Business Hints for Men and Women by Alfred Rochefort Calhoun

Emily Ratliff, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. BUSINESS HINTS FOR MEN AND WOMEN By A. R. CALHOUN CONTENTS CHAPTER I COMMON SENSE FARMING 1. Wealth, Land and Labor. 2. Money. 3. Sources of Wealth. 4. The Farmer, a Producer, and Seller. 5. Business Methods Essential. CHAPTER II DOCUMENTS YOU SHOULD
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Emily Ratliff, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.




1. Wealth, Land and Labor. 2. Money. 3. Sources of Wealth. 4. The Farmer, a Producer, and Seller. 5. Business Methods Essential.

1. Deeds. 2. Abstracts of Title. 3. Parties to a deed. 4. Different deeds. 5. Making a deed. 6. Recording deeds.

1. Trust deeds. 2. As to mortgages. 3. Mortgage forms. 4. Payments. 5. Assignments. 6. Redemption of mortgages. 7. Equity of redemption.

1. Two kinds. 2. Limitations of wills. 3. How to make a will. 4. On executive duties. 5. Administrators. 6. Debts. 7. Final settlement.

1. Business letters. 2. The heading. 3. Forms. 4. The greeting. 5. Body of letter. 6. Ending a letter. 7. Materials. 8. Letters of introduction, etc.

1. Bills for goods. 2. Bills for labor. 3. Discounting bills. 4. Forms of receipts. 5. What is an order?

1. An account with crops. 2. Workingman’s account. 3. Other records. 4. Copies.

1. National banks. 2. Banks as lenders. 3. Interest on deposits. 4. Check and deposit banks. 5. How to draw a check. 6. Certificates of deposit. 7. Use of checks.

1. How business is conducted. 2. How to deposit. 3. How account grows. 4. Limit of deposit. 5. How to draw money. 6. Savings bank revenues.

1. Definition and illustration. 2. Days of grace. 3. Indorsing notes. 4. Negotiable notes. 5. Joint notes. 6. Discounting notes. 7. Interest on notes. 8. Protests. 9. Notices. 10. Accommodations. 11. Lost notes. 12. Notes about notes.

1. To make a draft. 2. Forms. 3. For collection. 4. Dishonor. 5. Protests. 6. Buying drafts. 7. A good plan. 8. Good as cash.

1. What is money? 2. United States money. 3. Metal money. 4. Paper money. 5. Bank notes. 6. “Greenbacks.” 7. Treasury certificates. 8. Worn-out notes.

1. The department. 2. Rural free delivery. 3. Classified mail matter. 4. Postal rules. 5. Foreign rates. 6. Stamps. 7. Postal cards. 8. Registering letters. 9. Special delivery. 10. Money orders. 11. Cashing P.O. orders. 12. Advice.

1. Description. 2. Directions. 3. Charges. 4. Telegraphing money. 5. The method. 6. The telephone.

1. Two kinds. 2. Instructions. 3. The company’s duty. 4. Collections by express. 5. C. 0. D. by express. 6. Money by express. 7. Money orders.

1. Bills of lading. 2. Express bills. 3. A bill and a draft. 4. Some forms.

1. Definition. 2. Kinds of taxes. 3. Customs duty. 4. Internal revenue. 5. Stamps. 6. State taxes. 7. Exempt from taxes. 8. Insufficient taxes. 9. Personal property. 10. Town taxes. 11. Payments. 12. Corporation taxes. 13. Taxes in general. 13. The returns.

1. Requisites to a contract. 2. The consideration. 3. Written and verbal contracts. 4. Forms of contract. 5. Kinds of contract. 6. A lease. 7. As to repairs. 8. Sub-letting. 9. What is a guaranty? 10. A bill of sale 11. Obligations.

1. A definition. 2. How it is done. 3. As an investment. 4. Forms of life insurance. 5. Mutual insurance. 6. Amount of policies. 7. Policies as security. 8. Lapses. 9. Proprietary companies.

1. Like a gambling risk. 2. What is fire insurance? 3. Premiums. 4. Collecting. 5. Insurable property. 6. Mutual companies. 7. Stock companies. 8. Accident insurance.

1. Defined. 2. Prepare and sign. 3. Silent partners. 4. Nominal partners. 5. Liability. 6. How to dissolve. 7. Notice necessary. 8. A form.

1. What is an investment? 2. Savings. 3. Capitalists. 4. Stockholders. 5. Kinds of stocks.

1. As to bonds. 2. Sorts of bonds. 3. Railroad bonds. 4. Buying bonds. 5. Requisite in a bond.

1. Don’t deceive yourself. 2. Be sure you are not losing. 3. Weeding out old stock. 4. Dropping worthless accounts. 5. Let your wife know. 6. Children and business. 7. Farmers’ sons.

1. How title is acquired. 2. Over-generosity. 3. Care of wills. 4. Care of all papers. 5. Checks and stubs. 6. Sending away money. 7. Lost in mails. 8. More about notes.

1. As to receipts. 2. Notes in bank. 3. Well to know. 4. Discharging liens. 5. Prompt but not too prompt. 6. Be in no haste to invest. 7. Meet dues promptly. 8. Counting money. 9. Ready money. 10. In traveling.

1. An alphabetical arrangement.

1. Defined and alphabetically arranged.


What is a good business man? “The rich man,” you may answer. No, the good business man is the man who knows business.

Are you a good business man?

“Up to the average,” you say.

Well, what do you know of business laws and rules, outside your present circle of routine work?

Now, this handy little volume is a condensation of the rules and the laws which every man, from the day laborer to the banker, should be familiar with.

We have not put in everything about business, for that would require a library, instead of a book that can be read in a short day, and be consulted for its special information at any time.

It isn’t a question of the price of the book to you, or of the profit to the publisher. Is it good?

Many a man has failed because he did not know the rules and laws herein given.

Never a man has won honestly who did not carry out these rules and laws.



The three things essential to all wealth production are land, labor, and capital.

“The dry land” was created before there appeared the man, the laborer, to work it. With his bare hands the worker could have done nothing with the land either as a grazer, a farmer or a miner. From the very first he needed capital, that is, the tools to work the land.

