Limit your search to

Creation Dates

1760 - 2009



Index Rerum

Mathematics & computer scienceThere are 7 items

  • American Mathematical Textbooks 1760-1850


    A substantial collection of American textbooks of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry, including representative selections of primers combining lessons in spelling, reading, and writing with arithmetic, designated for use in schools, academies, and lyceums; textbooks of natural philosophy, astronomy, and mathematical geography specified for use in colleges; and ready-reckoners and other books of tables intended for tradesmen. Although textbooks for all levels of instruction are offered, the collection is strongest in those prepared for use in elementary and secondary schools. The reform of mathematical education through the introduction of “Pestalozzian” or child-centred methods of instruction is thus amply documented.

    The collection was built using as a guide Louis C. Karpinski’s magisterial Bibliography of mathematical works printed in America through 1850 (Ann Arbor 1940, with three supplements published 1941-1954). Karpinski investigated the holdings of more than one hundred libraries and found that nine had purposefully collected in this field. According to his tabulated analysis, our collection would have occupied sixth rank, nearly approximating the holdings of Columbia University, exceeding those of Boston Public Library and New York Public Library.

    We offer 269 different works, plus 192 subsequent editions, for a total of 511 printed books, and in addition five manuscript ciphering and exercise books. Thirty-three eighteenth-century books are offered, fifty-five printed 1801-1810, sixty-five printed 1811-1820, ninety-five printed 1821-1830, 129 printed 1831-1840, 124 printed 1841-1850, and ten printed post-1850. Forty-one books in the collection are editions not recorded by Karpinski. Twenty-six books represent editions not yet recorded in the American Bibliography 1801-1819 (New York 1958-1966) and Checklist of American Imprints 1820-1844 (New York, Metuchen & London 1964-1993), the principal bibliographical tools available for the study of nineteenth-century American books. Another seventeen books in the collection have imprints different to those stated in the Checklist.

    With few exceptions, the books are offered in original condition and in original bindings, and the collection is thus of interest also to historians of the book. Textbooks published in the period before 1820 commonly were offered in three styles of binding: scaleboard (a shingle of wood, backed with leather, finished with either blue paper or marbled paper on covers), leather-backed boards covered by marbled paper, and full leather. In this collection, twenty books are in scaleboard bindings, forty-five in paper boards finished with marbled paper, and 259 in full-leather, the most expensive (and durable) binding. About 1820, a type of publishers’ binding with printed covers became popular. Eighty-nine books are in such bindings, the earliest published in 1815, and several of these binding contribute valuable bibliographical evidence. A few books still retain coverings in cloth and paper fashioned by pupils to protect them from wear.

    As a rule, textbooks have been inscribed, drawn-on, or otherwise marked, more consistently than most books, by readers who are not usually purchasers. Few owners failed to write at least their names on the endleaves; many pupils added incantations against borrowers and thieves of books, sentimental verses of affection to other students, comments upon their classmates and teachers, drawings, rubbings of coins, pen trails and scrolls. Textbooks preserved in libraries are routinely rebound and this evidence of ownership discarded, to the detriment of scholarship.

    For example, forty books in this collection have ownership inscriptions by girls. When mathematics became inserted in the elementary curriculum, it was taught to boys and girls alike, however girls did not progress to study algebra and geometry. Ownership entries in books in this collection suggests that the moment of transition, when the stereotype of the non-mathematical feminine mind eroded sufficiently for algebra and geometry to be taught to girls, occurred about 1840. This early date contradicts suppositions about the elementary curriculum made recently by several historians.

