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© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Records of Brown Brothers Harriman
1696 -1973, 1995 (bulk 1820-1968)
 MS 78

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Celia Hartmann. Machine readable finding aid created by Celia Hartmann.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on April 09, 2014
Description is in English.
using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series III. Financial and Business Records (1880-1934), 1880-1928. 19.8 Linear feet (6 boxes, 12 oversize folders, 45 volumes)

Scope and Content

The series includes ledgers, salary books, customer and partnership accounts, quarterly and annual accounts by location, receipts, legal documents, and statements providing details of accounting practices and both financial transactions and business practices within and external to Brown Brothers Harriman and its preceding component companies.

Arrangement

The series is arranged in two subseries:

Subseries A. Ledgers

Subseries B. Other Financial and Business Records

The volumes are numbered differently from others in the Records for ease of access, because the ledgers are so physically distinct and unwieldy (see Subseries A. Physical Description note). The ledgers in Subseries A. are numbered consecutively L1-L36; the volumes in Subseries B. continue (with Volume 13) the numbering system from Series I. Historical Files.

Subseries A. Ledgers (1880-1893, 1897-1928), 1880-1893, 1897-1928. 15.8 Linear feet 36 volumes

Scope and Contents

The ledgers consist of 36 oversized bound books (see Physical Description note) documenting profit and loss, private accounts, and general ledger entries from Brown Brothers & Co. between 1880 and 1928. Included in these transactions are details of many of the firm's financial activities documented elsewhere in the Records during this time period.

For ledgers that have an accompanying index, researchers are advised to consult the index first before accessing the ledger, because of the volumes' physical size (see Physical Description note).

Physical Description

The ledgers are up to 2 feet high and as wide as 8 inches; the largest volumes weigh close to 25 pounds. They were originally bound in leather and then covered in canvas chemises. Volumes that have separated from their covers have been rehoused in acid-free containers; those that are physically intact have been cleaned and shrink-wrapped.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: L 1 General ledger #2
1880
Volume: L 2 General ledger #3 (with index)
Undated
Volume: L 3 General ledger #4
Undated
Volume: L 4 General ledger #5 (with index)
1884
Volume: L 5 General ledger #6 (with index)
1885
Volume: L 6 General ledger #7
Undated
Volume: L 7 General ledger #8 (with index)
1887
Volume: L 8 General ledger #9, Section 1, folios 500-899
1888
Volume: L 9 General ledger #9, Section 2, folios 900-1199
1888
Volume: L 10 General ledger #10, Section 1, folios 500-899 (with index)
1889
Volume: L 11 General ledger #10, Section 2, folios 900-1199
1899
Volume: L 12 General ledger #11, Section 1, folios 599-999 (with index)
1890
Volume: L 13 General ledger #11, Section 2, folios 1000-1399
1899
Volume: L 14 General ledger #12, Section 1, folios 500-999 (with index)
1891
Volume: L 15 General ledger #12, Section 2, folios 1000-1399
1891
Volume: L 16 Private accounts ledger #1 (with index)
1892-1893
Volume: L 17 [Private accounts ledger #2] (with index)
Undated
Volume: L 18 Private accounts ledger #3, folios 1-499
1897-1899
Volume: L 19 Private accounts ledger #4, folios 1-499
1900-1902
Volume: L 20 Private accounts ledger #5, folios 1-499 (with index)
1903-1905
Volume: L 21 Private accounts ledger #6, folios 1-399
1906-1909
Volume: L 22 Private accounts ledger #7, folios 1-399
1909-1911
Volume: L 23 Private accounts ledger #8 (with index)
Undated
Volume: L 24 Private accounts ledger #9 (with index)
Undated
Volume: L 25 Private accounts ledger #10 (with index)
Undated
Volume: L 26 Private accounts ledger #11 (with index)
Undated
Volume: L 27 Profit and loss account ledger #1, folios 1-399
1911-1913
Volume: L 28 Profit and loss account ledger #2, folios 1-399
1913-1915
Volume: L 29 Profit and loss account ledger #3, folios 1-439
1915-1916
Volume: L 30 Profit and loss account ledger #3, folios 1-476
1917-1918
Volume: L 31 Profit and loss account ledger #4, folios 1-444
1919-1920
Volume: L 32 Profit and loss account ledger #5, folios 1-438
1921-1922
Volume: L 33 Profit and loss account ledger #6, folios 1-438
1923-1924
Volume: L 34 Profit and loss account ledger #7. folios 1-440
1925-1926
Volume: L 35 Profit and loss account ledger #8, folios 1-430
1927-1928
Volume: L 36 General ledger
1928

Subseries B. Other Financial and Business Records (1898-1934), 1898-1934. 4.0 Linear feet 1 document box, 5 non-document boxes, 12 oversize folders, 9 volumes

Scope and Content

The subseries includes volumes and loose materials that document the financial condition of Brown Brothers & Co., and W.A. Harriman, including ledger sheets, account books, and trial balances; salary books and partnership accounts; documentation of internal business practices including powers of attorney and statements of non-interest by employees in accounts handled by them on behalf of customers; as well as external documents including individual and institutional customers' statements, transit documents, and receipts.

