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In this video from Antiques Roadshow, Ken Gloss, appraiser of books and manuscripts, discusses the value of a group of journals, ledgers and logbooks ...
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©2006 WGBH Educational Foundation.
In 1895, life in Walle Township, North Dakota, revolved around the town's general store. This Antiques Roadshow video presents a group of journals, logbooks, and ledgers that were kept by the owner of this store between 1893 and 1895. These documents, now owned by the store owner's great-granddaughter, offer a window into life in a rural Midwestern town by showing us the kinds of purchases townspeople made, the amount of money they paid for their purchases, and even how they spent their leisure time. The storeowner had recently arrived in North Dakota from Scandinavia, and the journals provide insights into the immigrant experience in America, as well.
- Look at the picture of the general store. What do you see? What do the details in the photograph tell you about the time period and about daily life in Walle Township? What do all the items in this collection from the Walle Township General Store reveal about daily life in a rural Midwestern town in the late 19th century? What might people have been making with the items they bought at the store?
- Who wrote the journals, logbooks, and ledgers? Name at least four ways in which these documents would be useful to a historian. Are these documents likely to be factually reliable? Why or why not?
- Imagine that you have been given a chance to interview the man who ran the Walle Township General Store. What questions would you ask him? Can you predict the answers that the storeowner might give to your questions?
- According to the appraiser, what role does geography play in determining the value of these items? Do you think this is a good reason for the value of an item to increase? Why or why not?
- Note the prices of the various items recorded in the ledger. What other data would you need in order to compare the prices of these items with current prices for similar items?
Antiques Roadshow: "Country Store Journals, ca. 1895"
A full Teacher's Guide accompanies this video on the Antiques Roadshow Web site.