Mrs. Browning ran a notions shop in Hardwick, Massachusetts, between 1859 and 1865. She was a widow raising two children, Nellie and Frank. After 1865, she remarried and became Mrs. Knight. The collection is comprised of one volume of accounts, listing the items sold at her store and the prices paid for them. Her store carried paper, envelopes, pencils, gloves, handkerchiefs, hose, bonnets, scarves, shoes, boots, belts, parasols, dress patterns, hoopskirts, elastic, ribbons, fringe, feathers, lace, braid, collars, whalebone, silk, velvet, and other types of cloth. She also repaired and trimmed bonnets.
At the end of the volume she listed her expenses, both for the store and for her household. Her purchases included goods from suppliers, groceries, and books for her children.