In 2012, the University Libraries acquired a Mason family manuscript account book documenting the business, family, and personal accounts of Stevens Thomson Mason (1760-1803) and his son, Armistead Thomson Mason (1787-1819). Included in the accounting are extensive records for the operation of the family plantation, Raspberry Plain Farm, near Leesburg (Loudoun County), with many entries related to those enslaved by the family. Stevens Thomson Mason was the nephew of George Mason IV.
Following the acquisition of the account book, the Libraries created a digitized copy. This rich resource remained largely untapped until professors George Oberle and Cynthia Kierner, with the assistance of graduate research assistant Anne Dobberteen, co-taught a documentary editing course in Spring 2020 using the Mason family account book. Through this course, students began transcribing entries from the account book and conducting related research. This transcription and research project is ongoing and will lead to a valuable, public online research tool.
The Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Account Book is designed to be a comprehensive, easy to use, hand kept record-keeping system. To allow you to build a customized book that matches your needs, links to individual pages may be accessed by clicking on the Table of Contents tab at left. Pages are designed for legal sized paper (8 1/2" x 14"). If you prefer, you can download the complete account book by sections.
The Cotton Plantation Record and Account Book is a best-selling and pioneering guide to farm accounting in the antebellum cotton-producing regions of the United States. It was first published in 1847 or 1848 by Thomas Affleck (1812-1868), a Scottish immigrant and owner of the Glenblythe Plantation in Gay Hill, Washington County, Texas. The book contains a detailed system, including blank tables to be filled in, that allowed plantation owners to track the efficiency of their production. It also includes essays on various aspects of plantation management, such as the proper care and discipline of slaves.
During my first year's planting, I prepared two books with the pen, almost identical to that now published for the cotton plantation, and gave one to each of my next year's overseers, making it a part of my contract with them, that these books were to be correctly kept and returned to me at the end of the year. And, with a little assistance and encouragement, it was done. And what a satisfaction it was to me! Soon after that, at the suggestion of a New Orleans Publisher, I prepared him a transcript of the plan for publication.
Affleck published new editions every year thereafter until the American Civil War of 1861-1865. After the war, the name of the book was changed to The Farmers' Record and Account Book and the scope widened to include "any system of husbandry, ... the products of any climate, and ... farms of any extent." Affleck's book was a consistent antebellum bestseller in the cotton-producing states of the lower Mississippi River Valley.
Historian Mark M. Smith has noted that "it was precisely on plantations that masters employed the most rigorous, capitalist management techniques," which created a need for specialized ledgers and accounting techniques, Affleck's being "one of the most popular [of these] record book brands." By the end of the 1850s, his Account Book had sold over three thousand copies, contributing to his powerful influence on the direction of the "plantation economy into scientific and systematic channels."
According to historian Robert Williams, Affleck's manual included "a number of other forms which marked an improvement in the system of rural book-keeping. The record forms were essentially consistent with the intent and purpose of modern cost-accounting, and followed the best and most advanced principles of efficient administrative management."
The book contained a detailed system which allowed plantation owners to record and track the accounts of their plantations, including pounds of cotton produced per slave, per acre, per bale of cotton, and the gross and net value of production. Space was also provided for recording births and deaths of slaves, their clothing and tools, and other such assets and debits. Unlike many contemporary systems of agricultural book-keeping, Affleck's book took account of depreciation, the costs of labor, and other "often neglected factors." According to historian Walter Johnson, the book "provided a convenient table by which slaves' annual increase in value could be tracked in the same set of tables as their daily cotton production, and a page at the back where the planter could fill in the value of his slave force, and calculate "interest on the same at ten percent.""
Affleck's book also contained essays and advice on slave management, including, e.g., George Washington's instructions to his own slave overseer and instructions for managing the health of slaves.
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"They tried to erect a Temple of Mara near here, in Umpholo, twenty years ago," Shehs explained, and Scotti nodded, remembering reading about it in the files before they were lost. "They all perished quite dreadfully of swamp rot in the first month, but they left behind some excellent books."
Within five months, the last book had been stolen from the deserted Maran monastery in Umphollo. As the Archeins went bankrupt, their slaves returned to his parents' tiny farms. The backwater Argonians found that they could grow enough to feed their families provided they had enough hard workers in their enclave, and the buyers market for slaves sharply declined.
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This means that Charles Long received three side of leather from Gardiner on Feb. 13, 1800, and added a debt to Gardiner of 2 pounds, three shillings, and six pence to his account. And on Oct. 31, 1799, Long received two and half pounds of butter, and added an additional debt to Gardiner of five shillings to his account.
Reading actual account books can be tricky, since entries are sometime not in chronological order, perhaps because the person doing the accounting wanted to keep all the transactions together and wrote in the margins or carried over transactions from other pages or even other books. 781b155fdc