The first tool may have been a pole, one end hardened in the fire, or a combined hoe and axe, made by fastening with wythes, a suitable stone to the end of a stick; but no matter the kind of tool, or the means of producing it, it represented capital, and the man who owned this tool was a capitalist as compared with the man without any such appliance.

From the land, with the aid of labor and capital, comes wealth, which in a broad way may be defined as something having an exchangeable value.

Before the appearance of money all wealth changed hands through barter. The wealth in the world to-day is immeasurably greater than all the money in it. The business of the world, particularly between nations, is still carried on through exchange, the balances being settled by money.

Money is a medium of exchange, and should not be confounded with wealth or capital; the latter is that form of wealth which is used with labor in all production.

Broadly speaking, wealth is of two kinds, dormant and active. The former awaits the development of labor and capital, the latter is the product of both.

Labor is human effort, in any form, used for the production of wealth. It is of two kinds–skilled and unskilled. The former may be wholly mental, the latter may be wholly manual.

The successful farmer must be a skilled laborer, no matter the amount of his manual work. The unskilled farmer can never succeed largely, no matter how hard he works.

Trained hands with trained brains are irresistible.

Too many farmers live in the ruts cut by their great-great- grandfathers. They still balance the corn in the sack with a stone.

Farming is the world’s greatest industry. All the ships might be docked, all the factory wheels stopped, and all the railroads turned to streaks of rust, and still the race would survive, but let the plow lie idle for a year and man would perish as when the deluge swept the mountain tops.

The next census will show considerably over 6,000,000 farms in the United States. Farming is the greatest of all industries, as it is the most essential. Our Government has wisely made the head of the Department of Agriculture a cabinet officer, and the effect on our farming interest is shown in improved methods and a larger output of better quality.

The hap-hazard, unskilled methods of the past are disappearing. Science is lending her aid to the tiller of the soil, and the wise ones are reaching out their hands in welcome.


As farming is our principal business, it follows that those who conduct this vast and varied enterprise should be business men.

The farmer is a producer of goods, and so might be regarded as a manufacturer,–the original meaning of the word is one who makes things by hand. He is also a seller of his own products, and a purchaser of the products of others, so that, to some extent, he may also be regarded as a trader or merchant.

Enterprise and business skill are the requisites of the manufacturer and merchant. Can the farmer succeed without them?

No business can prosper without method, economy, and industry intelligently applied.

No man works harder the year round than does the American farmer, yet too many are going back instead of advancing. In such cases it will be found that there is enough hard work for better results, and that the cause of failure is that the industry has not been properly applied, and that economy has had no consideration.

Economy does not mean niggardliness, or a determination to get along without tools that your neighbor has purchased. A neglect to secure the best tool needed might be classed as an extravagance, a waste, if the tool in question could have added to the quality and quantity of the output, without the expenditure of more labor.

Business common-sense is taking the place of old-fashioned conservatism and scientific methods are no longer sneered at as “book-farming.”



All property implies an owner. Property is of two kinds, real and personal. The former is permanent and fixed, the latter can be moved.

Every occupant of realty holds it through a deed, which carries with it sole ownership, or through a lease which carries with it the right to occupation and use in accordance with the conditions as to time and the amount to be paid, set forth in the written instrument.

A deed carries with it sole ownership, a lease covers the right of use for a fixed period.


The purchaser of real estate, say a farm, should receive, from the person selling the property, a written instrument, or conveyance known as a deed.

The deed must show clearly that the title to or interest in the property has been transferred from the seller to the buyer.

Before the deed is signed and delivered, the buyer should know that he is getting a clear title to the property described in the conveyance.

In order to insure the accuracy of the title and thus avoid subsequent complications and perhaps lawsuits, the paper should be submitted to some good lawyer, or other person acquainted with real estate law and the methods by which titles are traced from the first owner to the present possessor.


In all the great business centers of the United States there are Title Guarantee Companies, who for a consideration–to be paid by the seller–furnish an abstract of title, and insure its validity.

In smaller places the local lawyers know how to make up an abstract and one should be employed. Never trust the search of the inexperienced.

An abstract of title is a memorandum taken from the records of the office where deeds are recorded, and showing the history of the title from the Government up to the present time.

The seller should furnish the buyer with a certificate from the proper county officer, showing whether or not all taxes have been paid up to the last assessment.

In addition to this, before the money is paid and the deed accepted, the purchaser should be satisfied that there are no mortgages, liens, attachments or other claims against the property.

If such claims exist and are known to the buyer, he may assume them as a condition of the sale.


The person selling the land and making the deed is known in law as the Grantor. The person buying the property is known as the Grantee.

A deed is a form of contract, and in order to have its terms and statements binding on the maker, he must be twenty-one years of age, or over, and he must be of sound mind.

The grantee need not be twenty-one, nor of sound mind in order to make the terms of the deed binding on the grantor.

In some states, if the grantor be a married man, his wife must sign the deed with him. This should be seen to, for without the wife’s signature the grantee will not have a clear title, for the woman could still claim an interest in the property equal to her dower right.

Also, if the grantor is a woman, her husband, for the reasons given, should join with her in the execution of the deed.

The preparation of a deed should not be left to the unskilled.


There are three kinds of deeds, viz.: General warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and quit-claim deeds.

The general warranty deed, if it can be had, is the one every purchaser should get.

In the general warranty deed the grantor agrees for himself, “his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns,” that at the time of making the deed he is lawfully in possession, “seized” is the legal term, of the estate described in the deed, that it is free from all incumbrance, and that he will warrant and defend the grantee and his heirs and assigns against all claims whatsoever.

In the quit-claim deed the grantor conveys to the purchaser his interest in or right to the property under consideration.

The quit-claim grantor does not guarantee the title to the property, nor warrant the grantee against any other claims. He simply, by the deed, quits his claim to the property.

The special warranty deed covenants and warrants only against the acts of the grantor and those claiming title under him.


After a deed is properly drawn, it is ready to be signed, sealed, and delivered to the grantee.

If the wife of the grantor is to sign, her name should follow that of her husband.

If one or both cannot write, the signature can be made in this way:

George X Jones.


In some states one or more witnesses are required to the signature of the grantor; in others, witnesses are not necessary, except where a “mark” is made.

An important part of a deed is the Acknowledgment. This is the act of acknowledging before a notary public, justice or other official properly qualified to administer an oath, that the signatures are genuine and made voluntarily.

