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The accountants' directory for 1877

The accountants' directory for 1877 compiled by Alfred Harper and published by Williams & Strahan provides a snapshot of the membership of the first professional bodies for accountancy in the 1870s, just a few years before the establishment of the ICAEW. It includes details of members from a number of professional bodies before they merged to form the institutes we know today.

The directory

Title page

List of accountants

The Institutes

The directory also contained 'advertisements' which listed the members of councils for each of the Institutes.


The profession in the 1870s

The first professional bodies were established in Edinburgh and Glasgow (1853) and Aberdeen (1866). These were followed by the Incorporated Society of Liverpool Accountants (1870), the Institute of Accountants (1870), Manchester Institute of Accountants (1871) and the Society of Accountants (1872). Another society was established in Sheffield during 1877, but this falls after the compilation date for this edition of the directory.

The directory

The first edition of the combined diary and directory was published in December 1874 and subsequently revised on an annual basis. At first the title was published with a diary but this was dropped for the 1877 edition (published in December 1876).

In 1879 it was announced that the proprietors of 'The Accountant' had reached agreement with Alfred Harper for the transfer of his rights to the title. As a result, GEE & Co, took over producing and publishing the title with effect from the 1880 edition. From the 1883 edition GEE & Co offered the publication with a choice of content combinations (ie. diary on its own, diary with directory). In time, this became 'The Accountants' Diary' and was published without a directory.

Alfred Harper

Alfred Cotton Harper was secretary to the Society of Accountants in England at the time of the announcement and in 1880 became one of the first council members of the ICAEW as well as a partner in the founder firm of E Norton Harper & Sons, London (1873). In 1921-22 he became Vice-President of the ICAEW. Alfred Harper was the last surviving member of the first council of the ICAEW when he died at the age of 80 on 27th November 1930. 'The Accountant' carried an autobiographical article (with accompanying portrait photograph) about his early working life shortly after the announcement of his death.

Where can I see other editions of 'The Accountants' Diary & Directory'?

The ICAEW Library & Information Service only holds one edition of this directory (1877) and the British Library holds the editions for 1875, 1876 and 1886. At present we are not aware of any sources for the other editions.

See Also

Membership Lists
Family History


If you have any questions about our collection of lists of members or how we can help you please contact the enquiry team by phone on +44(0)20 7920 8620 or by email at library@icaew.com