Monday, September 17, 2012

Exhibit: “Mind Your Business” at the JCB


"Mind Your Business: Records of Early American Commerce at the John Carter Library" has just launched; the physical exhibit will run from September through December 2012, and there is also a rich accompanying website. As the Introduction explains:

This exhibition explores what it took to “mind” one’s business in the 18th and early 19th centuries. During that period, literacy and numeracy became critical skills for merchants and traders, and sophisticated methods of recording and analyzing transactions and investments enabled companies to more efficiently strategize their use of capital. Beyond being a boon to historical research, these accumulations of paper generated by clerks, bookkeepers and accountants did, indeed, make money.
The exhibit was prepared by Kim Nusco, Reference and Manuscript Librarian, John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. The Web version contains well-illustrated and narrated sections on "Forming the Man of Business," "Double-Entry Bookkeeping," "Tools of Trade: Money and Banking," "Accounts of the Sea," and "Masters of Industry and Investment," as well as a brief companion section on "Beyond Business Archives: Conquistadors and Ecclesiastical Accounting," which focuses on another of the JCB's collection strengths.