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Call No.: Mss:8995 1869-1919 B877
Repository: Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Creator: Brown, Frederick Lyman
Title: Frederick Lyman Brown records
Quantity: 1 linear feet (2 boxes, 12 volumes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The collection consists of fourteen volumes of household account books and bills kept by Mr. Frederick Lyman (F.L.) Brown, a resident of Charlestown, Massachusetts. The records illustrate the changes in food prices as well as the prices of household goods and services over the fifty-year period from the end of the Civil War to the close of World War I.
Frederick Lyman Brown, a resident of Charlestown, Massachusetts, grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Married to a Charlestown native, the couple moved from West Cedar Street in Boston to Charlestown in 1869. Mr. Brown earned his living from the textile business and invested in numerous houses in the Charlestown area which he used as income property. He died in 1916; Mrs. Brown died in 1933. Their daughter, Elizabeth (Radcliffe '01) lived in her childhood home as late as 1950.
The collection consists of fourteen volumes of household account books and bills kept by Mr. Brown. The records illustrate the changes in food prices as well as the prices of household goods and services over the fifty-year period from the end of the Civil War to the close of World War I. In the first volume both quantities and price are carefully stated, but this practice is not a standard for the later volumes. Although the items purchased are recorded, the vendor is rarely listed. Exceptions include H. I. Nason as well Swallow and Fales Company. In addition to foodstuffs, the account books contain expenses for fuel (coal, kerosene and cord wood), doctor and nursing bills, domestic service, household articles, repairs, snow removal, gardening, water taxes, and pew taxes.Most of the entries are accounts; however, there are often inserts of a more personal nature. These include the birth of a son; jury duty for a murder trial in 1895; tuition payments for a son at Harvard and a daughter at Radcliffe; trouble in collecting rents and mention of vacation trips. Also President McKinley's death was carefully noted.