Frederick Lyman Brown
Records, 1869-1919

Mss: 8995

Historical Note:

Frederick Lyman Brown, a resident of Charlestown, Massachusetts, grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Married to a Charlestown native, the couple moved from West Cedar Street in Boston to Charlestown in 1869. Mr. Brown earned his living from the textile business and invested in numerous houses in the Charlestown area which he used as income property. Mr. Brown died in 1916; Mrs. Brown died in 1933. Their daughter, Elizabeth (Radcliffe '01) continued to live in her childhood home as late as 1950.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of fourteen volumes of household account books and bills kept by Mr. F.L. Brown, a resident of Charlestown, Massachusetts. The records illustrate the changes in food prices as well as the prices of household goods and services over the fifty-year period from the end of the Civil War to the close of World War I. In the first volume both quantities and price are carefully stated, but this practice is not general for the later volumes. Although the items purchased are recorded, the vendor is rarely listed. Exceptions include H. I. Nason as well Swallow and Fales Company. In addition to foodstuffs, the account books contain expenses for fuel (coal, kerosene and cord wood), doctor and nursing bills, domestic service, household articles, repairs, snow removal, gardening, water taxes, and pew taxes.

Most of the entries are accounts; however, there are often inserts of a more personal nature. These include the birth of a son; jury duty for a murder trial in 1895; tuition payments for a son at Harvard and a daughter at Radcliffe; trouble in collecting rents and mention of vacation trips. Also President McKinley's death was carefully noted.

Provenance : Gift of Miss Elizabeth L. Brown, 1941

Amount: 14 volumes

Container List:
Household Accounts:
Vol. 1 July 23, 1869 - January 1870
Vol. 2 January 1870 - January 1873
Vol. 3 January 1873 - January 1878
Vol. 4 January 1878 - January 1883
Vol. 5 January 1883 - January 1887
Vol. 6 January 1887 - September 30, 1893
Vol. 7 October 1, 1893 - December 30, 1895
Vol. 8 January 1, 1897 - December 31, 1897
Vol. 9 January 1, 1898 - January 1899
Vol. 10 January 1899 - April 30, 1904
Vol. 11 May 1904 - December 31, 1909
Vol. 12 January 1910 - May 6, 1919
Vol. 13 1857-1895
Vol. 14 1896-1915