Traders Ready Reckoner


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CORNELL, Stephen. The Traders Ready Reckoner, Containing, A Marketing Table; An Interest Table; A Table for Casting Wages… Hudson (New York): Printed for the Author, By Ashbel Stoddard, 1819. 12mo (4 by 7 inches), period style three quarter speckled brown calf gilt, red morocco spine label, marbled boards.

First edition of this scarce 1819 manual of marketing tables, interest tables, wage calculations and more by New York mathematician and merchant Stephen Cornell, with over 150 tables and large folding “Interest Table.”

This scarce first edition of Cornell’s Traders Ready Reckoner, containing extensive marketing and wage tables, and a large folding “Interest Table,” was a much-needed resource for educators, governmental assessors, farmers and merchants in the early 1800s, when many Americans were relatively unschooled. Popular guides such as this were invaluable at a time when “numerical tables, such as for polynomial functions, were routinely calculated by humans. They were actually called ‘computers’ (meaning ‘one that computes’)” (Wonderful World of Early Computing). Self-published by Cornell, this popular Reckoner contains over 150 pages of “tables shewing at one view, the amount or value of any number or quantity of goods or merchandise… in so plain or easy a manner that a person, quite unacquainted with Arithmetic may hereby ascertain the value of any number of hundreds, pounds, ounces, ells, or yards, &c. at any price whatever.” Cornell’s calculations were ably authenticated prior to publication by Jacob Willets, author of works such as The Scholar’s Arithmetic (1817). OCLC lists 18 copies. See Shaw & Shoemaker 47731. Stephen Cornell is possibly a relative of Ezra Cornell, founder of Western Union and co-founder of Cornell University.

Text and tables quite fresh. A near-fine copy.

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