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Finding Aid

Publication Date



This collection primarily consists of materials related to running the business Dickinson & Shrewsbury, a multi-faceted affair that included a general store as well as agriculture, shipping, and salt manufacturing aspects principally run by Joel Shrewsbury, Sr. and William Dickinson, Sr. Collection items are primarily financial and related to business transactions and include day books, ledgers, journals, balance books, and various other book formats related to maintaining the business that do not fit neatly into those categories.

Day books, ledgers, journals, and balance books contain listings of customers, transactions, and financial exchanges to include maintaining credits and debts. Notable trade items, in addition to general goods such as textiles and household goods, as well as enslaved people, tobacco, and lumber. These books date from sporadic periods, with the majority from 1803-1812, and representation for the time periods 1826-1832, 1851-1865, and 1878-1879. Materials after the 1856 dissolution of Dickinson & Shrewsbury relate to family business ventures by Dickinson family members related to salt, shipping, and agriculture by companies such as Cook and Dickinson Co. and other unknown names. Additionally, there is also one ledger and one journal of Armstrong Lumber.

Other formats are significantly more eclectic and occur primarily between 1804-1813 with some materials between 1849-1885. These formats include books documenting specific areas of the business such as a tobacco book, sale books, cash books, petty cash books, a letter book, business trip books, a book documenting the rental of enslaved persons, contact books, business information books, a farming book, and payment books.

The minority of the collection is composed of personal materials related to various members of the Dickinson family. These materials primarily consist of Eastman Business College course materials for William Dickinson (1866-1907) about accounting, bookkeeping, stocks, and business courses for 1884-1888 and documents related to the execution of the estate of William Dickinson, Sr. after his death.

The content list in the following pages follows the division into two series: Series I: Business Materials and Series II: Personal Papers. Within those series the materials are further broken down by format of book and then by date.


Special collections material is obtained from many sources and is intended primarily for research and educational purposes. Certain works may be protected by copyright, trademark, or related interests not governed by the department. It is up to the researcher to verify that they have permission to use these materials for publication or other activities.

Accession Number


Access and Use

For more information or to use any of these collections, contact:
Special Collections, Morrow Library
Marshall University
One John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755
(304) 696-2343


Span Dates: 1804-1903