Mss.B.F85.f6 - Account Books of Benjamin Franklin (1730-1874)


Ledger A and B, 1730-1740
Ledger A and B, 1730-1740
This is the earliest known surviving Franklin account book. It was kept by Franklin and his wife, Deborah, and very few entries are in other hands. Paper was expensive and ruled books were especially dear: therefore, Franklin used the last half of this volume for Ledger B. "Leidger A" (Journal) is the front half of the book and the entries are records of sales, purchases, printing expenses, bills, etc., under the date of the transaction, and then they were posted under the name of the customer in "Leidger B" (Ledger). Beginning with page 169 the Ledger entries follow, recording individual customers' accounts. There is an eight page index which precedes this Ledger and Franklin, by November 1736 had used all of the pages in the back of the book, so he then used the blank pages between the Journal and the Ledger, and numbered the pages from front to back. Franklin noted that he had cancelled all of the accounts by March 5, 1757, that were either "settled or not like to be recovered." Some of these were "Carried to Ledger E."
Ledger D, 1739-1748
Ledger D, 1739-1748
This large (ca. 400 page) volume contains entries for credit sales but few payments, for legal forms, paper, ink, quills, etc., much like Ledgers A and B. Also, it contains records of dealings with many public officials of Philadelphia and the governors of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
Philadelphia [Post Office Ledger, No.2]
Philadelphia [Post Office Ledger, No.2]
The balances due Franklin from unpaid postage in "Leidger No. 1" are entered here and many people owed Franklin money. Some of the accounts are marked "Paid" and some have a line drawn through them, possibly indicating "Paid." Such outstanding entries due Franklin were entered in "Ledger E." This Post Office Ledger, No. 2, is a large ledger of ca. 325 pages.
Post Office Accounts, May 18, 1748
Post Office Accounts, May 18, 1748
"Post Office Accounts" May 18, 1748, is the continuation of the above ledger [Philadelphia Post Office Record Book No. 3, B F85f6.11c]. It contains 68 unnumbered pages. Per the Franklin Papers (vol. II, p. 180-181), "the amounts owed by each [name-entry] correspond[s] to the subtotals entered in May 1748 in the ledger described above as No. 2 [B F85f6.11b, Philadelphia Post Office Ledger, No.2]."
Post Office Book, 1748-1752
Post Office Book, 1748-1752
This volume of 372 pages records receipt and dispatch of all mail in the Philadelphia Post Office between May 25, 1748 and July 23, 1752. Deliveries into the Post Office from out of town were listed, letter by letter, by the names of the addressees, weight and amount due, paid or free. Outgoing mail was simply listed by number of sheets and weight, not by individual letters.
Post Office Leidger No. 1, 1737-1742
Post Office Leidger No. 1, 1737-1742
This volume of less than 100 pages is an index of names under their initial letter and dated entries following each name showing charges and payments received. The unpaid accounts were "Carry'd to New Ledger." - Ledger No. 2., Call number: B F85f6.11a
Post office book (list of names), ca. 1741
Post office book (list of names), ca. 1741
"List of Letters in the Post Office," lists unclaimed letters which were, most probably, the dead letters found in any post office. This volume is ca. 50 pages. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, volume II, 181. Circa 1741.
Post office book, letters received, 1767-1768
Post office book, letters received, 1767-1768
These printed forms were filled in in manuscript and list the letters received from other colonial post offices or from ships in the Philadelphia Post Office by Postmaster Thomas Foxcroft.
Post office book, letters sent, 1764-1767
Post office book, letters sent, 1764-1767
This is not, strictly speaking, a volume of accounts. It consists of a series of loose printed sheets, filled in in manuscript, under the headings of: Date of the Bills sent; To what Office the Letters were sent; Number of unpaid Letters, Single, Double, Treble, Pacquet, Sums unpaid, Dwt., Gr.; Number of paid Letters [broken down as the unpaid letters above]; Free Letters, Single, Double, Treble, Pacquet., Call no: B F85f6.31 See Labaree, ed. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, vol. 11 (1967): pp. 398–402.
Receipt Book, 1742-1764
Receipt Book, 1742-1764
This is a typical receipt book for payments made to various persons for generally unnamed services or materials. Either Franklin, his wife, or the person receiving payment, wrote that he had received so much money on a given date, and signed the entry. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, volume II, 351-352. The last eight pages contain a record of Franklin's income from his business partner, David Hall. Included in the entries is income of money and occasionally the value of books received in lieu of money.