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Old Senate Ledger

Probably the oldest book of consecutive accounts kept by government officers," noted an 1885 newspaper article, "is a time-worn volume kept in the office of General Anson G. McCook, secretary of the senate." Marked S-1, this financial ledger records nearly a century of salary and mileage payments to senators, from 1790 to 1881. Samuel Otis, the first secretary of the Senate, began keeping the ledger in 1791, and McCook, recognizing the ledger's importance, had it restored and rebound in 1884. Future employees were not so careful. In the early 1960s, S-1 and nearly 60 other financial ledgers were stored in the basement of the Capitol, and then forgotten. Rediscovered in late 2002, this collection is a unique treasure of Senate history. S-1 was digitized by the Library of Congress and then transferred to the National Archives for preservation.