The bookkeeper at A. & L. Tirocchi kept payroll records in small ledgers purchased expressly for this purpose. These journals contained printed forms to record all the information required by state and federal tax authorities. One journal was titled Combined Wage-Hour and Social Security Pay-Roll Record Book, and stated on its cover that "This record allows for all required information under the Wage Hour Act. Also all necessary detail for Pay Roll Tax use. Records must be preserved for four years." The Wage Hour Act was enacted in 1938, late in the shop’s history, so not all of this information was kept in earlier years, unfortunately.

The necessary information to be collected for each employee in this late payroll book was the following:

- Full name and home address of employee
- Date of birth if under 19 years of age
- Regular hours worked each day
- Overtime hours worked each day
- Total regular hours worked each week
- Total overtime hours worked each week
- Rate of pay on which settlement is made
- A record of regular time pay
- A record of overtime pay
- A record of total pay
- A record of deductions made

Inside the payroll journal, records were generally kept by employee, with a double page for each. The worker’s name, social security number (after 1935 when the system was instituted), and telephone number headed each page. The rate of pay was recorded also–generally by the hour, but sometimes by the day

Curators and scholars have looked at payroll records from all periods to determine how much the workers were actually paid, and to analyze their periods of employment. Since the custom dressmaking business was seasonal, some employees worked only a few months of the year, or only part-time.

Even though all of the workers were called "girls," some literally were, and these books help sort them out, as do other records. Among the Tirocchi business papers, there are Age and Employment Certificates from the State of Rhode Island, certifying that a worker is at least 14 years old. These official documents have been signed by the Agent of the School Committee (or stamped with his name), and contain the name of child, signature of child, and physical description of child so that there would be no mistaking the individual. There is also in the files a letter "To whom it may concern," stating "It is impossible for any child to receive an Employment Certificate until they are fourteen years old," signed by James R. Cannon, Truant Office of the Department of Public Schools, City of Providence.

The remaining records are not as complete as the curators would like, so there are still many unanswered questions about the workers. The payroll journals help, but do not tell the whole story.

[ printable version ]


   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



Susan Porter Benson extensively analyzed the payroll records for her catalog essay, "Clients and Craftswomen: The Pursuit of Elegance."