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History Conversations: Shopping in an 1850s Canal Town: a Material Culture Mystery Story

April 9 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

with Blyth McManus, Museum Curator C&O Canal National Historical Park
Tuesday, April 9 at 2:00 p.m. |


In the museum collection of the C&O Canal National Historical Park is a shop ledger from a merchant in Williamsport, MD. Tracking purchases made between 1856-1858, the ledger provides tantalizing glimpses into the everyday lives of its customers. Materials like flour, spices, and produce don’t usually survive long enough to become part of the archeological record, but these are often the details that help us connect to the human side of history. It is also a glimpse into women’s history; although many (but not all) of the names are men, often the women did the actual shopping using their husbands’ accounts.The owner of the ledger and the location of the shop are unknown. However, the ledger provides important historical context to the park and the local area, gives researchers a glimpse into everyday life, and potentially provides additional context to the area’s archeological sites. New perspectives await in the pages of this mystery ledger.

Register here.


April 9
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


Montgomery History
View Organizer Website