Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
1 documents - page 1 of 1

William H. Albro Collection of Store Ledgers

Albro, William H., 1823-1883 (store owner)  Search this
2.3 Cubic feet (7 boxes)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Peace Dale (R.I.) -- 1840-1900
Rhode Island -- 1840-1900
1845 - 1895
Ledgers of store accounts of daily transactions with customers, mainly in food and household itemsin Peace Dale, Rhode Island.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of twenty-one ledgers containing store accounts. One of these is labeled Helen Albro's cookbook but contains a number of accounts and only two recipes. The ledgers are primarily a record of daily transactions with customers with purchases identified by type of purchase. The trade was primarily in food and groceries with less frequent purchases of materials, thread, pins, etc.

Eleven of the ledgers are numbered; seven carry William H. Albro's name; two are marked Helen Albro and one John Gould. The others are not identified by name or number but appear to be accounts from the same store located in Peace Dale in an area known as Rocky Brook, Rhode Island, in nineteen of the ledgers purchases are listed by name of purchaser with the date of purchase entered chronologically. Two are entered chronologically with purchasers listed under the date. The first fifty pages of one (unnumbered and unidentified by name) appear to be company accounts for large quantities of such items as barrels of oil, bales of cotton and bags of wool. Individual accounts by customer and item, comparable to those in the other ledgers follow. The ledger with accounts ranging from May 1, 1867 to November 4, 1868 includes an account for William H. Albro for some months in 1868 (p.267).

The ledgers are handwritten, mostly in ink, are legible and in reasonably good condition. Pages have been scissored out of several volumes, however and it is not possible to tell whether they were blank pages or contained store accounts. Several have children's drawings on otherwise unused pages and two have been used to press flowers or leaves. Book No. 17 has newspaper pictures of the Mexican-American War; some newsclippings have been torn out of this ledger. The gap in ledger dates is due to the fact that eight or so were included in a family auction in 1964 held to settle the homestead estate.

The approximate opening and closing dates in the container list and on the folders are purchase dates not dates of payment which in many instances are much later.
The collection is arranged into one series.
Biographical / Historical:
William Henry Albro, a store owner, was born in 1823 and died May 13, 1883 in Peace Dale, Rhode Island at the age of fifty-nine and a half. His parents were Samuel Albro and Anne Smith. He was married three times--in 1844 to Eliza Taylor who died in 1851; in 1852 to Nancy Rose who died in 1869 and in 1877 to Sarah G. Kenyon. One daughter, Mary E., was born to Eliza Taylor and Nancy Rose became the mother of two sons, John and Charles F.

Nancy Rose, the second wife, was the daughter of Samuel Rose on whose land on North Road, Peace Dale, the store was located. She was also the great-grandmother of Elizabeth R. Albro, a retired curator of the National Park Service, who gave the ledgers and from whom what is known about William H. Albro was obtained.

Miss Albro thinks that if her great-grandfather attended school it was not for long and that he may have farmed in addition to operating the store since that was customary at the time. After William H. Albro's death in 1883 the store was operated by her grandfather, John Albro, until he married and left to work his wife's farm. That ended the operation of the store. The building no longer exists. Miss Albro does not know whether her great-grandfather purchased the store or established it but thinks the latter.
Collection donated by Miss Elizabeth R. Albro.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
General stores -- 1840-1900  Search this
Retail trade -- 1840-1900  Search this
Merchants  Search this
Ledgers -- 1840-1900
William H. Albro Collection of Store Ledgers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
William H. Albro Collection of Store Ledgers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Modify Your Search


Narrow By
  • Finding aids
  • Archival materials
  • Collection descriptions
  • Ledgers
  • Archival materials
  • Collection descriptions
  • Ledgers
  • General stores
  • Merchants
  • Retail trade
  • General stores
  • Merchants
  • Retail trade
  • Albro, William H., 1823-1883 (store owner)
  • Peace Dale (R.I.)
  • Rhode Island
  • Peace Dale (R.I.)
  • Rhode Island
Filter results to a specific time period.
  • 1840s
  • 1850s
  • 1860s
  • 1870s
  • 1880s
  • 1890s
  • Archives Center, National Museum of American History