In the beginning, the Tirocchi sisters used one large ledger to
record all aspects of their businesscustomer orders, orders
placed with vendors, inventory lists, etc. As their business grew,
or perhaps when a bookkeeper appeared on the scene, the sisters
began keeping more specialized records.
Inventory books contained listings of their stock of fabrics, trims,
notions (buttons, etc.), and findings (snaps, zippers, etc.). Some
of the books contain very minimal information, such as a stock number
and the price of the stock. Evidently as textiles came into the
shop, they were tagged with a number and this number was recorded
in the inventory book. These records are very difficult for the
curators to interpret except in the rare cases in which remaining
stock is still tagged with a stock number.
Sometimes the inventory lists are more complete, giving the quantity
on hand, a brief description, the cost of the item, and the extended
price (quantity x cost). These records, needless to say, are more
useful in interpreting just what kind of inventory the shop kept
and how it changed through the years.
There are also loose inventory lists that are more specific, such
1 Angelo [Harry Angelo Co.] White Georgette, 3-piece. $89.50
Another loose page is devoted solely to hats in the inventory.
Yet another lists "Things smoked up" in a fire that occurred
in the house. This last listing would have been important
for insurance purposes as well as for inventory control.
Most of the inventories are undated. Cross-checking with vendor
records helped place them in the chronology of the shop. The curators
are interested in analyzing the inventory sheets to discover what
type of stock the shop had at different periods in its history.
They can use the inventory records to verify copies of orders in
the file, and vice versa. This cross-checking is part of what researchers
do to verify their understanding of a certain situation or their
theories about it.
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