  • Karpinski (Louis Charles), 1878-1956

    Ann Arbor & London, University of Michigan Press / Oxford University Press, 1940
    (28 cm), (2) xxvi, 697 (1) pp., 905 facsimiles of titles and other pages. Publisher’s blue cloth. - The bibliography documents the impressive rise of mathematical knowledge in the United States through the publication of textbooks of arithmetic and algebra, geometry, trigonometry, analytical geometry, calculus, etc. 1092 separate publications are listed, and 1906 subsequent editions, in chronological order of the first editions. ¶ Exlibris of William P. Wreden (1910-1995); Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 5 October 1995, lot 201. Binding slightly worn at head and tail of the spine; small spot on upper cover; stain on lower endpaper; otherwise a good copy. Loosely inserted are photocopies of three supplements, published by Karpinski in Scripta mathematica, volumes 8 (1941-1942), 11 (1945), 20 (1954).
  • Drake (Stillman), 1910-1993; Drabkin (Israel Edward), 1905-1965, editors

    Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1969
    (24 cm), xii, 428 (2) pp., illustrations. Publisher’s cloth, dust jacket. - The preface places the four writers in the framework of previous scientific tradition. Attention is paid also to Federico Commandino, Girolamo Cardano, Bernardino Baldi. ¶ Excellent, unmarked copy.
  • Rose (Paul Lawrence)

    Geneva, Librairie Droz, 1975
    (26 cm), xiii (1), 316 (2) pp. Publisher’s red cloth (no dust jacket issued). - An account of the recovery of ancient mathematics – the search for manuscripts of Euclid, Archimedes, Pappus, Diophantus, and others, and how these texts were put into the hands of the public. 364 manuscripts are mentioned in the text, and listed in an appendix. “This book is a bibliographic treasure house, a complete guide to the literature of mathematical erudition… If we wish to know what texts of the mathematical classics were available at any given time or place in Renaissance Italy, or to learn who was interested in such matters at any given time or place, or to discover who taught, who studied, and what they did next, we shall in future have only to turn to Rose” (A.G. Keller, in The British Journal for the History of Science, volume 11, 1978, pp.289-290). First edition. Publisher’s retail price €75 (; link). ¶ Excellent copy.
  • Randell (Brian)

    Arlington, VA, American Federation of Information Processing Societies, 1979
    (28 cm), original issue of Annals of the History of Computing, volume 1 (October 1979). Publisher’s printed wrappers. - “The bibliography [pp.81-208] contains nearly 750 annotated and indexed citations to papers, books, and other items relating to the origins of the modern electronic computer. The topics covered range from early digital calculating devices and mechanical automata to the first stored program computers. New entries were added up to June, 1979” (author’s abstract). “This was the first complete bibliography on the subject of computing’s history to be published” (James W. Cortada, A Bibliographic guide to the history of computing, New York 1990, p.13). ¶ Upper wrapper strongly light-stained; otherwise a fine, unmarked copy.
  • Riccardi (Pietro), 1828-1898

    Sala Bolognese, Arnaldo Forni Editore, 1985
    Two volumes (25 cm), c. 1300 pp. (multiple sequences, set in double columns), portrait-frontispiece (vol. I). Publisher’s blue cloth (no dust jackets issued). - Facsimile reprint of edition Modena 1870-1893, adding the final supplement published Modena 1928. ¶ Excellent, unmarked copy.
  • Tomash (Erwin), 1921-2012; Williams (Michael R.), born 1942

    [Novato, CA], The author, 2009
    Three volumes (27 cm), x, 1573 pp., c. 4000 illustrations. Publisher’s printed wrappers, pictorial slipcase. - An alphabetical catalogue of more than 3000 documents relevant to the history of computation, from Bruno Abdank-Abakanowicz’s Les intégraphes (1886), to the German computer pioneer Konrad Zuse’s description of the various Zuse computers (1950). “Computation” is broadly defined and includes logic, mathematical methods, tables, logarithms, trigonometry, and mechanical aids (including sectors, abaci, quadrants, astrolabes, and slide rules), as well as punched-card machines and computers. The chronological range is correspondingly wide, from 1180 (a manuscript accredited to Mubashshir Ibn Ahmad Al-Razi; ex-Sotheby’s, London, sale 26 April 1995, lot 53) to 1955 (up to and including the first generation of electronic stored-program computers). The catalogue contains short essays on specific devices and methods: astrolabes, logarithms and slide rules, Napier’s rods, nomography, sectors, surveying instruments, and ready reckoners. Reviewed by Jon Agar, in Isis, volume 101 (2010), pp.637-639. Cf. Michael R. Williams, “Building a world-class book collection: the Tomash Library” in IEEE annals of the history of computing, volume 23 (2001), pp.39-43. ¶ As new.