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Publication Date

2008

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate use of archival material to access a hidden voice in accounting history and provide social context in the form of a biographical micro-history of public accountancy. The archival material is a letter written in 1846 by a Scottish teenage public accountancy clerk. An analysis of the letter gives insight to the employment and social life of the clerk in mid-19th century Scotland and also identifies a notorious character in Scottish public accountancy. The paper reveals the importance of social connections, religion, communication, and transport to middle-class Victorian Scots and, more generally, reminds accounting historians of the value of hidden voices and micro-histories.

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