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In the Classroom > Course Overview
1. The Account Book

John Partridge Bull's Account Book (1768 - c. 1788)

What is an account book?
Eighteenth century account books reveal much about the times in which they were written: the types of materials and services exchanged, the types of people who engaged in trade -- and those who did not, and the local and regional economical, social, and political currents of the times.

As primary documents, account books are invaluable in constructing an understanding of the past, but it takes some training to unveil the rich content that they can provide. Bull's account book is one of many housed in the collections of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. With access to its pages, we can re-discover daily life and customs in eighteenth century Deerfield.

A "Middling Sort"
John Partridge Bull's account book is additionally significant because it reflects the life of someone of the "middling sort". Many of the records that survive come from the "better sort" -- like physicians, lawyers, and ministers. Bull's account reflects the trade of a craftsman, the type of community member whose records are rarely available for our exploration today for the simple reason that few of their books survive. Bull created new goods and mended old ones. He provided blacksmithing and gunsmithing services to individuals at all levels of Deerfield society, and his records reflect the lifeways of Deerfield's residents.

To begin learning from the Account Book, follow the links below.


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