Martha Furnace daybook/diary

About this collection

    Martha Furnace was an iron plantation built in 1793 by the Pennsylvania ironmaster Isaac Potts (1750-1803) on a branch of the Wading River two miles above Harrisville in eastern Burlington County, New Jersey.
    The Martha Furnace daybook/diary (Accession 0339) is a combined daybook and diary covering the years 1808 to 1815, with operating and statistical data entered on the left-hand leaves and notes on the occurrences of the day entered on the right-hand leaves.
    The daybook portion of the volume includes time sheets, lists of workmen, and records of consumption of raw materials and output of finished products. As such it is an important source on the technical performance of an early 19th century charcoal iron plantation.
    The diary portion mentions workers, clerks, the visiting owners, and persons from the surrounding country doing business with the furnace. It describes work rhythms, celebrations, drunkenness, accidents, illnesses and deaths within the community, with occasional references to larger events in the world beyond the Pine Barrens. It also delineates the working relationships between Martha Furnace and nearby ironworks.

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