COMMERCIAL PHONE, AND THE ADVERTISERS AND COLLECTORS' CHART
Published By The
United States and Foreign Advertising and Collection Company of Utica, N.Y.
S. E. Lawrence: Secretary
Utica, N.Y., September 1885
Vol. IX, No. 1
Note: The names of the following debtors were listed in a collection agent newspaper. From the terms below it looks like the company sold the debts to other collection agents. None of the individuals listed had paid any money towards their debt. Although there were cities listed from all over New York State, Frankfort and West Winfield were the only specific locations where money was owed in Herkimer County listed in this issue.
These listings aren't being posted to embarrass descendants. That their names were publicly published over 120 years ago by creditors who claimed they couldn't collect is a public record. Perhaps some should have exercised a bit of financial restraint as they bought something they wanted or needed to buy right now and would worry about paying for it later. Others may have been laid off, been in poor health, or didn't make enough money and their resources were stretched to the limit trying to get by. Some probably were deadbeats, or persons who blew their paychecks in the pursuit of bad habits and frivolities. Still others may have contested a shoddily-made purchase or poor service and refused to pay, or simply had not been able to come up with timely payment and the vendor wouldn't work with them. All the same reasons as today. This unusual resource may be of use to descendants, as presence on the list might give insight into such questions as:
* was a particular individual still alive in 1885 and where did they reside
These are not insignificant amounts of money. I found an online converter for the relative value of the U.S. dollar between the years 1790 and 2005. Using the Consumer Price Index converter, $1.00 in 1885 was equivalent to $20.95 in buying power in 2005. The CPI converter, and other types of converters, will be helpful for examining household worth and declared value of personal estate and real estate in the censuses. For any year keep in mind the context - where the family was residing, depressions, recessions, etc. Using this CPI converter, a $300 Civil War bounty in 1863 would have the buying power of $4,815.00 in 2005, while the same bounty in 1864 would be comparable to $3,846.00.
"Showing the name, occupation and last known address of the Debtors; the amount of the claim; the amount paid; the rate of discount at which we sell the balance; the name and address of the Creditor.
The following claims have been received for collection or sale, and the Debtors notified at their last known address.
The whereabouts and circumstances of many of them are not known to the Creditors. Any information regarding them will be thankfully received, and any mistakes will be cheerfully corrected."
IMPORTANT: The site coordinators thank you in advance for not emailing us with questions, but directing ALL requests for assistance and further information about persons and businesses mentioned to the historians at the local libraries and archives, or using one of the major search engines. We have no information at all about this newspaper.
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