Good payroll records are a necessity for any business. One of the fundamental types of record is the time book, with printed forms to record the hours worked by employees on a weekly basis. A. & L. Tirocchi did use these printed time books, probably purchased from an office supply store, but the bookkeeper generally only recorded the wage paid weekly, not the hours worked.

The books have a column for worker’s name, followed by seven columns for days of the week, followed by columns for total time worked, rate of pay, and amount. Usually only the first and last columns would be filled in for a particular week in the Tirocchi shop. Then, the payroll would be totaled at the bottom of the page.

Sometimes, the bookkeeper would make notations about a worker’s absence, such as "out all week" or "out one day." In rare cases, the daily columns would be checked, indicating just which days the employees worked. Sometimes, too, the bookkeeper would record expenses for the week, such as:

Roses, Mrs. Wall $5

Miss Bradford expenses $2

Boy for lawn $5

These time books would yield more information about the work patterns and wages of the workers if the forms had been completed. Hourly wage rates are sometimes recorded for a worker, but often only the weekly wage appears. It is not clear whether or nor the Tirocchi workers were paid overtime wages, but it is known that when a rush was on, the workers put in long hours.

One thing the time books do help establish is the seasonal nature of the shop’s business. The fall and the spring were the busiest times, and the shop was generally closed all or much of the summer. The books also help document busy times through the number of workers employed in a given period, and they helped the curators track who was in the shop at any given time.

The time books generally preceded the more rigorous payroll books and show the size of the workforce and something about the patterns of work–less regular than today. Workers appear to have taken time off as well as to have been laid off for lack of work. Also, the books indicate long-term "career" workers as well as many more short-timers.

Scholars use the time books as one piece of evidence only for analyzing the business of the shop. Only when looking at many of the books can they begin to see patterns emerge about the way workers were employed, promoted, and paid. They used the books as the basis for providing the names of the workers as entered in the project database of workers. Much of what the curators now know about the "girls," supplemented with oral histories and other sources, came initially from analysis of the time books.

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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



Both John Briggs, and Susan Porter Benson used information from the time books in their catalogue essays.