Paperback / softback
November 2, 2017
10.00 Inches (US)
7.00 Inches (US)
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v2.1 Reference

The World of Credit in Colonial Massachusetts

James Richards and His Daybook, 1692-1711

Occasionally scholars discover lost primary sources that change our understanding of a place or period. James Richards's day book is such a find. This 325-year-old ledger had been passed down through generations of a New England family and was stored in a pillowcase in a dusty attic when it was handed to the historian James E. Wadsworth.

For years, James Richards, a prosperous and typical colonial farmer, tracked nearly five thousand transactions, involving more than six hundred individuals and stretching from Charlestown to Barnstable. Richards and his neighbors were bound together in a heterogeneous economy, reliant on networks of credit, barter, and sometimes cash. Richards practiced mixed husbandry farming, shipped goods by cart and by sloop, and produced and sold malt, salt, wool, and timber. The day book also reveals significant social details of Richards and his household, including his diverse trading partners, his extensive family connections, an Indian slave girl, and a well-dressed female servant. Available in both print and electronic editions, fully transcribed, annotated, and introduced by the editor, this record of economic life reinforces and challenges our understanding of colonial America.

About the Author

James E. Wadsworth is a Latin American historian, author of two books on the colonial Inquisition, and most recently editor of Columbus and His First Voyage: A History in Documents.


"This valuable annotated transcription of a Weymouth farmer's trade with family, neighbors, and regional and cosmopolitan contacts provides rich raw material for analysis and offers the potential for insights into midcolonial familial, economic, and social relations, farm and household production and consumption, material culture, and strategies for family and community sustenance and betterment."—Mary Babson Fuhrer, author of Crisis of Community: The Trials and Transformation of a New England Town, 1815–1848, winner of the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize

9781625342874 : the-world-of-credit-in-colonial-massachusetts-wadsworth
Paperback / softback
368 Pages
$44.95 USD

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