The Accounts of Benjamin Franklin Through 1747

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"The Accounts of Benjamin Franklin Through 1747" attempts to gather together Franklin's surviving accounts before 1748. Six of Franklin's surviving account books or (in one case) groups of accounts record business transactions before 1748. They all are in the collections of the American Philosophical Society and used with its permission. The three major account books (Ledger A&B, The Shop Book, and Ledger D) record only credit sales. Thus they represent merely a small fraction of Franklin's business. They nevertheless reveal a good bit not only about Franklin's printing business but also about life in Philadelphia from 1729 to 1748. (Bibliographical information about the accounts books is given under "Sources," near the end of Part I: "Introduction: Franklin's Accounts through 1747.") The accounts are arranged chronologically: "Accounts Before 1730;" "Accounts, 1730s;" and "Accounts, 1740 Through 1747." Most of the accounts concern either Franklin's printing or sales in his shop.


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