Berkshire residents anxious to establish their forebears' credit with the ancient Lee firm of Foote & Rogers can do so at the Berkshire Library now. Librarian Robert G. Newman has just received 11 books containing all the facts as a gift from the Baker Library of the Harvard School of Business Administration. These will be added to the Library's local history collection and can be used by business researchers to show the fluctuation of prices and merchandising and manufacturing methods.

The books, one of them clad in an ancient pillow-slip, contain everything from detailed accounts of business records, to diary notes and family Bible entries.

In accordance with the frugality of the era, the account books were later turned into scrap books and flower pressers. Old accounts can still be seen peeping from such literature of the times as "The Blind Boy," "The Dew Drop," Advertising for a Wife," "The Vailed Lady" and finally, "My First Divorce Case."

The records date from 1789 to 1891 and the following is a sample account of one Fenner Foote: "For half day's work of Sam, for a day's work of my oxen, for a half day work of myself, for half pound of indigo and for my dray a day." Payment was due in the English pound, shilling and pence.

In the book margin of one of the earliest records are the following entries: "Our first son April 2, 1794 — Wednesday 10 of the clock in the morning. Our second baby was born December, the twenty-fifth 1795."

A serious lapse in the record occurs here for we find the entry skips suddenly to "Our sixth babe was born Sunday, December 16, 1804." Then: "Our seventh was born December 16, 1804. One born at 10.25 and the second at 11.05." The final birth record states simply: "Lydia was born Sept. 13, 1807."

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.