Behind the counter in the Public Office.
The Collector's Public Office in the Custom House housed the port's records and was the office where duties were paid by merchants and captains. At the large counter, merchants and ship captains would file ship enrollments, crew lists, manifests, and other forms that Customs required. Behind the desk, clerks recorded information related to incoming and outgoing cargos. In the days before photocopying machines, all the information related to a trading voyage had to be copied by hand into large ledgers. Good handwriting was an important skill for an office worker in the nineteenth century.