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Jacob R. Elfreth Sr. was a teacher and a bookkeeper for the Leigh Navigation Company. The majority of entries detail family news, Quaker meetings, Elfreth's work with the Leigh Navigation Company, and births, deaths, and marriages within the Quaker community,
The first pages of William G. Rhoads's diary ask a series of questions concerning moral behavior and manners, which Rhoads subsequently answers in each entry. Entries also detail Rhoads's apprenticeship as a book keeper, social calls, and Quaker meetings he attended.