The specie shipment folders include information on the movement of barrels of gold coins from Brown Brothers & Co. in New York to Brown Shipley & Co. in Liverpool via steamship. This currency transportation, on vessels including those of the White Star, Imlay Imbrie & Co., and Cunard Lines, ensured the correction of account balances between the houses and a more even foreign exchange.

The Partnership Journal (Volume 18) provides details of the 1926 unlimited liability partnership among W. Averell Harriman, E. Roland Harriman, and G.H. Walker "for the carrying on of a private banking business".

The statements of non-interest were in brittle wrappers marked "vault deposit", which have been preservation photocopied. Accompanying these records is documentation of other business-related records housed at one time in various company vaults.

Arrangement

The specie shipment materials consisted of a disbound volume in which were interleaved many loose pages. The latter are now foldered separately and identified by the date of the pages at which they were originally found.

The 1898 and 1919 unbound materials were originally each collected into cardboard folders. The 1898 materials were not identified further and have been arranged by city of the office or agency that created them. The 1919 materials were organized into folders, the titles of which are retained here, and are ordered by their city of origin. The box numbers are out of order because of the varying sizes of materials.

The volumes are arranged chronologically.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 87 Folder : 9 Specie shipments
1866 May 18 - 1899 February
Box: 87 Folder : 10 Specie shipments: loose materials
1872 July 11 - 1887 September 10
Box: 88 Folder : 1 Specie shipments: separated materials
1888 December 15 - 1896 February 14; undated
Box: 57 Folder : 6 Boston: annual accounts
1898
Box: 57 Folder : 7 London: annual accounts
1898
Box: 57 Folder : 8 New York: balance sheets
1898
Box: 57 Folder : 9 New York: profit and loss statement; general investments
1898
Box: 57 Folder : 10 Private account; credits issued, all agencies
1898
Box: 88 Folder : 2 Blank powers of attorney to transfer stock
1928, 1930
Box: 88 Folder : 3 Statements of non-interest W.A. Harriman & Co.
1928, 1930
Box: 88 Folder : 4 Blank declarations of non-interest signed by Harry L. Wills, James Yuille, Reginald Martine, Harry S. Rhame, Harry A. Stevenson
1929
Box: 88 Folder : 5 Blank declarations of non-interest for Milton J. Morphett
1929
Box: 88 Folder : Blank declarations of non-interest signed by Robert Bruel, Elbert Twaddell, Harry L. Wills, Allen D. Hauser, Harold J. Shattuck
1929
Box: 88 Folder : 7 Blank powers of attorney to transfer stock, signed by Cletus H. Ollier
1929, 1930
Box: 88 Folder : 8 Blank declarations of non-interest signed by John E. Woods
1930, 1931
Box: 88 Folder : 9 List of items in vault
1930, 1951
Box: 88 Folder : 10 Blank declarations of non-interest signed by James Yuille
1931
Box: 88 Folder : 11 Blank declarations of non-interest signed by Reginald Martine, Byron A. LaForge, Elbert A. Twaddell
1931
Box: 88 Folder : 12 Declarations of non-interest
1933, 1934
Box: 89 Folder : 1 Declarations of non-interest signed by William Siebel
1941
Box: OS 10 Folder : 2 Boston: sundry accounts
1918 June - 1919 December
Box: OS 10 Folder : 3 London: trial balances
1898 April, September
Box: OS 10 Folder : 4 London: sundry accounts 1919
1919 March - April
Box: OS 10 Folder : 5 New York: ledger; investment and private ledger accounts
1898
Box: OS 10 Folder : 6 New York: 1919 quarterly statements of operating expenses, profit and loss, analysis of resources and liabilities
1919 March - June
Box: OS 10 Folder : 7 New York: 1920 quarterly summaries of operating expenses, income, condensed, firm investments profit and loss, analysis of resources and liabilities
1919 June - 1920 September
Box: OS 10 Folder : 8 New York: 1921 quarterly summaries of operating expenses, income, condensed, firm investments profit and loss, analysis of resources and liabilities
1921 March - June
Box: OS 10 Folder : 9 Philadelphia: sundry accounts
1898
Box: OS 10 Folder : 10 Philadelphia: sundry accounts 1919
1919 January - July
Box: OS 10 Folder : 11 Philadelphia: 1919 quarterly summaries of operating expenses, income, condensed, analysis of resources and liabilities
1919 January - 1920 January
Box: OS 10 Folder : 12 Philadelphia: 1920 quarterly summaries of operating expenses, income, condensed, analysis of resources and liabilities
1920 July - October
Box: OS 10 Folder : 13 Philadelphia: 1921 quarterly summaries of operating expenses, income, condensed, analysis of resources and liabilities
1921 April - July
Volume: 13 Salary book
1865-1914
Volume: 14 Salary book
1866 July - 1927 February
Volume: 15 Salary list
1887-1909
Volume: 16 Customer accounts
1887-1922
Volume: 17 Salary book
1899-1913
Volume: 18 Partnership journal
1926-1931
Volume: 19 Certificates of deposit receipt book
1926-1934
Volume: 20 Statements due to banks and individuals (W. A. Harriman & Co.)
1927 March - December
Volume: 21 Statements due to banks and individuals (W. A. Harriman & Co.)
1928 October - December

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