Today is the birthday of Samuel Griswold Goodrich, an American writer who wrote under the pseudonym Peter Parley (August 19, 1793-May 9, 1860). He was a very prolific writer, of mostly non-fiction and children’s books, with around 170 titles, with an estimated sales total of around 8,000,000 copies of his books sold during his lifetime. One of his most popular titles, “Peter Parley’s Geography for Children,” is believed to have sold 2,000,000 copies alone! He also published magazines, such as “The Token,” almanacs and much more.
One of his books, Peter Parley’s Illustrations of Commerce, was published in 1849. It’s essentially a dictionary of goods that can be sold which Goodrich defines in the beginning of his Preface as “the exchange of commodities for other articles, or for some representative of value, or for which other commodities can be procured.” There are short entries defining and describing a wide range of items under that loose definition. Not surprisingly, a few of them are about beer or the ingredients that are used to brew it. His books were aimed at a general audience, rather than brewers or others knowledgeable about beer, so they definitions are interesting when viewed in that context.