As a newly minted lawyer in the late nineteenth century, what did you need–and how much did it cost–to set yourself up as a solo practitioner in Boston? The Library has recently acquired a lawyer’s manuscript expense book that provides an answer. W. Frederick Kimball (1851 – 1915) practiced law in Boston from 1878 until the beginning of World War I. After graduating from Harvard College in 1875 and studying briefly with attorney Alfred Hemenway, he enrolled in the recently opened Boston University Law School where he received his LL.B in 1877. Kimball was admitted to the Suffolk County bar on February 18, 1878 and began his practice a week later. His accounting ledger records the financial details of the first six years of his practice; in his first year, Kimball generated nearly $624 in fees, and by his fifth year was earning more than $2,500 in fees.
The first two pages of the ledger list Kimball’s expenses incurred in renting and furnishing an office in the Adams Building, 23 Court Street, Boston:
Post submitted by Dave Warrington
Special Collections Librarian