The acknowledgment having been taken, the official stamps the paper with his seal and signs it.

In some states the law requires that a wax or paper seal be attached to the paper, while in others a circular scroll, made with the pen, with the letters “L.S.” in the center answer the purpose.

When the foregoing essentials are complied with the deed must be delivered to the grantee. The delivery is essential, for without it the deed is of no value, even though every other requisite be complied with.

A deed may be made for land on which full payment has already been acknowledged, but if the grantor dies before the deed is delivered, then the deed has no legal value.

A deed obtained by fraud, deceit or compulsion is void.


As soon as possible after the grantee has received the deed, he should have it recorded.

In every county in the different states there is an officer, known as register or recorder, whose duty it is to enter in regular folios, or books, a copy of every deed or mortgage presented to him. The document then becomes a part of the county records.

The grantee must pay the recording fees.

Anyone, on paying the fee for copying and certifying, can obtain a copy of any document that has been recorded in a register’s office.

If an original deed is lost, the certified copy of the register has all the legality of the original.

All deeds and other papers of value should be carefully kept, so that they may be available, if needed.

A small safe deposit box with a company that keeps such spaces for rent, is often a wise investment.

Keep all related papers in one package or envelope.

If there is one lawyer who attends to all your legal business, he will be a good custodian of all papers of record, for he usually has a fireproof safe.



There is one condition under which the grantor does not turn over or deliver the deed to the grantee after it is made. This is known as a Deed in Escrow.

A deed “delivered in escrow” is when the document is placed with a third party to be by him delivered to the grantee when a certain time has elapsed or certain conditions have been fulfilled.

When the conditions have been complied with, the deed is given by its custodian to the grantee, which is as legal as if it were given by the grantor in person.


A trust deed is the form used to convey property to some person who is entitled to its proceeds or profits.

This form of deed is often used to secure the payment of a debt. In some states they take the place of mortgages.

Where the trust deed is meant to take the place of a mortgage to secure a debt payment, the property is deeded to a third party known as a “trustee.”

The trustee in this case is the agent for debtor and creditor, and he must act impartially.

The trust deed specifies the character of the debt to be secured. In case of failure to pay the debt as agreed on, the trustee may, if so warranted, sell the property, and pay the obligation from the proceeds.

The grantor in a trust deed, if not stipulated to the contrary, is entitled to all the rents and profits of the property; for it remains virtually his, until he has failed to fill his contract.

When the indebtedness secured by the trust deed has been paid, the trustee must at once execute a paper known to law as a Release Deed. When recorded this instrument discharges the lien.


Mortgages are of two kinds, real and chattel. The first is a lien on real estate, the second on personal property.

A mortgage may be defined as a conveyance of property, personal or real, as security for the payment of a debt, or it may be given as a guarantee for the performance of some particular duty.


When a mortgage is given as security for the payment of a debt, the rule is to give a note for the payment of the amount involved. The mortgage becomes in this case the security for the note’s payment.

In the body of the note it must be stated that it is secured by mortgage.

The date of the note and mortgage should be the same.

The man who mortgages his property is the mortgagor.

The man to whom the mortgage is given is the mortgagee.

The form of the mortgage is the same as that of a deed, except that it contains a clause called the Defeasance, which states that when the obligation has been met the document shall be void.


The forms for “signing, sealing and delivering” a mortgage, are the same as with a deed.

A mortgage must be recorded the same as a deed, the mortgagee paying the fees.

Chattel mortgages are filed and recorded in the same way, except that it is not usual to make copies of the instrument. They are described in books prepared for the purpose.

A wife need not join her husband in making the note secured by a mortgage, but if she agrees to the transaction it is necessary for her to sign the mortgage; however, some states do not require this.


Often a life insurance policy is used as security for the payment of a mortgage.

The mortgagee, if there be buildings on the property, should see that the buildings are insured and that the policy or policies are made out in his name.

If the insurance policy is in the mortgagor’s name he may collect and keep the insurance money.

The mortgagor must meet, as stipulated, every payment of the principal and interest.

Failure to meet one payment can result in a legal foreclosure.

When a payment is made, the date and the amount must be entered on the back of the note. This should be done in the presence of the mortgagor.

If possible always pay the obligation by check.

If a payment is accepted on a mortgage and the amount is not sufficient to meet the sum required, the interest is first settled in full, the rest is credited to the principal.

When the full amount, with interest, is paid in, it becomes the duty of the mortgagee to have the mortgage “discharged.”

A complete settlement is when, all payments being made, the mortgagee surrenders the note and its security, and causes to be written by the register, on the margin of the copy in his books, the words, “discharged,” or “satisfied,” affixing thereto his official signature and the date.


A mortgage is regarded in law as personal property.

A mortgage need not remain in the hands of the mortgagee in order to be valid. It can be sold like bonds, stocks or other property, and there are men who deal only in that form of security.

In order to sell a mortgage, the owner must make, to the purchaser, what is known as an “assignment of mortgage.”

The assignment should be recorded in the same way as the original mortgage, the assignee paying the fee.


While the rule as to the redemption of mortgages remains the same in some localities that it formerly was, the law in most places is now more lenient.

Now the mortgagor who has failed is usually given by law an extension of time in which to make good the payment of principal and interest.

Lenders, when the interest is met, are content to let the mortgage run on as an investment, though it will often be found, in such cases, that it is better to make a new mortgage.


Where the payments on a mortgage have not been met and the instrument has not been foreclosed, the mortgagor has still what is known as an “equity of redemption.”

In some states after the foreclosure of the mortgage and the sale of the property there is still a period of redemption of from sixty days to six years.

The mode of foreclosure differs in some states. The usual method is to foreclose on an order from the court, and to have the sale conducted by a court officer.

The proceeds from the sale are used to pay the principal, interests and costs. If there is money left over it is paid to the mortgagor, whose interests in the property are then at an end.

Many people, not familiar with business methods, are inclined to regard a mortgage as something of a disgrace, when, as a matter of fact it is a most usual and honorable means of raising money for the securing of a home or the conducting of a business.

Nearly all of the great railroads of the country have been built by the sale of the mortgage bonds, which are usually renewed when due, and are sought out as a safe and sane form of investment.

The fact that a mortgage payment has to be met on a farm is often in itself the strongest inducement to industry and economy.



