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Mss:1 1799-1838 L415

Law, John, 1743-1811. John Law Business Records, 1799-1838: A Finding Aid

Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University


Harvard Business School, Boston MA 02163.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: Mss:1 1799-1838 L415
Repository: Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Creator: John Law, 1743-1811
Title: John Law business records
Date(s): 1799-1838
Quantity: 5 linear feet (17 volumes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The John Law records consist of ledgers, daybooks, notebooks, receipt books, and cash books that document the business activities of John Law Sr. and his son, John Law Jr.


Purchase, 2012.

Processing Information:

Processed: April 2012
By: Samuel Bauer

Conditions Governing Access:

Some material may be stored offsite. Please contact histcollref@hbs.edu for more information.

Preferred Citation:

Cite as: John Law Business Records. Baker Library Historical Collections. Harvard Business School.

Biographical Note:

Born in 1743, John Law Sr. emigrated from Belfast, Ireland to Albany, New York in 1773. He purchased land south of Salem, NY and established himself as a miller and land speculator. He also sold household goods, farm equipment, and made loans to local farmers. He died in Salem at the age of 68 on June 9, 1811. His third son, John Law Jr. was born in Albany in 1773 and attended the Salem Academy. His first business experience was in Camden Valley after which he became cashier of the Sterling Iron-works of New Jersey. He later became a grocer in New York where he married Elizabeth Law, his first cousin, in 1798. With the outbreak of yellow fever in 1799 the newlywed couple left New York and returned to Salem where they opened a store. During this time John Law Jr. engaged in land speculation and financing new settlers to the area. He was also a partner in the dry goods business Law & Todd. The other partner in the business was likely James L. Todd whose name appears several times in the Law & Todd cashbook. After 17 years in business John Law Jr. closed his store and purchased a farm in the Camden Valley. He died on June 15, 1836 in Brockport, NY.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists of ledgers, day books, receipt books, a cashbook, and a notebook, all relating to the business dealings of John Law Sr., John Law Jr., and the dry goods business, Law & Todd Company in which John Law Jr. was a partner. The John Law Sr. ledgers and daybooks detail loans made and payments received by John Law Sr., as well as debits, credits, and farm expenses. Much of vol. 2 (ledger, 1809-1815) and all of vol. 8 (daybook/notebook, 1811-1834) seem to be written in a different hand from the earlier daybooks and ledgers. They were likely written by John Law Jr. after his father's death in 1811.The Law & Todd business records detail the financial and shipping transactions of the Law & Todd dry-goods business including textile sales, records of business expenses, shipping receipts and bank transactions.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Merchants--New York (State).
Textile industry.
Agriculture--New York (State).
Account books.
New York (State)--Commerce
Law, John, 1743-1811.
Law Jr., John, 1773-1836.
Law & Todd.