Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Prices and Wages by Decade: 1860-1869

Links to government documents and primary sources listing retail prices for products and services, as well as wages for common occupations.

Wages in the United States, 1860-1869

Civil War pay, 1861-1865

Battle flag
  • Army pay for generals, colonels, lieutenants, majors, sergeants, captains, corporals, artificers, musicians, chaplains and privates. Source: Confederate States Almanac (1862)
  • Pay for officers, enlisted men, medical department personnel and general staff as well as blacksmiths, carriage makers, armorers and more in Digest of the military and naval laws of the Confederate States... published 1864, pp. 28-31.

Wages by occupation, 1860-1869

A

B

C

D

E-F

G

H

FARM WAGES

H-I

K

L

  • Laborers - BLS Bulletin no. 499
  • Lawyers - "The common charge for ordinary professional labor by lawyers is $3 (per day) and expenses, and in all cases extra ability commands a far greater sum," quoted in an 1860 Vermont school report, p. 101.
  • Leather worker wages  in Special report on immigration (1869)

M

P

Potters earned 25¢/hr.
in Massachusetts, 1865

Textile worker tending a carding engine, 1860s Source: Book of Trades

T

V

  • Veterinarians 
    An 1860 Vermont school report indicates that a "horse doctor" would expect to earn at least $2 daily, see p. 101. 

W

Wages by sex and occupation, 1860-1869

Occupations for womenSee women's pay
in Virginia Penny's
1863 book.


The 1863 book Employments of women: a cyclopaedia of woman's work 
is replete with earnings estimates.  The author, Virginia Penny, collected data during 1859-1863 by visiting establishments in and around NYC, Mass. and eastern Penn. (more info), but also provides some data for southern states. Read more about this project in "Work for women," a newspaper article dated Feb 15, 1893.

Click the tabs above for direct links to occupations.  The data presented here is from Penny's book unless otherwise noted.

Wages by state, 1860-1869

WAGES in ARIZONA

WAGES in CALIFORNIA

WAGES in the DISTRICT of COLUMBIA

WAGES in DELAWARE

WAGES in IDAHO

WAGES in MASSACHUSETTS

WAGES in MISSOURI

WAGES in MINNESOTA

WAGES in MONTANA

WAGES in NEW HAMPSHIRE

WAGES in NEW YORK

WAGES in OHIO

WAGES in PENNSYLVANIA

  • Women working in Philadelphia earned an average weekly wage of $4.50, though some were paid as much as $7.00 or $8.00 a week. SourceThe Employments of Women: A Cyclopædia of Woman's Work by Virginia Penny.

Foreign wages by country, then occupation - 1860-1869

WAGES in GREAT BRITAIN, 1860s

WAGES in AUSTRALIA, 1860s

WAGES in BELGIUM, 1860s

WAGES in FRANCE, 1860s

WAGES in IRELAND, 1860s

WAGES in SCOTLAND, 1860s

WAGES in SPAIN, 1860s

WAGES in SWEDEN, 1860s

International wages by occupation (A - Z), 1860-1869

Source: 15th Annual Report of the U.S. Commissioner of Labor: A Compilation of wages in commercial countries from official sourcesvolume 1 and volume 2 (published 1900). All wage data is cited back to the original government source through report numbers; see the key to report numbers here.

Economic analysis and calculators, 1860s

Ask a Question

Reference service is available Monday - Friday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Marie Concannon, Government Information Librarian
Government Documents Department
106B Ellis Library (1st Floor East)
University of Missouri, Columbia
Phone (573) 882-0748

Food prices by state, 1860-1869

PRICES for FOOD, 1860s

Housing, farm and land prices, 1860-1869

1867 cottage


This cottage could be fully completed
for $1,200 in New York, or for $400 to $500
further west in the Fall of 1866. Floor plans in: 
Woodward's cottages and farm houses,
published 1867, pp. 18-19.

Alabama

Arkansas

Arizona Territory

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Dakota

District of Columbia

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Iowa

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maryland

Massachusetts

Maine

Michigan

Missouri

Minnesota

Montana Territory

Mississippi

North Carolina

Nebraska

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico Territory

Nevada

New York

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

This Texas dwelling was built in 1867 near Pilot Point.  Photo taken in 1885.
Source: University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, Special Collections.

Utah

Virginia

Vermont

Washington Territory

Wisconsin

West Virginia

Travel & transportation costs in the US, 1860s

Hotel rates found advertised in newspapers and travel guides.

More prices in the United States, 1860-1869

TOOLS, etc., 1860s

CLOTHING prices, 1860s

PRICES for ANIMALS, 1860s

COMMUNICATION rates, 1860s

EDUCATIONAL expenses, 1860s

PRICES for SERVICES, 1860s

SHAVE and HAIRCUT PRICES

  • 1861
    • Nevada -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
  • 1863
    • Ohio -- Haircut 15¢, shave 10¢ (source)
  • 1865
    • Virginia -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
  • 1866
    • California -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
    • Iowa -- Haircut, 35¢ reduced to 25¢ in March 1866 (source)
    • Ohio -- Haircut 20¢, shave 10¢ (source)
    • Virginia -- Haircut 15¢, shave 10¢ (source)
  • 1867
    • California -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
    • Tennessee -- Haircut 35¢, shave 15¢ (source)
    • South Carolina -- Haircut 35¢, shave 15¢ (source)
    • Virginia -- Haircut 25¢, shave 10¢ (source)
  • 1868
    • California -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
    • Tennessee -- Haircut 35¢, shave 15¢ (source)
    • Maine -- Shave 10¢ (source)
    • Mississippi -- Haircut 35¢, shave 15¢ (source)
  • 1869
    • Washington DC -- Haircut and shave together, 25¢ (source)
    • South Carolina -- Haircut 25¢, shave 15¢ (source)
  • Women's haircuts in New York
    • Most hair dressers charge between 50¢ and $1.50 to cut and dress hair. Special occasions such as a bride's hair could cost $5.00 or more. 

MISC.

FUEL prices, 1860s

See tabbed box below.

MISCELLANEOUS prices, 1860s

READING and RECREATION

Health care prices in the US, 1860s

Consumer expenditures, 1860-1869

Wholesale prices in the U.S., 1860-1869

Our site focuses on retail rather than wholesale prices, but it can be a challenge to find retail prices during the Civil War.  Prices could vary greatly from place to place..  The following links to wholesale prices may be helpful to some researchers.

Prices in foreign countries, 1860-1869

Prices in AUSTRALIA, 1860s

Prices in BELGIUM, 1860s

Prices in INDIA, 1860s

Prices in IRELAND, 1860s

Prices in ITALY, 1860s

Prices in SPAIN, 1860s

Prices in SWEDEN, 1860s

Prices in GREAT BRITAIN, 1860s

Timeline -- Major economic events of the 1860s

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1861 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1862 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1863 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1864 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1865 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1866 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1867 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1868 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1869 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.

Legend