New York: Manuscript, 1845 - 1882. Hardcover. Leather bound ledger maintained by the accountant for a consortium of tightly knit merchants in New York City, originally from Bremen, Germany. It contains a very early 1866 record of American petroleum sales to Bremen, in the years before John D. Rockefeller established his own oil export office in New York City.
The names of the German merchants in New York recorded here include: Caspar Meier, L. H. von Post, Hermann Oelrichs, George W. Kruger, Edwin A. Oelrichs and W. A. Fritze. The firm's name changed frequently, from C. & H. H. Meier, to Caspar Meier & Co., L. H. von Post & Oelrichs, Oelrichs & Kruger, and Oelrichs & Company (the firm retained this name from about 1850 on).
These were highly successful merchants from established merchant families in Bremen who settled in New York in the early 1800s and sold a wide range of goods, which they had acquired cheaply and sold for a profit, to clients in Europe, including "petroleum to Bremen", with sales of petroleum recorded as early as 1866. This was the same year in which John D. Rockefeller opened his own oil export office in New York City. The following year, with 2 partners, Rockefeller founded the company which would become Standard Oil.
The ledger begins in 1845 and carries through the Civil War era, concluding in 1882. It records trade in a wide variety of the usual commodities: sugar, rice, cotton, tobacco, wheat, and clay. It records losses incurred "on claims" and "on adventure" in shipping these goods, and records the names of the ships involved.
The term "speculation" is recorded on transactions of "Ohio tobacco", buffalo hides, "African hides", copper, lead, tea and "Pittsburgh City stock".
Small folio ledger, 8 x 11" 154 pp, marbled end papers. Manuscript entries recorded on blue paper. Bound in full gilt maroon leather, "Private Journal" stamped in gilt with in gilt borders at front cover. Spine with raised gilt bands, rubbed down the center creating 2 small losses on the raised bands; text and pages immaculate, bright and clean. An engraved NYC stationers' label on the front paste down.
A remarkable record of early oil & petroleum export in New York City, and burgeoning international trade conducted by German American merchants during and after the Civil War. Very good condition. Item #25615