The Tirocchi sisters did business with a variety of suppliers and manufacturers over the years, and they kept good records of their many transactions with all the vendors. Two basic ledgers recorded these transactions: the vendor account book and the merchandise bill book. Vendor account books are quite detailed until 1932, but only minimal journal entries are posted after that date and the volumes were labeled "Merchandise Bill Book." The ledgers usually cover one or two years. Some are large, leather-bound volumes, but quite a few are slim paper-bound books. A table of contents in the front of each volume lists the vendors and the ledger pages devoted to their transactions.

The vendor account book recorded merchandise received and returned by company. Generally, there is a page for each vendor, with company name and address at the top of the page. Sometimes the listing is topped with "Last season’s bal." and a figure carrying forward the balance owed to (or credit due from) this particular vendor. Then, in column form, the following information is recorded: date, order number, brief description of the item, cost, to whom sold, and when returned (if it was returned). A typical entry was:

Ruth Belmont, Inc.

42 West 33rd St, NY City


May 14 2837 Lavender Negligee $35.50 Mrs. Luther

This item evidently was not returned. Most were not, but records were needed to show which ones were.

The merchandise bill books were also organized by vendor and contain dated listings with a brief description of all merchandise ordered, along with the price paid. The bookkeeper made notations in the ledger when vendor bills were paid or when items were returned. The entries are made in ink, but often there is figuring done in pencil next to the entries. Household bills are recorded in these ledgers, too, such as an entry for The Providence Journal.

The curators examine these two types of ledgers to learn more about the business relationships maintained by the Tirocchis with their vendors. The ledger for 1919-22 lists 74 vendors, including entries as diverse as the fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar; the suppliers H. Angelo, B. Altman, and Callender McAuslan & Troup Co.; the Eastern Coal Co.; and R. L. Greene Paper Company. The ledgers can also be used to verify information in the customer ledgers, inventory lists, and daybooks.

In addition, the curators have used the ledgers to identify merchandise. For example, they found a pair of bell-bottomed pants with a white sleeveless top in the shop. The ledger entry told them that the suit was designed by Edward Molyneux; that it was purchased from the Russell Company, New York importers; that it cost $20 at wholesale; and that it was made in 1932. When used in conjunction with client ledgers, vendor ledger entries like this one can help the curators determine how the Tirocchis priced merchandise and what their profit margin was.

[ 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



The catalogue essay "American Fashion: The Tirocchi Sisters in Context" details the shop's relationship with many of the vendors Anna dealt with.