Whether farmer, manufacturer, merchant or professional man, and whether in youth, mid-age or declining years, every owner of personal or real property, or both, should make a will.

If you have not made a will, get over the foolish notion that it is a premonition of death, and do so at once.

A will is a written and signed declaration of the disposition one wishes to have made of his property in the event of his death.

The maker of a valid will must be of sound mind and not less than twenty-one years of age.

Women, whether married or single, if of proper age, are competent to make a will.


A will may be written or unwritten.

Unwritten wills are known as “nun-cupative.” Nun-cupative wills are employed only when through accident, or sudden seizure by a fatal disease, the time necessary to write and sign a will cannot be had.

The unwritten will must be authenticated by reliable and unprejudiced witnesses, and generally it can dispose of personal property only.

In the written will no precise form is necessary, though when drawn by a lawyer it usually begins with some such form as: “I, George Brown, being of sound mind and good understanding, do make and declare this to be my last will and testament”, etc.

A will is not necessarily permanent. It may be cancelled or changed in any way by the maker before his death, or a new will can be made.

The last will cancels all preceding wills.

An addition to an existing will is known as a “codicil.”

A man making a will is called a testator.

A woman making a will is called a testatrix.


A man has a right to dispose of his property by will or gift as he chooses, but if he is married the law compels him to consider the rights of another.

The husband cannot, by will or otherwise, deprive his wife of her “right of dower” in his real estate and appurtenances.

Unless she chooses to accept, the wife need not accept other property that is bequeathed her in lieu of dower.

The wife’s dower interest in her husband’s estate is a life interest only. On her death it goes to the husband’s heirs, as if there had been no widow.

In some states there is no right of dower.


The will not only shows the purpose of the testator, but it serves as a bar to litigation among the natural heirs.

Any man or woman can write out his or her will, but unless quite familiar with such work it is better to employ a lawyer for the purpose.

The person named in the will to carry out the purpose of the testator is known as the “executor”.

No person, not twenty-one at the time the will is proved can act as an executor.

Neither a convict, an imbecile, nor one known to be a drug fiend or an habitual drunkard, is eligible for the post of an executor. If an executor be appointed against his will, the law does not compel him to serve.

There must be at least two witnesses to a will, some states require three.

The witnesses need not know the contents of the will, but they must understand before signing that it is a will, and they must see it signed by the testator.

Under the common law the will is void if the witnesses are beneficiaries.

In some states a will so witnessed is valid, except that the witnesses cannot receive their legacies.

All the witnesses should sign at the same time and add their addresses.

If an heir at law, say a child, is not mentioned in the will, the law assumes that he was forgotten by the testator and generally gives the share the heir would be entitled to if there were no will.

At the end of the will the testator, in the presence of the witnesses, should write his name in full.


An executor is the legal representative of the testator. It is his duty to see that the provisions of the will are carried out.

No man is qualified to act as executor who is not competent to make a will. Executors, unless relieved by the provisions of the will, are required to file bonds, proportioned to the value of the estate, for the faithful performance of their duties.

Should there be no executor named in the will, or if the person so named refuses to act, or if he dies or resigns, the court will appoint a person to act in his place.

The executor appointed by the court is known or called an “administrator with the will annexed.”

In some states the court having jurisdiction of wills and estates of deceased is known as “the probate,” in others it is called the “Surrogate’s Court,” and in still others, “The Orphan’s.”


If a man, owning property, dies without making a will, the judge of the proper court will appoint an administrator to settle the estate.

This is the method of procedure:

1. A person, interested in getting the estate settled, goes before the proper judge and asks him to appoint an administrator. 2. The administrator must give the same bond as an executor. Their duties are the same.
3. In settling the estate the administrator is governed by the law, and by the special directions of the officer having jurisdiction in such matters.
4. He must make a careful list of all the property belonging to the estate. The value of the personal property is estimated by men specially appointed by the court for the purpose and known as “appraisers”.
5. The administrator must account for every item of property that comes into his possession.
6. All debts of deceased must be first paid, including funeral expenses. If the proceeds of the personal property are not sufficient for this purpose, the administrator may, if there be real estate, sell the whole or part of it, on an order from the court.


Debts must be paid in an order prescribed by law. The following is the usual order:

1. Funeral expenses and expenses of last illness. 2. The widow’s allowance or award.
3. Debts due the state or municipality. 4. Claims of other creditors.

Whatever property is left, after paying these obligatory sums, is divided among the rightful heirs under the direction of the court, and in the manner provided by law.

The administrator must advertise, in one or more county papers the fact that he has been appointed to settle the estate of the deceased, whose name is given, and he must ask that all claims be presented within a given period, usually fixed at six months.

When the estate is settled to the satisfaction of the court, the same authority releases the administrator and his bondsmen.

All the fees connected with the settlement are regarded as debts and must be paid from the proceeds of the estate before closing.


When the debts are paid and the residue divided among the heirs, the administrator files his account. If it is allowed the case ends.

The parties of interest in an estate may agree to settle it out of court. This saves expense, but it is not the safest way.



What has been said about deeds and mortgages applies not only to the farmer, but also to every owner of a building lot. The same may be said of wills. They have a business interest for the town as well as for the country dweller.


The purpose of this book being “strictly business,” no attempt will be made to instruct the reader in anything not connected with the subject under consideration.

Social, friendly, and such letters are matters for individual time and taste, and no rule can be laid down for their writing, but the business letter is a different matter, and one which deserves special consideration from every man or woman who receives an order by mail, or who sends one.

To write a good business letter is no mean accomplishment, and although a gift with some, it can be acquired by all.

A letter is, in a way, a testimonial of the character and ability of the writer.

The purpose of a business letter is to express just what you want and no more.

Any man with a good common school education, and a little patient practice, can soon learn to write as good a business letter as the college graduate.

Correct spelling may not be general, but it is certainly desirable.

Letter writing, as in the preparation of other papers, has its own well-recognized forms, and these may be easily learned.

Every properly constructed business letter should consist of the following parts:

1. Where written from.
2. When written.
3. To whom written.
4. Address.
5. Salutation.
6. Introduction.
7. Purpose of letter.
8. Complimentary ending.
9. Signature.


The letter should begin by giving the address of the writer, followed by the date on which it was written. This will enable the recipient to direct his reply.

