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03 December 2012 @ 10:55 pm
More documentary evidence  
We have been given our final assignment in my Archaeological Lab Methods class.  In lieu of an exam, my professor has decided to assign a practical task: we must analyze the ledgers of an old general store that used to be here in San Jose.  Since I just finished an an examination of documentary evidence for the class museum exhibit, this should be a breeze.

This afternoon, my group (four of us) went to the Sourissean Academy at the San Jose library to study the ledgers.  It was pretty interesting.  Our assigned ledger was from the late 19th century.  The vast majority of the entries were for people of Caucasian ancestry, but there were a couple of Chinese names that seemed tied to a particular homeowner (Cornthwaite).  I think that family might become the focus of my final assignment - what was the relationship between these Chinese immigrants and the Caucasian family?  I'm guessing they're either servants or employees of the Cornthwaites, since everything they order is paid for by Mr. Cornthwaite. I don't think they're buying goods for the family, though - the items they get are definitely more typical of Asian households and don't correlate at all with the items bought by the family in their family account.  It's also curious that these are the only Chinese mentioned in the ledgers; were they only allowed to shop at the store because of their connection to Cornthwaite?

It's very curious.