Mathew Carey Papers, 1785-1859

As of July 2021, the Mathew Carey Papers, 1785-1859, database is unavailable.
A system upgrade is in process.

In the meantime, a spreadsheet containing the data is available to download here.

The spreadsheet includes the names of the people, firms, and ships mentioned in the account books, along with links to the scans of the financial records.

Search the Database

The quickest and easiest way to search these archives is through this database of the 6,148 names in the 16,000 scans of the financial records. Person name searches should be entered last name first followed by the first name, if known (e.g., Thomas, Isaiah). Please see "Using the Database" below for more search tips.

Using the Database

We constructed this database from the name index written by an assiduous library assistant here in the late 1920s. For the most part, this index refers to a particular item (or account) number where that name appears and the volume in which it appears. After keying that information into a spreadsheet, our current assiduous library assistants have matched it to the box and folder number where it will appear and added the corresponding URL. A search for a name in the database results in a group of images one of which contains the searched for name. Many names have a number of references, and so a number of URLs are associated with them. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. The URL is to our digital image archive, specifically to the box and folder in which the account number appears. The specific account number where the name is found appears at the beginning of your search results. Flip virtually through the pages to find a specific account number. Please note that a single page usually has multiple item (or account) numbers on it (to learn more about the paper in the records, please see our blog post on the digitization of this collection).
  2. We recommend searching by last name. We have not yet checked these names against Library of Congress Name Authorities (many of which would not be there), but instead have transcribed the names that we found on the index, which were transcribed from the financial records themselves. A few other tips for searching:
    • Searches are not case sensitive.
    • Most of the names are for people, but firms and ships are also included. When a name refers to a firm, "Co." may appear at the end of the entry. If "Co." was included in the original index, then we have retained it in our data. When a name refers to a ship, it usually will have "(Ship)" or "(Schooner)" or (Brig.)" after the name.
    • We did not include articles such as "the" before any entries.
    • We did not include any punctuation marks at the beginning of an entry.
    • We have eliminated the use of titles, such as "Rev." or "Cpt.", in names. We have however retained "Mrs" and Miss" when they were included in the original index because often this is the only way to identify the person as female.
    • We have eliminated first name abbreviations when we could be certain of the spelling of the name. For example, we changed "Wm." to "William" but we did not change "Nath." because we could not be sure if the name should be "Nathaniel" or "Nathan."
    • We have only replaced a first initial with a full first name when we can be almost certain what the initial stands for. For example, we changed "Thomas, I." to "Thomas, Isaiah" but we did not change "Hearn, J." because the "J" could stand for a number of names.
    • When we could not decipher the correct spelling of a name, we included both with one following the other in parentheses. For example, "Wheeler (Wheelen), Israel" because we could not be certain whether the final letter in the name is an "r" or an "n."
    • We have allowed for wild card searches, so put in as many letters of a last name as you know, and the results for all names with those letters will appear. You can use a question mark as a wildcard for any number of characters. For example, searching for Ash? will retrieve Ash, Ashmead, and Ashmore.
  3. We have included the spreadsheets for the complete list of names, so please feel free to download the xlsm file to browse the names included. Please also feel free to use that data for independent projects. We would love to know how it is used, so please contact our director of book history and digital initiatives with such news.
  4. If you have questions about the contents of the collection or locating a particular item, contact the Curator of Manuscripts.
  5. Most of the collection was disbound before it was digitized. This is not the case with folio volumes 35-37, which have their own indexes at the start of each folio. These indexes have been included in the database, but at times, account numbers are lost in the gutters of these volumes. When this is the case, we have included the numbers we can decipher, and used a "?" to mark the numbers we cannot.
  6. A "?" also appears in an index number when a number on an index card is unreadable because a hole has been punched in the bottom of the card.


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