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Andrew J. Odenwelder Ledger

Identifier: SC MS 0368
The ledger contains approximately 113 pages - 60 totally blank, 46 with penmanship and arithmetic exercises and 7 with general store accounts. The title page of the ledger is written in beautiful calligraphy: Andrew J. Odenwelder February 2th 1846 Alltownship Northampton County Pennsysyvania[i.e] United States of America Arithmetics System By Almon Ticknor -- Nov - Witch way A Oden. There are several samples of different handwriting.


  • 1837 - 1848


Access Restrictions

Access Restrictions: Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.
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0.5 Linear Feet (1 ledger, 31 cm)


A nineteenth century ledger contains example of calligraphy and extensive examples of arithmetic calculations in preparation for various trades such as carpentry, mercantile, roofing and masonry.

Biographical / Historical

The Odenwelder family was a well-known and -established farming family in Northampton County going back into the Eighteenth Century. With the evidence of the ledger, apparently they had intent to start a general store in East Allen Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania in the early Nineteenth century and Andrew Jackson Odenwelder was being educated to take over a family business not totally devoted to farming as evidenced by the mathematical entries and fine penmanship exercises displayed in this ledger. However, there are several examples of handwriting not a single hand throughout. The ledger entries are based on examples provided in ciphering books prepared as a part of the basic mathematical training of relatively well-off 19th century American students. Most such examples contain examples as those in this ledger of the Single Rule of Three, Vulgar Fractions, Compound Proportions, the Double Rule, Simple and Compound Interest, etc. In addition to providing mathematical basics, boys venturing into some trades or businesses needed advanced or specialized training in mathematics. In the case of this ledger, it appears as if Andrew or his parents may have been preparing him for future work in construction as his ciphering book contains additional tasks titled: Paving and Plastering, Shingle on Roof Measure, Circle Measure Round Timber, and to measure Stone in a Wall. The ledger entries identify a number of local clients: George Robson, Reuben Lantee [Reuben Santee] - [chose spelling of Santee because there is a Santee Mill Road in north Bethlehem still existing in 2019], Michael Moyer, Aaron Burr [more likely Buss a popular surname in Lehigh Valley], John Oliver, Valentine Lantee [Valentine Santee], Charles Patch, John Dodson, William Wells, and John Woodring. The last page entry reads: “Our days COALS John Odenwelder for John Woodring - hold Coals. May 17 hold -- 2 tons ½ bales.” John Odenwelder was a prominent and relatively wealthy man in Northampton County being involved with the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company and as a land owner of farms on Lehigh Mountain and possibly is the father of Andrew Jackson Odenwelder by evidence of the fine education Andrew Jackson Odenwelder demonstrated in the exercises in the ledger. The instruction plan seems to be based on the American educator, Almon Ticknor’s The Youth’s Columbian Calculator in which the system was designed as being adapted to the currency and practical business of the American Republic as it used decimal dollars and cents in its problem solving instead of British pounds or Spanish currency both of which were still accepted as currency in the United States at that time. In the 1846 edition of the Ticknor book it was noted to be better adapted to the wants of the people in the United States than any other work on Arithmetic.


Arrangement in the ledger is basically chronological.

Acquisition Information

Material was acquired in 2019 by purchase.

Related Materials

Special Collections has examples of Northampton County ledger books such William Kern SC MS 0352 and Thomas Arner SC MS 0351, also the Ledger for Cumberland County Medical Practice.
Eleanor Nothelfer.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Lehigh University Library and Technology Services.

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
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