Alltownship, Northampton County, Pennsylvania: 1846. Notebook. This notebook measures 7.5” x 12” and contains approximately 200 pages; about 90 are used for cyphering exercise, 100 are blank, and ten have older ledger entries, from Odenwelder’s grandfather’s general store. It has marbled boards with a leather spine. The binding is generally sound; the front hinge is just starting to split. A calligraphic note by Andrew at the beginning of his ciphering entries reads, “Andrew J. Odenwelder February 2th 1846 / Alltownship Northampton County / Pennsylvania United States of / America – Arithmetics / System By Almon Ticknor . . .”. Very good. Item #009224
Ciphering books were prepared as part the basic mathematical training of relatively well-off 19th century American students. Most, like this one, contain examples 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. For more information about Ciphering Books, see Ashley K. Doer's master's thesis: “Cipher Books in the Southern Historical Collection.” University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill, 2006.In this case, it would appear that Andrew, or his parents, may have been preparing for future work in construction for 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.Almon Ticknor was an American educator who produced the text upon which this cipher book was based, The Youth’s Columbian Calculator. . . . Ticknor’s system was billed as being “adapted to the currency and practical business of the American Republic” and, in fact used decimal dollars and cents in its problem instead of British pounds sterling or Spanish reales, both of which were still accepted as currency in the United States. In the 1846 edition, a number of reviewers comment upon it “being better adapted . . . to the wants of the people of the United States than any other work on Arithmetic.”The ledger entries, from 1843, identify a number of locals (George Robson. Jeffery Stingtone, Rueben Lantee, Michael Moyer, Aaron Burr, John Oliver, Valentine Lantee, Charles Patch, John Dodson, William Wells, Henry , Dr. George Wilson) and their purchases (Plates, teapot, sherry, muslin, spoons, good cloth, sugar, pocket knife, book, quills, corn, molasses, tobacco, suspenders, nails, coffee, cheese, gin, brandy, whiskey, calico, beef, lemon syrup, wine, boots, etc.).