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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

Women's wages by occupation, 1860-1869

Occupations for womenFind 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 KENTUCKY

WAGES in MASSACHUSETTS

WAGES in MISSOURI

WAGES in MINNESOTA

WAGES in MONTANA

WAGES in NEW HAMPSHIRE

WAGES in NEVADA

WAGES in NEW YORK

WAGES in OHIO

WAGES in PENNSYLVANIA

  • Wages by industry - Pennsylvania, 1860-1874
    Pages 118-120 show the averages wages for various occupations in farming, mechanical labor, cotton mills, iron-rolling mills, and iron foundries and machine shops. The time schedule of these wages varies by industry recorded. Source: 3rd AR of the Secretary of Internal Affairs of 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 GERMANY and PRUSSIA, 1860s

WAGES in IRELAND, 1860s

WAGES in RUSSIA, 1860s

WAGES in SCOTLAND, 1860s

WAGES in SPAIN, 1860s

WAGES in SWEDEN, 1860s

Foreign 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.

Travel & transportation costs, 1860s

Note: See also the "MULTIPLE" tab (above) for additional railroad fares.

Note: See also the "MULTIPLE" tab (above) for additional stagecoach fares.

Hotel rates found advertised in newspapers and travel guides.

Food prices by state, 1860-1869

Housing, farm and land prices, 1860-1869

1867 cottage


This 1866 cottage could be fully completed
for $1,200 in New York, or for $400 to $500
further west. 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

Land prices

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

More prices in the US, 1860-1869

TOOLS, IMPLEMENTS etc.

CLOTHING prices

PRICES for ANIMALS

COMMUNICATION rates

EDUCATION tuition and expenses

HAIRCUT PRICES, 1860s

  • 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

NOTE: A family of six living in New York City would require at least 2 bushels (152 pounds) of coal each week, according to estimates published in July 1864.  Source

See tabbed box below.

MISCELLANEOUS prices, 1860s

READING and RECREATION

Health and medicine prices, 1860s

Consumer expenditures, 1860-1869

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

The following links to wholesale price sources may be helpful to some researchers.

Prices in foreign countries, 1860-1869

Economic analysis and calculators, 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

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Marie Concannon, Government Information Librarian
Government Documents Department, Ellis Library
University of Missouri, Columbia
Email: concannonm@missouri.edu
Phone (573) 882-0748