The World of Credit in Colonial Massachusetts: James Richards and His Day Book, 1692-1711

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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 ...

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