If from a city, the street and number should be given.

If many letters are written it will be convenient to have the permanent address of the writer printed.

The writing should be plain, and there should be no doubt in the mind of the reader as to the proper spelling of the address and signature.

Avoid the hieroglyphics which some vain men adopt in signing their names. It may be fanciful, but it does not imply consideration for the time and patience of strangers.

The following forms will serve to illustrate the type of heading used in ordinary business letters:


124 Smith St., Brownsville, Mass.
September 4, 1910.
Mr. John Smith,
Doylestown, Penna.
Dear Sir:


Leroy, Mass.,
September 5, 1910.
Messrs. Brown and Jones,
Denver, Col.


4 Seminole St., Fort Smith, Ark.
September 6, 1910.
Mrs. Mary J. Robinson,
Lansing, Cal.
Dear Madam:

The “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “Madam,” and “Miss” are titles of courtesy and should not be omitted. The abbreviation “Esq.” for Esquire is sometimes used; but the two titles Mr. and Esq. should never be used with one name, as “Mr. John Smith, Esq.”

If a man is known by a military or other title, always use it, but never precede it with “Mr.” nor follow it with “Esq.”

Clergymen should always be addressed as “Rev.,” the abbreviation for Reverend. If he is a doctor of divinity, add D.D. to the name, as “Rev. John Smith, D.D.”

Medical doctors may be addressed as “Dr. John Smith,” or “John Smith, M.D.”


The greeting or salutation is a term of courtesy or esteem used in addressing the one to whom the letter is sent.

“Sir” is the formal greeting, and is used in addressing officials, or any strange male person. “Sirs,” or “Gentlemen” may be used in the plural. “Dear Sir,” or “My Dear Sir,” is the usual form of greeting when a business letter is addressed to an individual.

Where the writer is acquainted with the person addressed, the usual form of greeting is “Dear Mr. Smith.”


If writing in response to a letter received, the writer should begin in some such way as this:

Mr. Thomas Brown,
Newburg, N. Y.
My Dear Sir:

Your favor of the second inst. is just to hand. In reply permit me to state, etc., etc.

This should be followed by the necessary statement, set forth in clear, simple words.

Be sure of yourself.

The secret of good writing is clear thinking.


There is much in the proper ending of a letter. In the ordinary business letter the usual ending may be, “Yours truly,” “Yours very truly,” or “Yours respectfully.” Other endings used in writing to business acquaintances are, “Yours sincerely,” or “Very sincerely yours,” or you may substitute the words “Cordially” or “Heartily” for “sincerely.”


The name of the writer should be so clear and distinct as to leave no doubt as to the spelling.

The name should always be written in the same way.

If your name is George W. Brown, do not write it at one time as here given, and again as G. Washington Brown, or G. W. Brown.

Adopt one form and stick to it.

If you are writing for a firm or for another as clerk or secretary, always sign the firm name, and below it your own name preceded by the word “per,” meaning “by” or “through.”


Never use scraps of paper or soiled paper to write on if better can be had. The materials of a letter affect the receiver, particularly if a stranger, just as one is affected by the garb of a stranger before he speaks.

Use a good pen and black ink.

Fold your paper so that it will fit the envelope.

Avoid blots and erasures; they indicate carelessness or unbecoming haste.

Address your letter distinctly.

Here is a good form:

Mr. George W. White,
1101 Sioux St. Mass.


At some time or another one has to write a letter of introduction, and sometimes he has had to pay for it.

If you should give such a letter to a man to introduce him to another with whom you trade, the law has held that the introducer is responsible for any reasonable bills the introduced may contract with the receiver of the letter.

Never give a letter of introduction to a man you are not sure of.

In addressing a letter of introduction which is to be handed in person, do it in this way:

Mr. George W. Brown,
Washington, D. C.
Mr. Henry Wilson.

This shows on its face the nature of the communication.

Here is a good form:

111 Payne Ave., Montrose, Ill.
September 27, 1910.
Mr. Norman R. Lloyd,
Chicago, Ill.
Dear Mr. Lloyd:

This will introduce my esteemed
friend Mr. Thomas T. Fletcher, of this town. Mr. Fletcher contemplates opening
a drug store in Chicago. Should he do so he will prove an acquisition to your City. Any favor you can render him will be much appreciated by,
Yours faithfully,
George W. Brown.


Every man of standing and every employer of labor is at times called on to certify to the character, or to give a testimonial to some esteemed employee who is about to seek his fortune in another place.

If you are about to hire a stranger, it adds to your confidence and to his chances if he have a testimonial as to character and fitness from his last employer, or from some man whose word you value.

The letter of recommendation is usually of a general character and not addressed to any particular. It should open in this way:

“To whom it may concern.”

Follow this with your testimonial and sign it.


The President of the United States is addressed as: “His Excellency,”
William H. Taft,
Executive Mansion,
Washington, D. C.

Cabinet officers, Senators, Congressmen, members of the Legislature, and Mayors of cities are usually addressed as “Hon.,” the abbreviation of honorable.

The title “Hon.” like “Esq.” is often misused. After all titles of courtesy are not obligatory, unless we regard the unwritten law of custom in such matters as binding.

The very best kind of a letter, and perhaps the hardest to write, is that in which the writer appears to be talking to us face to face.



Try to understand clearly the meaning of all the business terms you have to use.

The terms “bill” and “invoice” usually mean the same thing, that is, a “bill of sale.” This applies to goods sold, or services rendered.

The merchant sends you an itemized invoice of the goods you ordered and he has shipped.

The carpenter sends you an itemized bill of the work done by your order.

Such a document should be regarded not as a “dun,” but rather as a record of the contract or transaction.

In the foregoing case the merchant and the carpenter are the creditors, the recipient of the goods or work is the debtor.


In writing out a bill the date is the first thing to be considered. This should be the same in form as a business letter.

This form will serve as an illustration:

Glenwood, N. J.
October 1, 1910.
Robert Brown
To George L. White, Dr.
Sept 2. For 25 lbs. sugar, at .06 . . .$1.50 ” 6. ” 30 lbs. ham, at .20 . . . . 6.00 ” 14. ” 100 lbs. flour, at .03-1/2 . 3.50 —-
Received payment, $11.00


Wholesale houses send such bills as soon as the goods are shipped or delivered, though the payment, as per agreement, is not to be made for thirty, sixty or ninety days.

