Wednesday 18th October 2017,
The Transcript

A blast from the past: OWU finds historic ledgers

Documents of financial statements. Photo courtesy of Sara Schneider.

Documents of financial statements. Photo courtesy of Sara Schneider.

Leaking water in the VP finance vault led to the discovery of historic ledgers that date back to the mid 1800s. These ledgers are now being stored in Human Resources.

The historic ledgers were brought to the Human Resource office for dry and safe housing while the vault is being repaired.

These ledgers consist of budget operation, cash payments, scholarship records, housing records and budget books. Also included are books filled with minutes from executive meetings. One of the executive meeting minutes discussed the Funding of the Spring Street Gateway.

“If the Human Resources department cannot find another place to store the ledgers, they will return the VP Finance Vault in the basement of University Hall,” said Elizabeth Foos, purchasing coordinator for Human Resources.

These ledgers contain records of budget operation, cash payments, scholarships, housing records and budget books. Also included are books filled with minutes from executive meetings.

“It is so interesting to see how they organized the finances and all the records when the university first began,” said Foos. “It’s fascinating to think that most all the records kept today are done electronically.”

The first tuition payment on record in the ledgers dates back to 1853, which consisted of $217.00 for one semester.

Almost all of the ledgers are handwritten in script, which can make them difficult to read.

Book with old tuition costs and payments. Photo courtesy of Sara Schneider.

Book with old tuition costs and payments. Photo courtesy of Sara Schneider.

“I reached out to the OWU Archives to see if they were interested in the historic documents,” Foos said. “However, they didn’t show interest in the ledgers because they are not considered to be true archives.”

According to Emily Gattozzi, digital collections librarian, “the OWU Historical Collection isn’t a true university archive, so it doesn’t serve as the department of record for things like financial records.”

The OWU Historical Collection contains material such as promotional items like brochures, pamphlets and event programs;  periodicals such as The Transcript, Le Bijou, OWU Magazine, annual catalogs, faculty, staff and alumni publications; and memorabilia like letterman sweaters and pennants.

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