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 seasons 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 Harpers 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
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>> explore other evidence discovered in
Vendor Invoices and