Benjamin Franklin Papers
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Deborah Franklin: Account of Expenses, May 1762

Deborah Franklin: Account of Expenses

AD: American Philosophical Society

When Franklin was about to leave for England in 1757 his wife Deborah started to keep her household accounts in a memorandum book he provided her. This record is described above, VII, 167–8. On September 1 (the year is not stated) she indicated her intention to stop entering her expenses in detail, “as I am not abell to set down every penney.” But in May 1762 she took a new though short-lived resolve, inspired perhaps by the expectation of her husband’s speedy return, and she compiled on a separate sheet the brief record printed below. It is given here in full to suggest Deborah’s characteristic spelling and some of her expenditures during Benjamin’s long absence from home.


May the
I begin agen to keep an a Counte of expenses
a breste of vele 2 pound of butter 14—1 × 2 Sallis 6 in all2 8 1
eges one shilling pigons 2–6 3 6
for goodeys for my pappey 2 Jars 6 3 9
6 yards of Duch Hollond for pillowcases 1 13 8
for a homspon Coverlid 4 0 0
att a vendue a Cotton Coverlid and bolster 1 16 9
paid Mrs. Bullock for mending 2 pair of Jumps3 and the things comes to 1 4 0
Sallit and greens 0 0 10
paid Bettey for washin 15 and to my maid 4 15 0
Salley a Blew necklis 7–6 a dram of Black silk 0 8 0
home spun threed 0 0 8
for a sate of window curtins Crimsin Chaney4 2 5 0
a Jet Necklase for my Selef 0 7 6
in market vell 7–6 butter 2 eges 1 0 10 6
Sope Candels Sallet 0 1 0
for worsted 0 8 9
the milk man 0 8 0
for the Liberrey for papey and Mr. Grase5 1 0 0
for Billey fier Companey 0 1 0
Shues for Salley 0 8 6
6 pound of brown Shuger 4 2 Bottels Beer 0 5 0
Limes a quortor of Hundred 3 9
a pound of Green tee 1 12 0
in Market 0 10 0
2 Dos. of oringes 0 9 0
[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The last part of this first entry is nearly indecipherable but appears to read as indicated here. “Sallis” may mean “Sally’s,” but if so the meaning is far from clear.

3An under (or undress) bodice, fitted to the bust and often used instead of stays; usually referred to, as here, as “a pair of jumps.” OED.

4Probably DF meant a set of window curtains of crimson China silk.

5Robert Grace, one of BF’s oldest friends, was an original member of the Junto and a member of the first board of directors of the Library Co.; see above, I, 209 n; III, 330 n.

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