12 Uber-Cool Vintage Accounting & Business Documents

Think accounting records are boring? Written diligently, these 12 uber-cool accounting/business documents provides rich insights to the bookkeeper/accountant’s era.

From an elegantly drawn chicken to a receipt for buying 57 leeches, accounting records contains rich history found nowhere else. There could be fun doing accounting, conservatively speaking. 😉

Title-less book by Thomas Tye (1712-1783)

Thomas Tye's Account book starts in 1737

Thomas Tye (1712-1783) came to London from Derbyshire in 1738 to “seek his fortune”.He was in business, mostly in the City of London and he recorded all expenditure with great care. He also recorded tit bits of news and information. Some of this is fascinating.

His nephew’s wife blogs about this find here.

Donald Paterson’s Journal, January 1835

Donald Peterson 1821 24

Wonderful handwriting! This document appears to be business ledgers and accounts for a firm in London, England but there is nothing to identify the business or the owner. Within these ledgers are workbooks dating from 1821-24 on business, mathematics, etc. and the name Donald Paterson is doodled on these quite a bit.

Larger image here

Source: snap-happy1

Bookkeeper and Accountant Advertisement 1954

Advertisement for Accountant

From Popular Mechanics magazine, October 1954

Source: jackieinmi

George Watt Store Mann Street Gosford, 1885

George Watt Store Mann Street Gosford 1885

The only known surviving photograph from a series taken by Charles Bayliss in 1884/85. The series was commissioned by Boyd and King, for their Gosford Model Farms subdivision prospectus. Fortunately many photographs were reproduced in the prospectus in the form of lithographs, and these survive today. This is a close-up of a larger image. It is one of the earliest surviving images of life in Gosford NSW.

Gosford Coupons

Gosford coupons

Gosford Coupon

Gosford Coupons from a full, unredeemed booklet found in the former Martin family house at Matcham, NSW.

Source: gostalgia

Cash Cheque 1972

cheque 1972

This would be the 1972 equivalent of getting 20 from the ATM. The check was cashed at Studewood Grocery Store which is now part of the Fiesta chain.   Here’s where the bank was located. There is a Chase bank there now, but it’s not the same building.
Source: pmcd9

Unusual Invoice Selling ‘57 Choice Leeches’

1870 57 choice leeches

An unusual Victorian illustrated invoice from Fitch & Nottingham, 16 & 17 St. Peter Street, Hackney Road, London NE. ’57 Choice Leeches’ sold to Swindon businessman Mr John Green, May 12th 1870.

Source: Swindon Collection, Central Library : Scan of original invoice from their ephemera collection. Date: 12/5/1870. Repository: Swindon Collection, Central Library.

Canning & Co’s General Journal, 1928

Canning and Company itemised account Gosford 1928

Canning & Co. Receipt

Canning and Company receipt

Murphy’s Holiday Cottages Receipt, 1939

Murphy holiday cottages receipt 1939

Image a week’s stay at a hotel for just $5.10! See what inflation has done to us!

Source: gostalgia

Motimers Pte Ltd – Store Interior

Mortimers store

Motimers’ Receipt

Mortimers store docket

1918 Liberty Weekly Income Record and Income Tax Record

1918 Liberty Weekly Income Record and Income Tax Record 02

1918 Liberty Weekly Income Record and Income Tax Record ~ ‘The Proper Book of Records of Your Business’. The book’s titled page is dated 1918 & pages follow bookkeeping records from January 1918 through May 1923.

The handwriting is in blue, black & red fountain pen & is clear & neat with very few mark-outs. Some ink-ie splotches where the fountain pen blooped but, all in all, a very neat Bookkeeper of Record.

Source: Le Petit Poulailler

Vintage Ledger Paper

vintage ledger paper

A simple, high resolution artwork from autumnsensation. Free for download and use. See source.

Source: autumnsensation

Counting Chickens

Self-expression of a bored accountant? This artwork done with spray paint/ gouache on antique ledger page (about chickens)

Source: Amy Rice


  1. regarding the drawing of the chicken — the top of the page says “chickens on hand” so perhaps he should have drawn the chicken standing upon someone’s hand  🙂

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