This collection contains 7 school notebooks used by members of the Gilbert and Rupley families of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, to practice penmanship and mathematics. The collection also includes 7 pages of poetry, 1 cover sheet, and 14 loose pages from an account book.
Sally Gilbert began her 2 penmanship books on January 10 and February 24, 1813, and practiced her writing by copying brief proverbs, short poems, and examples of financial records, such as receipts. The second volume contains 2 longer poems, along with the penmanship exercises. The cover of each book bears a printed illustration, including a man falling off of a sitting horse ("How to Travel Upon Two Legs in a Frost") and a game of "Dutch Nine [Pi]ns."
George Rupley maintained 2 schoolbooks on arithmetic in 1828 and 1829, and copied problems involving compound addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as problems involving fractions. His notebooks also include some penmanship exercises and poetry, as well as a child's drawing of a man outside a house.
Frederick A. Rupley's book (1831) concerns economic mathematics under the heading "Tare and Tret," and covers topics such as calculating interest and discounts. The book also contains some drawings of plants and includes 2 poems on its back page. Sarah Catharine Rupley's notebook (1840) addresses similar mathematical concepts, and contains sections on reduction, interest, compound interest, and vulgar fractions.
The final exercise book is undated and belonged to Rebecca Margaretta (or Margaret) Rupley in the early 19th century. Exercises consist of copied penmanship examples, often proverbs; Mary Ann Rupley's name also appears on its back page.
Of the collection's 7 loose pages of poetry, 1 is dedicated to Sally Gilbert (September 15, 1812), and 1 to Sarah Gilb[ert] from Henry Hoffman (September 2, 1814). One cover sheet is addressed to Henry Himmelrich of Germantown, Ohio. The collection includes a broadsheet: A New Song, Or, The Lamentable Death of Polly: Young Peopel [sic] Who Delight In Sin, I'll Tell You What Has Lately Been,--A Woman Who Was Young And Fair, Who Died In Sin And Sad Despair!
Approximately 14 pages from an account book (1813-1814) document sales of merchandise, including some accounts recording customers' payments. Though most customers paid in cash, at least one compensated for purchases by chopping wood. A woman named Betsy Gilbert was among the merchant's customers.