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Andrew J. Odenwelder Ledger

Identifier: SC MS 0368

Scope and Contents

One ledger bound in marbled paper on board with worn leather spine measuring 31 x 19 cm. 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 calligraphy: Andrew J. Odenwelder February 2th 1846 Alltownship Northampton County Pennsysyvania [i.e] United States of America Arithmetics System By Almon Ticknor.


  • Creation: 1837 - 1848
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1843 - 1847


Access Restrictions

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

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Please inquire about copyright information.

Biographical / Historical

The Odenwelder family was a well-known and well-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] - [possibly Santee because there is a Santee Mill Road in north Bethlehem (Pa.)], Michael Moyer, Aaron Burr [possibly 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.


0.5 Linear Feet ([1] ledger ; 31 x 19 cm.)

Language of Materials



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 by Andrew Jackson Odenwelder of East Allen Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.


Entries are in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

Acquired in 2019. Purchase.

Related Materials

Special Collections has examples of ledgers, some originated from Northampton County. Some examples are: William Kern Ledger SC MS 0352 Thomas Arner Ledger SC MS 0351 Medical Practice Ledger SC MS 0369

Useful References

1845. History of Northampton, Lehigh, Monroe, Carbon, and Schuylkill Counties… Harrisburg. Hickok and Cantine, Printers and Binders.

1920. The History of Northampton County [Pennsylvania] and the Grand Valley of the Lehigh under supervision and revision of William J. Heller, assisted by an advisory board of editors…, American Historical Society, Inc.

List of Names Mentioned

Odenwelder, John Odenwelder J[acob?] Lantee, Reuben Lantee, Valentine Santee, Reuben Santee, Valentine Santee, William Burr [Buss], A[mandas?]. Aron Heller, Henry S. Heller, Peter Mrs. Wells, William Oliver, John Robson, George Woodring, John Wolf, G. S. Patch, Charles Dodson, John Fisher, Charles Knappenberger, Peter Weaver, D. S. Wind, John Diehl, William Kemmer, Jacob Yong/Young, David Wilson, George Jones, Henry Moyer, Mickel Michael Gorge, Jacob Deahl, George Lambert, Aaron Fleayer, A. Hartz, Peter King, Aanock

Eleanor Nothelfer.
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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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