Where there is a running account, that is, frequent orders, with total payments never completed, it is customary for the seller, at the beginning of a calendar month to send to the creditor a “statement.” This statement does not repeat the items of the bills rendered, its purpose being to show the balance due to date.


Where a mechanic or laborer is employed by the day at a fixed wage, the length of time and dates should be given.

Richmond, Va.
November 3, 1910.
Charles M. Pratt,
To John Smith, Dr.
To 4 days, from Oct. 1st to 4th
inclusive, at $2.00……….$8.00 To 2 1/2 days, Oct. 10th, 11th
and 12th……………….. 5.00 To 3 days, Oct. 17th, 18th and
19th ………………….. 6.00 ——
Received payment, $19.00

This bill is just as transferable as a mortgage. If for any reason Mr. Smith should decide to sell it, say to Robert Brown, he should make the following endorsement across the back:

“In consideration of —— dollars, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I do hereby sell and assign to Robert Brown, the written account, which is justly due from the within named Charles W. Pratt,
and I hereby authorize the said Robert Brown to collect the same.
“John Smith.”
“Newburg, N. Y.
November 1, 1910.”

Regarded simply from a business viewpoint and without considering ethics, “Honesty is the best policy.”

Bills, where possible, should be promptly paid.

Prompt payment is a guarantee of credit and credit is the heart if not the soul of business.

Never, if it can be avoided, buy goods on the installment plan.

Be sure to get a receipt for all payments you make, and be equally sure to keep the receipt where you can find it.

Examine all bills and invoices; compare them with the goods received, and no matter what your faith in the seller’s care and honesty, calculate for yourself the price of each item, and be sure that the total is correct.


It is a business custom, when a bill is paid before it is due, to allow a discount. This may be the legal rate of interest, or any percentage agreed on in advance.

Sometimes wholesale merchants or manufacturers grant esteemed customers, in consideration of prompt payments, a discount from the regular prices. This is known as “trade discount.”

We often read of two or more discounts. A store keeper buys a bill of goods for $350 and is granted 20% and 5% from the selling price.

This does not mean a discount of 25% as the uninitiated might think. The 20% is deducted from the $350, that is, $70, leaving $280. Then the 5%, $14, is deducted from this, leaving $260.

Partial payments are not endorsed on the bill. The receipt is written on a separate piece of paper. It differs from the usual receipt in that the one is “in full payment” and the other “on account.”

Receipt no bill before it is actually paid.

Some one has translated the letters “C. O. D.” into “Come omejitly Down.” The Collect on Delivery usually accompanies goods sent by express.


A receipt for a partial payment:

Leavenworth, Kansas.
December 7, 1910.
Received from Charles Long seventy-five dollars on account.
Henry S. Somers.

A receipt in full:

San Diego, Cal.
July 27, 1910.
Received from N. O. Taylor, two hundred and sixty 75-100 dollars, in full payment to date. Samuel G. Novris.

Another form:

Portland, Me.
October 20, 1910.
Received from Thomas Moore, ten cords of hardwood, at $4.00 a cord, the sum to be applied to his account.
Daniel Forman.

In payment of rent:

Received from William Forbes seventeen dollars in full payment of rent of premises No. 24 West Street, for the month ending October 31, 1910.
Philip F. Ross.

Where one person pays for another:

Wilmington, Del.
August 17, 1910.
Received from Alfred Thompson eighty dollars to apply to the account of Hiram O. Wells.
Baker Jones & Co.,
per, S. N. Thorp.

Receipts and other documents signed with a mark X should be witnessed.

Payment on a note:

Bridgeport, Conn.
July 1, 1910.
Received from Casper N. Work one
hundred and fifty dollars to apply on the payment of his note to me for six hundred dollars, dated March 8, 1910.
Ruben Hoyt.

The maker of the note should, in addition to getting his receipt, have the amount of his payment endorsed on the back of the note by the holder.

Where a receipt is given to the administrator of an estate his position should be named as “Robert Fields, administrator of the estate of John Jones, deceased.”


An order is a command or instruction by one person to another to do a stated thing.

An order may be given for the delivery of goods or the payment of cash.

This is the usual form:

Dayton, Ohio.
August 3, 1910.
Mr. G. W. McBride:
Please deliver to Edward Lott goods from your store to the amount of ten dollars, and charge to my account.
F. T. Leroy.

This would be an order for cash:

Holden, Ind.
June 18, 1910.
Mr. P. T. Mayhew. Please pay to Thomas Jackson thirty dollars and charge same
to my account.
F. R. Wilson.


The customary form of a due bill is:

Durham, N. C.
May 1, 1910.
Due George Smith ten dollars, payable in merchandise from my store.
S. T. Long.



To have any value, business accounts, whether of a great or a small concern, must be accurately kept.

Every man and woman, having unsettled dealings with others, should keep some sort of book accounts.

Storekeepers must keep accounts, and every farmer and mechanic, who would know just what he owns and what he has spent during the past month and year, should keep an exact account of every cent received and paid out.

Lawyers and doctors know how to keep accounts, or if they do not they are neglecting their own side of their professional duties.

Workers, skilled and unskilled, and even the hired girl who is paid by the month, should keep a record of the compensation received, and how the whole or the part has been expended.

No woman can be called a really good housekeeper who does not know to a penny what has become of the money she has received for the upkeep of her establishment, whether she have a score of servants or does all her own work.

In order to keep such accounts, as have just been indicated, it is not necessary to be a trained bookkeeper, or to know anything more about the art than a good common school education gives.

Another word as to the farmer. I am not thinking in this connection of the old-time, deep-in-the-ruts farmer, who never learns and knows nothing to forget, but of that wide-awake producer who tries to keep up with the times.

Not only should the farmer keep cash accounts, the form may be quite simple, but all his business affairs should be kept in the best possible trim.

Personal agreements without some kind of writing to back them up, are dangerous.

Verbal contracts feed the lawyers.

All transactions involving labor or money should be recorded in black and white.

Don’t trust to your memory.

Don’t rely on the memory of another.


Every farmer should keep an account with each crop he raises and even with every field he cultivates.

