This collection is made up of 2 volumes that Marianna Chandler Lanman composed while studying at Mrs. Rowson's Academy for Young Ladies in Boston, Massachusetts, around 1814. One concerns arithmetic, focusing on practical applications in bookkeeping, conversion, and monetary transactions; the other contains copied poems, calligraphic alphabets, and graphic illustrations. Lanman dedicated both volumes to her parents.
Lanman composed the first volume, entitled "Practical Arithmetic[:] Comprising All the Rules for Transacting Business" (10"x16", 60 pages), at Mrs. Rawson's Academy in 1814. Its sections, each labeled in calligraphy, concern mathematical operations, rules and theorems; weights and measures; and practical applications of mathematical principles. Many of the later pages concern subjects such as the calculation of simple and compound interest, the value of "federal money" against "lawful money" (state currencies), commission charges, and bookkeeping. The explanatory text is accompanied by finished exercises and problems. The volume also includes tables of weights and measures and an index.
The second volume, "Specimens of Penmanship" (16"x10", 23 pages), is undated. Lanman copied poetry and proverbs on the book's odd-numbered pages; most concern subjects such as happiness, rural living, and gratitude. The title of a poem on the "Pleasures of retired Life" is written on a drawing of a ribbon (p. 19). One poem, entitled "Virtue's Tears Embalm the Brave," is dedicated to the memory of American casualties of the War of 1812 (p. 21). The volume contains several drawings: a hermit in his home (p. 3), a bald eagle among patriotic decorations (p. 21), a sailing ship (p. 21), and a line drawing of a bird with the word "industry" in its feathers (p. 23). The volume also includes examples of cursive, German, and Old English alphabets.