Title page from 'Book-keeping methodiz'd' by John Mair (Edinburgh, 1736). [Library shelfmark: ICAS.537]
John Mair's 'Book-keeping methodiz'd' was the standard accounting text in Great Britain and North America for over 50 years.
It was also, arguably, the most popular bookkeeping text of the 18th century.
Mair was an Assistant Master at the Grammar School at Ayr and later the Rector of Perth Academy.
He attempted, through succeeding editions, to make his book ever more complete and relevant to contemporary business needs. These amendments meant that by the 8th and final edition the text had doubled from its original size.
After Mair's death in 1769 the title was changed to 'Bookkeeping modernized' and another 9 editions appeared over the next 35 years.
American President George Washington kept a copy of Mair's work in the library of his plantation at Mount Vernon, Virginia.