Against the farm should be charged–

1. Its annual rental value.
2. What all the labor would cost if hired. 3. New machinery.
4. Wear, tear and repair of old machinery. 5. Taxes.
6. Insurance.
7. Doctor’s bills.
8. Interest on mortgage if any.
9. The cost of fodder, fuel, etc., consumed.

The farm should be credited with–

1. The rent.
2. The cost of everything produced and consumed on place. 3. The farm products sold.
4. The stock sold.
5. Increased value of stock.
6. Increased value of property, if any.

Such accounts you say will cause trouble; well, you cannot do anything of value without trouble. The question is will the effort pay? Those who keep such accounts say it does, and they are usually the successful, progressive farmers.


The working man, skilled or unskilled, and the working man’s wife as well, should keep some form of cash book that will show from week to week the receipts and expenditures.

One can be thrifty without being miserly.

Where did the money go?

Look at your book, where every cent expended has been set down, and you will be surprised to find how the little sums total up.

Look over the list of little things bought and you will be surprised to see how many were not needed.

Here is a simple form for a home record:

Cash Received
Jan. 2. Balance on hand………$45.50 ” 3. Work for Mr. Jones……. 1.75
” 3. Smith paid bill……… 13.75 ” 9. Work for Mr. Brown……. 7.50

Cash Paid
Jan. 2. Two shirts……………$1.50 ” 3. To wife for house…….. 8.50
” 4. Doctor C’s. bill……… 6.00 ” 5. Fare to Troy…………. 2.25
” 6. Horse car……………. .20 ” 6. Postage……………… .06
” 7. Church Contribution…… 1.00 ” 8. Shoes mended…………. 0.60
” 9. Newspaper bill……….. 1.00

Never “lump” what you receive or what you spend.

Set down each item separately, even to one cent.

When you have filled out each page of “received” and “paid” foot it up and carry it to the next page set apart for the purpose.

An account book will cost but a few cents. Use the left-hand side for receipts and the right for expenditures.

At any time the excess of the left hand over the right should show the amount on hand.

Strike a balance at least once a month.


Never mix up another’s accounts with your own.

John Smith, treasurer of some church, society, or club, is a different person before the law from John Smith, the trader or mechanic.

Funds not your own, and which may be added to or decreased from time to time, as in the case of a society, say like the Odd Fellows, should be kept in the bank not as John Smith’s but as the funds of “John Smith, Treasurer of Washington Lodge 110, Independent Order of Odd Fellows,” or whatever the name of the society, club, or church may be.

In the same way, “a treasurer’s book” should be kept and all the receipts and expenditures carefully recorded.


If a business proposition is made to another by mail, or if you hand another in writing your proposition as to a certain contract you are willing to undertake, for the consideration named, be sure to keep a copy of the letter or contract; such a precaution may save trouble.



No instrument of trade has done so much or is more essential to the safe and progressive business of the world today than the bank.

Every department of business, in our modern civilization, must keep in touch with the bank.

Money is the blood of trade and the banking system is its heart.

The bank is as necessary to the thrifty farmer as it is to the greatest railroad or the most wide-spread trust.

Banks are depositories for money not in circulation.

Banks have facilities for the safe-guarding of money which the ordinary business man could not provide for himself.

Instead of running the risk of paying bills with money carried about on his person, the business man, and every man with ready money should follow his example, deposits his money in a convenient bank, for which he receives a proper voucher in the shape of a credit in a deposit book.

When he pays a bill, he draws a check for the amount, payable to the order of his creditor. This check, when endorsed by the receiver and paid by the bank, is in itself a receipt for the money.


As I propose to say something about savings banks in another chapter, the present will be devoted to what are known as “banks of deposit.”

Banks of deposit are either National, State, or private.

A National bank is, as the name implies, chartered and incorporated by the Government, with special privileges and restrictions.

The Government in the organizing of National banks had in mind the protection of the public without unduly limiting the profit of the stockholders.

The sum the stockholders must contribute to the establishment of a National bank varies according to the population and the business importance of the place in which the bank is to be located.

The capital must exist in a prescribed form.

Certain forms of investment are prohibited, as for instance the ownership of real estate, except under certain restrictions.

This is done that the National bank may be able to convert its securities into cash in the shortest order.

In consideration of a prescribed amount of United States bonds, deposited with the Treasury in Washington, the Government issues to the National bank a prescribed sum in printed bank notes of varying denominations.

If the bank should close for any reason, the bank notes or their equivalent must be returned, when the bonds deposited as security are released.

Every bank must have a board of directors, a president and a cashier. Receiving and paying tellers, with bookkeepers, and many clerks are necessary to carry on the business of a large bank.

In addition, the National banks are under the supervision of regularly appointed Government inspectors.

A National bank may fail, but its notes are still “as good as gold.”


The bank not only receives money on deposit, but it loans money under certain conditions.

Many merchants, builders, contractors and others often find it necessary to borrow money in order to carry on their business successfully.

If a man’s business reputation is good, and the banks keep well posted in such matters, he may secure a loan on his own note, though even in such cases the name of a good endorser is required.

If in addition to his note the borrower can offer security in the way of bonds of good character, or other reliable collateral, he can usually be accommodated.

Of course, the banks charge interest for loans. They also make collections on notes and other commercial paper and they issue foreign and domestic bills of exchange.

Every man with a sum large or small in excess of his expenditures, should open a bank account. Even if not in business this will encourage thrift and lead to good business habits.


Some banks, particularly those known as “state” or “private,” and National banks in smaller communities, allow interest on deposits. This interest varies with the demand for money, but in the eastern states it seldom goes over four per cent.

It is well to know when interest begins and ends.

If the dates set by the bank for reckoning interest are the first day of January, April, July and October, money deposited March 31st will begin to draw interest next day, but if deposited April 2nd, it would not begin to draw interest till July 1st.

But if you have the money and would insure its safety, deposit it at once regardless of time or interest.

If a depositor withdraws his money before the day when interest is due, he forfeits the interest. But banks vary as to that.


Every depositor is given a book in which the teller or cashier credits him on the left-hand side with the amount deposited. Other deposits are treated in the same way, and at proper times, if interest is allowed, it is added as a deposit.

The depositor can provide his own check book, and have it printed in any color he pleases, with the name of himself and business on the margin. The bank, however, will supply loose bank checks of its own, or it may provide them in book form, with stubs, or a space on which the number, amount and purpose of the check may be noted for the drawer’s information.

