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Charles Ezra Sprague (October 9, 1842 – March 21, 1912) was an American accountant, born in Nassau, Rensselaer County, New York. He was known as a Civil War hero, and as a proponent of the constructed language Volapük, for which he authored the first major textbook in English, Handbook of Volapük (1888), as well as an early organizer of the accounting profession.

During the Civil War, Sprague served in the 44th New York Infantry, seeing action at the Battle of Gettysburg, where his unit was instrumental in helping repulse attacks on Little Round Top. The New York State Archives stores a lengthy article Sprague wrote on his military service.

He was president of both the New York Institute of Accounts and the Union Dime Savings Bank (which would later become the Dime Savings Bank). Later in life, he was involved in the movement for reform of English spelling as part of the Simplified Spelling Board, of which he was the first treasurer.[1]

He was heavily involved in the development of the first state certification of accountants in the United States.[2]

In 1953 he was inducted into Ohio State University's Accounting Hall of Fame.

Sprague was the maternal grandfather of science fiction author L. Sprague de Camp.[3]


  1. ^ "SIMPLE SPELLERS START WITH 300 PRUNED WORDS; They Want to Avoid Scaring People at First. NOT REFORMERS, THEY INSIST Col. Sprague Thinks Many Persons Object to the Term -- Some Publishers and Editors Enlisted.", The New York Times, March 13, 1906. Accessed August 28, 2008.
  2. ^ Miranti
  3. ^ De Camp, L. Sprague. "Talking to Ghosts." Article in The New York Times, April 7, 1985, p. SM38.


  • Miranti, Paul J. "Birth of a Profession". The CPA Journal. (1996). On-line version retrieved on 4 January 2008.

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