William Blaisdell cyphering book

Image from William Blaisdell cyphering book, 1808

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: William Blaisdell cyphering book (Vault MSS 427). This item is a handwritten book of calculations belonging to Blaisdell (spelled Blasdel in the book) of Cambridge, Vermont, when he was a school teacher and young man. Also included are genealogical lists and notes about the life of Blaisdell. The book was partially damaged by fire prior to being donated to BYU. Dated 1808.

William Blaisdell, also spelled Blasdel, was born on November 1, 1783, in Weare, Hillsborough, New Hampshire to Jonathan Blaisdell III and Merriam Blaisdell. When he was about thirteen years old, William moved to Vermont with his mother and siblings, his father having died when he was two years old. On August 18, 1816, William married Miriam or Mary Mudgett in Cambridge, Vermont, and they had six children together. In Cambridge, William was a successful farmer and school teacher. He is known to have been knowledgeable of arithmetic, and tested whiskey and “high wines.” When he died he left a considerable estate. William Blaisdell died on January 24, 1863, in Cambridge, Vermont.

A note of interest is that Blaisdell was a school teacher at the same time Joseph Smith was living in Vermont, and is an example of the types of items used by teachers of the early 19th Century.

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