“Writing up” of the deposit book is leaving it with the proper officer at the bank–a receipt for the book is never taken. It is returned with all the checks received, and their amount footed up on the right hand or debit page, and the balance on hand shown.

Every depositor should know from the record on the check stubs exactly how his account stands with the bank.

Take care that you do not overdraw.

Keep your own record of your own money.


In the Commercial banks of our large cities no interest is allowed, nor could it be easily calculated where a score of deposits may be made in a week and a hundred checks drawn in a day.

The depositor in such a bank is free to check out his funds as he pleases.

Before opening an account there is more than money needed from the depositor. If unknown, he must satisfy the bank of his character, which is best done through the introduction of one known to both.

Some banks make a charge for deposits, where a man makes a convenience of them by depositing money which he checks out in a short time.

A depositor, when opening an account with a bank is required to place his signature in a book kept for the purpose. Until the bank officer, the paying teller, becomes familiar with the signature on the check, he verifies it by comparing it with that in the book.


A check may be defined to be “a written order on a bank directing it to pay a certain sum of money to the person named in the check or to his order, and signed by a depositor.”

So long as the purpose is clearly conveyed in the writing no particular form of words is necessary, nor need the paper on which the check is written be the regular printed form properly filled in.

The “drawer” is the one who makes the check.

The “payee” is the one for whom the check is made.

In making a check, the best plan is to fill out the stub first, and from the data on it make out the check. This tends to accuracy.

Be sure to number your check, beginning with I.

Be sure that the number on the stub is the same as on the check.

A person having money in bank and wishing to draw for his own use, makes his check payable to “self” or to “cash.”

Usual form of check:

First National Bank. No. 27
Kingston, Vt., Oct. 13, 1910. Pay to order of John Smith
Seventy-five 75/100 —— dollars. $75.75 George F. Brown.

It is proper form to specify on the face of the check the purpose for which it is given, but while this is permissible it is not usual.

Write the amount of the check first in words then in figures. This makes more certain the amount.

Always begin first word of amount close to left-hand side of check; when the whole sum is written down draw a heavy stroke along the line to the word “dollars.”

When a check is made payable to John Smith or order, John Smith must sign his name on the back of the check–left-hand end and about an inch from the top.

Never sign a check until you are ready to collect, or to bank it.

The payee can endorse the check to another by writing on the back as follows:

Pay to the order of
Thomas Brown.
John Smith.

A check payable to “bearer” may be negotiated by any one. When such checks are presented by a stranger, at the bank of the maker, the paying teller always insists that the stranger be identified.

Never make a check payable to “bearer” if it can be avoided.

Sometimes checks are dated ahead, for reasons satisfactory to the maker and payee.

A check drawn on August 5th, but dated August 20th cannot be collected till the latter date.

Never date a check ahead unless you are positive that you will have the money in bank to meet it on the day named.

Never, if you can avoid it in trade, receive a post-dated check.

Cash or deposit your checks as soon as possible after they are received.

If the bank should fail, while you are holding the check, the maker cannot be held for the loss.


Often when a depositor is travelling, he finds it convenient to carry with him a form of paper that is as good as cash, and much better in the event of loss.

Banks will issue “certified checks” to depositors. These checks are stamped by the bank “certified” with the date and officer’s signature attached.

On issuing such a check, the bank debits the receiver’s account with the amount, and so can guarantee the payment whenever or wherever presented.

Such a check may be received with as much certainty of its value as if it were a bank bill.

When a person places money in a bank with no intention of checking it out for some time to come, he may have issued to him a “Certificate of deposit.”

While holding this certificate he cannot check against the money in the bank.

The holder of a certificate of deposit may transfer it.

The money may be paid in part by the bank, if the certificate is presented, and the amount is endorsed on the back.

To withdraw all the money the certificate must be surrendered.


There is no form of commercial paper in such general use as the check.

The total of all the checks in use at some seasons is far more than the total of all the money in all the banks.

Checks are balanced in the money centers through what are known as clearing houses. In these a bank is charged with checks against it and credited with those in its favor.

The differences are settled by cash.

Often a few thousand dollars will settle check accounts amounting to millions.

If by any chance you should receive a check in which your name is misspelled, or not given as you write it, endorse the check exactly as the name is written on the face, then add your name in the regular way.



While of National importance, savings banks are chartered by the respective states in which they exist, and as such are distinctly local institutions.

Unlike the National, the savings bank is not established as a money-making corporation.

The ostensible and actual purpose of the savings bank is to encourage people of small means to save.

The savings bank provides a safe place for the care of such deposits, and it pays such rates of interest on such deposits as are warranted by the earnings of its investments after paying the expenses incident to the proper conduct of its officers.

When a savings bank receives authorization to act, through a charter from the state, the organizers choose a board of directors and the proper officers.

Usually the officers occupying positions of trust and responsibility are required to give bonds for the proper discharge of their duties.


With all the legal conditions complied with, and a suitable office provided, the savings bank is ready for business.

Some savings banks will receive on deposit any sum from five cents to five thousand dollars.

Other banks will not receive less than one dollar at a time, nor more than a thousand.

We have heard of “penny savings banks,” but they are rarely chartered, and are organized, only to encourage thrift among children.

Fractional parts of a dollar are not usually reckoned as drawing interest.

Some banks require as much as three, four or five dollars before allowing interest.

Savings banks in the eastern states pay from three to four per cent. In the west it is sometimes as high as six.

Each bank has certain dates at which calculation of interest begins. As a rule this is January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st.

Money deposited at any time between these dates does not draw interest till the beginning of the next quarter.

But never mind the interest.

The best time to make a deposit is when you have the money.

The bank is safer than your pocket.


Count your money carefully and make a memorandum of the amount before giving to the savings bank to deposit.

Hand the money to the officer–usually “the receiving teller”– authorized to receive it.

The teller writes down the name, age, occupation and residence of the depositor.

If money is deposited in the name of one under legal age, the names of the parents and the birthplace of the minor are also recorded.

The adult depositor must write his name in a book provided by the bank for the signature of clients.

When these conditions are complied with, the depositor receives a memorandum book, known as a “deposit book”, in which, with his name and date, is written the amount of his first deposit.