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Lorenzo Dow Frost and Samuel Sweet ciphering books

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S2120

Scope and Contents

This collection includes two ciphering books used to practice mathematical operations, such as addition, subtraction, reductions, federal money, dry measure, and decimals. The first book has entries ranging from 1826 to 1828 and belonged to Lorenzo Dow Frost. There are a few other names that have been added to the book, including Samuel Sweet. There are a few loose papers that were inserted into the volume and these include two pages regarding a St. Valentine's Day poem from 1860. The back of the volume has a notation that identifies Frost as being from Hanover Township, Columbiana County, Ohio.

The second ciphering book belonged to Samuel Sweet and contains entries ranging from 1836 to 1841. The first few pages of the volume were used by Sweet as a copybook. There are several places in the volume and on the back cover where Sweet wrote "Miami County, Ohio." A Stephen Sweets also used the cipher book to practice penmanship, including copying the sentence "Stephen Sweets writing book Lake Allen 1848" and later dating a practice page with the year 1849.


  • 1826-1860

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

Ciphering books were notebooks containing mathematical definitions, rules, examples, problems and exercises from basic arithmetic to more complex mathematical equations. Written in ink and copied by students, often from the teacher's book, the books were the student's textbooks during their school years and could also be used later in life as a reference book.


Rauner Special Collections Library. "Ciphering Books." Accessed December 28, 2020.


0.02 Cubic Feet (2 folders)

Language of Materials



This volumes in this collection are arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a records transfer from the Indiana State Library main catalog in 1938 from a donation received on 1925/12/04.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2020/12/29 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2020/12/29 by Laura Eliason.
Lorenzo Dow Frost and Samuel Sweet ciphering books
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.