The accounts of the Hasbrouck family help document how five generations adapted to economic and social change in New York's mid-Hudson River valley from the time of settlement in the New World through the Civil War era. The accounts of these farmers and merchants illuminate the role that accounting played during a period when the key information provided by the accounting system was the balance in an individual's account. Personified ledger accounts not only characterized the organizational structure in tight-knit communities, but were essential in facilitating trade during a period when the shortage of cash made asynchronous exchanges and the use of commodity money prevalent.

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