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Mathematical Works Printed in the Americas, 1554–1700

Bruce Stanley Burdick

Publication Year: 2009

This magisterial annotated bibliography of the earliest mathematical works to be printed in the New World challenges long-held assumptions about the earliest examples of American mathematical endeavor. Bruce Stanley Burdick brings together mathematical writings from Mexico, Lima, and the English colonies of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York. The book provides important information such as author, printer, place of publication, and location of original copies of each of the works discussed. Burdick’s exhaustive research has unearthed numerous examples of books not previously cataloged as mathematical. While it was thought that no mathematical writings in English were printed in the Americas before 1703, Burdick gives scholars one of their first chances to discover Jacob Taylor’s 1697 Tenebrae, a treatise on solving triangles and other figures using basic trigonometry. He also goes beyond the English language to discuss works in Spanish and Latin, such as Alonso de la Vera Cruz's 1554 logic text, the Recognitio Summularum; a book on astrology by Enrico Martínez; books on the nature of comets by Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora and Eusebio Francisco Kino; and a 1676 almanac by Feliciana Ruiz, the first woman to produce a mathematical work in the Americas. Those fascinated by mathematics, its history, and its culture will note with interest that many of these works, including all of the earliest ones, are from Mexico, not from what is now the United States. As such, the book will challenge us to rethink the history of mathematics on the American continents.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Series: Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Mathematics


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List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book has been shaped by many people. Back in 1996, my good friend Ed Sandifer gave me the idea of doing something with Spanish colonial mathematics books, and he has been involved all along the way. He was there the first time I requested rare books from a library, and he taught me what to look for; he read several early drafts of this book and provided valu- ...

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pp. 1-18

At the 1932 meeting of the American Historical Association in Toronto, Herbert Eugene Bolton gave a speech entitled “The Epic of Greater America”1 in which he proposed a more pan-American approach to the writing and teaching of the history of the New World’s nations. “There is a need,” he said, “for a broader treatment of American history, to supple-...

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PART ONE: Mathematical Works, Excluding Almanacs

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pp. 19-182

RECOGNITIO,SVM / mularumReuerendi / PATRIS ILLDEPHONSIA VERA / CRVCE AVGVSTINIANI ARTIVM / ac sacræ Theologiæ Doctoris apud indorum in- / clytam Mexicum primarij in Academia / Theologiæ moderatoris. / Sagitaueras tu dñe1 / cor me˜u charitate tua.2 / MEXICI. / Excudebat Ioannes Paulus Brissensis. / 1554. ...

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PART TWO: Almanacs, Ephemerides, and Lunarios

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pp. 183-320

The years given in the headings here correspond to the calendar year discussed by the almanac, not the year of first printing. Since almanacs were generally available at the beginning of the year, whether that was March or January,1 one can assume that they were almost always printed toward the end of the previous year. Charles Evans puts some almanacs in the year of ...

Appendix A: A Guide to Astrological Symbols

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pp. 321-321

Appendix B: Seventeenth-Century Comet Books Printed in the New World

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pp. 322-324

Appendix C: Some Comments on the Place of Logic in Mathematics

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pp. 325-327

Works Consulted

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pp. 328-344

General Index

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pp. 345-349

Index to Works in Part One

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pp. 350-353

Other Indices

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pp. 354-373

E-ISBN-13: 9781421402055
E-ISBN-10: 142140205X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801888236
Print-ISBN-10: 0801888239

Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 29 halftones, 2 line drawings
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Mathematics
Series Editor Byline: Ronald Calinger, Series Editor See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 794701437
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mathematical Works Printed in the Americas, 1554–1700

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Subject Headings

  • Ethnomathematics -- America -- Early works to 1800 -- Bibliography.
  • Mathematics -- America -- Early works to 1800 -- Bibliography.
  • Mathematical literature -- America -- Early works to 1800 -- Bibliography.
  • America -- Imprints -- Early works to 1800 -- Bibliography.
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