Archivists and researchers in archives are used to reading letters and diaries, but not all of us are quite so conversant with numbers. Yet there is history in numbers as can be seen with ledgers from town businesses that have come to the archives.
We received 4 ledgers for the Bank of Davidson, dating from May 1929 to September 1932 – crucial years in the economic history of the town and college. They have become part of the Piedmont Bank and Trust Company Collection.
In the first ledger, the bank is showing cash on hand of of $13,625.21. The last ledger, dating to September 1932, has only $8,171.03. Researchers can track the ups and downs of local finances, not only through the totals but also in loans and mortgage payments. The ledgers contain names of local families and college staff. This collection is complement by the William Howard Jetton Scrapbooks. The scrapbooks focus on the Bank of Davidson which became Piedmont Bank and Trust in 1949.
Also providing links to town and college families is the Jackson Cleaners ledger which came to the archives last week. This ledger dates from 1955-1956 and lists daily payments.
Familiar names on the page below include Shaw Smith, Jr., then director of the College Union, Philp Gehring, assistant music professor, and Jim Holshouser, student and future North Carolina governor. At least two students appear to be preparing for Homecoming formals by having their cummerbunds pressed (for 15 cents). A previous page shows the cost for a ROTC uniform was 80 cents while a full tuxedo ran to $1.65.
This ledger is now part of the Frank Lee Jackson Collection. Jackson, class of 1906 was the college business manager/treasurer from 1916 to 1951 and also served as town mayor from 1951 to 1969 – as well as managing a cleaning business.
While we don’t have documentation on the amounts spent, both the bank and the cleaners added to student economies by buying advertisements in the yearbooks and newspapers.