The Bookkeeping Department

Cartoon of women working in Olmsted office
Cartoon showing some of the clerical staff, including Frances Dolan, ca. 1910

Olmsted Archives, FRLA 15821 Olmsted Employee Scrapbook, FRLA 15821-295

Frances Dolan

When Frances Dolan started out as a bookkeeper with the firm in 1906, much of her work was done by hand.However, the Olmsteds were keeping up with the latest technology that mechanized work. New machines sped up office tasks and made them more efficient. The Olmsteds purchased a bookkeeping machine and an adding machine among others and found them a worthy investment. In 1913, secretary Helen Bullard or one of the partners reported that
"The adding machine has proven a great help and a valuable addition to the equipment of the department. We have, with its help, been able to get together much information of value which would have otherwise been lost on account of the expense of getting such information by other means."

Elliott-Fisher machine
The Elliott-Fisher bookkeeping machine helped the bookkeepers keep track of time slips.

Being a bookkeeper also had its share of frustrations. Frances Dolan was in charge of sending bills out to clients, but first she needed to wait for cost cards to be filled out by the partners. However, the partners often took their time. Still, Frances kept the firm organized from a business standpoint. As head bookkeeper Dolan earned more than most women in her position at the time and stayed with the firm until 1956.

office memo typed on paper
The Olmsteds came up with many office procedures that affected the clerical staff.

Olmsted Archives, FRLA 46527 Office Memoranda Vol III, 1890-1979, FRLA 46527-03-42

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Last updated: January 13, 2016

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