The daybooks were the most immediate type of ledger used in the Tirocchi shop. They literally recorded all the transactions of the shop day-by-day. For a certain date, someone would enter a customer’s name and what she ordered or which services she requested on that date. Sometimes there is a subsequent notation in red, "Sent Home," when the garment had been delivered and was no longer pending.

Periodically–perhaps at the end of each season–the information was transferred from the daybooks to the customer ledgers. The books differ from year to year, but often when a section was transferred–such as Mrs. Peck’s orders from a certain date–the entries would be crossed out in the daybook and the word "Entered" would be written above or below the section.

Sometimes the handwriting is very neat in the daybooks, and sometimes it is just a scrawl, as if being done quickly while the customer was actually in the shop. The curators have not yet determined whether or not the neater entries were subsequent recordings of information made on scraps of paper (some of which were also found), or if they were made at the time by the bookkeeper, who would have been more removed from the actual dealings with the client, and thus unhurried.

The daybooks also record returns to vendors. In the very early years of the shop, records did not seem to be so specialized. One large ledger from the 1910s seems to be a daybook, a customer ledger, an inventory list, and a vendor ledger all in one. As the shop grew and the business became more sophisticated, the custom of daybooks and permanent ledgers came into being.

The curators can glean all sorts of information from the daybooks. They can see the actual flow of the business to determine which months of the year were the busiest. Indeed, they can see which weeks and which days of those weeks were the busiest. They may surmise that certain ladies came together to the shop. They can also see the pattern of visits made by the clients and analyze their buying habits. Because vendor returns are included, the curators can see how Madame Tirocchi managed her inventory, and can sometimes even track the returns to requests from clients.

Records that were fleeting for the Tirocchi sisters have become valuable research material for curators and scholars studying fashion history, the history of consumption (buying patterns), women’s history, and business history. Since the information recorded in the daybooks was periodically transferred to more permanent ledgers, the Tirocchi sisters or their bookkeeper could easily have tossed these smaller volumes once they were no longer needed. The curators are very glad they did not.

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   Sources and Methods
   The People
   The Business
      Address Books
      Shop Announcements
      Bills   |   Day Books
      Employee Address Book
      Inventory   |   Ledgers
      Letters   |   Payroll
      Time Books
      Travel Records
      Vendor Account Books
      Vendor Invoices
      Vendor Letters
      Vendor Promotions
   Custom Dressmaking



Browse the Transactions Database for access to the information found in the ledgers.