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Collection Title: Hinckley Sisters' Cash Book

Collection Number: M177

Dates: March 1875-1880; 1911-1914

Volume: .25 cu.ft.

Provenance: Unknown

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

S. Helen Hinckley, Mary E. Hinckley, and Caroline Hinckley Stanton, daughters of G. Hinckley, who died before 1875, were from Hincklely, Herkimer County, New York. The county was created in 1791 and is part of the lake district in New York. The Hinckley sisters jointly ran the Hinckley Mercantile Company, and operated several farms and rental cottaages, located in the Herkimer County villages of Russia Corners and Gravesville. Caroline H. Stanton, who died on November 25, 1912, was married to William H. Stanton.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of a financial journal of three sisters (S. Helen Hinckley, Mary E. Hinckley, and Caroline Hinckley Stanton) who jointly owned several farms (including a dairy) and two or more rental cottages near the village of Hinckley in Herkimer County, New York , as well as land in Iowa and in St. Paul, Minnesota. The collection also contains some miscellaneous receipts (most indicate the page number of the journal), a very few letters (pertaining to farm or financial matters), and a small number of newspaper clippings (primarily classified advertisements which they had placed in local newspapers).

The journal begins with September 1875, and continues to mid-January 1880. After a twenty-one year lapse, entries begin again in May 1911, and close in mid-September 1914. In the first section the entries are neat, well-organized, and written in a beautiful handwriting (often known as copperplate). The credits are listed on the even-numbered pages, the debits on the odd-numbered. The entries are clear, though not always concise. Quite probably this section of the journal was being kept by Caroline H. Stanton.

In the second section the entries are neither neat and well-organized nor in a beautiful handwriting. The entries are clearly being written by a different person (most likely S. Helen Hinckley, who was apparently the one actually running the farms). The entries are now being recorded in straight chronological order with credits and debits all on the same page.

Occasionally in the second section, a third person's handwriting (apparently Mary E. Hinckley's) is intermixed with the second person's. Then beginning in mid-July 1914, most of the final entries are in the third person's handwriting.

More than just a ledger book,, this journal often provides commentary and explanations (sometimes lengthy explanations) of the financial transactions recorded. Moreover, it occasionally includes entries ("Memos") which would be characteristic of a personal or business diary.

As an example of a family farm being run by and for women in the late Victorian era, this ledger book could provide the researcher interested in women's studies with much valuable information. Other researchers interested in this time period, in the lake district of New York state, or in agriculture, particularly in how the tenant farm system functioned in this time and place, could find something of value in this collection.

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