A Vigorous Spirit of Enterprise: Merchants and Economic by Thomas M. Doerflinger

By Thomas M. Doerflinger

A social, monetary, and political learn of Philadelphia retailers, this examine offers either the spirit and records of service provider existence. Doerflinger stories the Philadelphia service provider group from 3 views: their advertisement global, their war of words with the Revolution and its aftermath, and their position in diversifying the neighborhood economic system. The research of entrepreneurship dominates the learn and demanding situations long-standing assumptions approximately American monetary history.

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28, 1773, Pollard to John Woolman, Dec. 28, 1772, Pollard Letterbook, 1772—1774, 129, 287, 139; Charles Wharton Daybook, 1768—1772, Wharton Papers, HSP; Robert Henderson Daybook, 1790-1791, Robert Henderson Receipt Book, 1781-1791, Robert Henderson Papers, HSP. 24. Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (New York, 1976), 28. 38 Character of the Merchant Community TABLE i. 1 25 40 50 Source: County Tax Assessment Ledger, 1789, Philadelphia City Archives. Note i. 0% of the merchant population who did not own or rent their own house are not figured into this table.

T. 93, HSP; Turner to David Barclay and Sons, Nov. 9, 1759, Joseph Turner Letterbook, 1753-1774, HSP. 10 Perhaps a more meaningful way to convey the stratification of the merchant community is to analyze the fortunes, incomes, and living styles of the various strata of merchants. At the pinnacle of the mercantile pyramid were the great men of the Delaware whose fortunes were sufficiently large to enable them to emulate, if not quite duplicate, the lives of the lesser gentry of England. They generally lived in the heart of the city in three-story town houses that were graced by high ceilings, elaborate trim in the main parlors and dining room, and a fine garden in the back.

The value of household furniture is based on probate records; the top Z3 of a group of 85 merchants had furniture worth £501 or more, and this figure is confirmed by manuscript evidence. See, for example, Henry Drinker Journal, 1776—1791, z; Wastebook of John Reynell Estate, 1784-1791, i, Coates and Reynell Collection, HSP; Girard Journal, 1788-1790, entries for Dec. , Reel 44. On carriage prices, see Oaks, "Big Wheels," PMHB, XCV (1971), 355, 356. The net worth of merchants is discussed in chap, z, below.

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