Archival Collections
Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Robert Hiester Montgomery manuscripts, 1300-1941 

Montgomery, Robert Hiester, 1872-1953. collector
Phys. Desc: 
1175 Volumes (1175 volumes)
Call Number: 
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Scope and Contents

Manuscript account books and documents which illustrate and document the history of accounting and business procedures from the 14th century into the 20th century. The earliest item is Ms. 18, a Papal bull relating to notaries and appointing Julius de Gentilibus as a notary; the latest is an invoice book from 1941. The types of volumes contained in this collection include instruction books, daybooks, waste books, journals, bank books, ledgers, receipt books, storage books, invoice books, registers, ships' logs, letter books, diaries, town books, tax roll books, articles of agreement, bills of sale, deeds, wills, and many other significant items. The material originated in many countries around the globe, and represents a range of business and occupations from household to trading company (e.g., English (East India Company) and French East Indian Company (Compagnie des Indes orientales) volumes), and from itinerant laborer to lawyer and physician. The majority of the manuscripts are English and American of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The earliest American account is Ms. 75, 1690-1730, Josiah Winslow, Plymouth, Mass. Also in the collection are the household accounts of Edward III, King of England, an account of the expenses of Louis XIV of France for maintaining his armies in southern France and northern Italy, 1691-1697, and the accounts of the von Moscha banking family of Pisa, beginning in 1332. There are several multivolume manuscripts, such as Ms. 1, the Belasyse family, 1577-1740 (23 v.); Ms. 239, the accounts of the John H. Howland and Son shipping firm, 1795-1850 (71 v.); and the Heilner coal company, 1874-1941 (Ms. 682, 46 v.). Other accounts include those of John Flaxman (Ms. 301), 1809, in which are detailed his dealings with leading artists and architects, the Villiers manuscript (Ms. 65) which relates to the second Duke of Buckingham, and a number of manuscripts pertaining to the British Exchequer. A majority of the American manuscripts are from New England and New York State and concern general stores, thus giving a significant insight into everyday life in the area and period; other accounts relate to places as far away as Alabama and California. Many of the manuscripts have a bearing on the social and political history of Europe and the Americas. All 747 individual titles in this collection can be browsed by searching "Montgomery Manuscripts" in the author field in CLIO, Columbia's online catalog.