsman in a rural nineteenth century town. It provides a unique look into the means by which such people made their living as well as the workings of rural Pennsylvania markets.


 

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Price: $325.00