The Joseph L. Rousseau Collection (Gift, 2008)

Introduction by Dr. Blum

Professor Joseph Rousseau spent much of his life collecting books and manuscripts written and published in the 1700s and the 1800s, primarily in the United States. The vast majority of the books in his collection are mathematical, but there are also others that are about education and science. These rare books provide an historical glimpse into how mathematics was taught and learned during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Professor Rousseau has generously donated his valuable collection to Millersville University where it is housed with other special collections in Ganser Library.

One of Professor Rousseauís wishes is to make this collection available to students and researchers. During the Spring 2011 semester, graduate students and Honors College students enrolled in the History of Mathematics course began a project to help make this wish come true. Each student chose at least one book from the collection, took some digital photographs of the books, and wrote summaries of the contents of these books. These efforts have been compiled into this website so that others may become acquainted with these books electronically. In subsequent semesters, more books from the collection will be added to the website.

We are extremely grateful to Professor Rousseau for providing Millersville University with such a unique opportunity to study original sources from as long ago as 1654. You may read more about his contribution at Millersville University Exchange (Vol. XXXI, No. 6, Nov. 20, 2008).

Book cover
Wesley Shope, Spring 2011

First Principles of the Differential and Integral Calculus, or the Doctrine of Fluxions (1824)
Etienne Bézout

Published in 1824, this calculus book is based on a work by the French mathematician Bézout and was designed as a reference for students in Cambridge University.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

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Nasser Adem, Spring 2011

Arithmetic: Being a Sequel to First Lessons in Arithmetic (1822)
Warren Colburn

The book consists of two parts. The first part contains a course of examples for illustrations and application. The second contains a development of the principles. The audience of the book was intended to be eight to nine-year-old pupils. This would be grade 2 to grade 3 of the present day school age children.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

Book cover
Laveena Shertzer, Spring 2011

First Lessons in Algebra: Embracing the Elements of the Science (1839)
Charles Davies

The book was written to follow the teaching of arithmetic. The Algebra of M. Bourdon has been closely followed, modifying it, giving it a more practical and tangible form. The purpose was for use in common schools. Probably to be used by the teacher to instruct the class, the book covers all the material from a modern Algebra I textbook, as well as quadratics, arithmetic and geometric sequences, and logarithms. At the bottom of most pages, one will find extended thinking questions in which the teacher probably asked when instructing the students. Each concept is based around “word problems,” giving a practical application of the concept. For each concept, there are very clear examples.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

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Laveena Shertzer, Spring 2011

Elementary Algebra: Embracing the First Principles of the Science (1858)
Charles Davies

This book is a newer edition of First Lessons in Algebra: Embracing the Elements of the Science. The layout is the same and begins with a very similar preface. Unlike the previous copy, this book includes an introductory lesson, which is a lesson in mental exercises to insure a student is prepared for the remainder of the course.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

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Laveena Shertzer, Spring 2011

An Introduction to Algebra: Being the First Part of a Course of Mathematics (1827)
Jeremiah Day

The materials covered in this book would encompass the same material covered in a modern Algebra I and Algebra II book. However, one needs to get through a lot of words to learn the material, unlike books of today with a lot of examples, diagrams, and colors. Handwritten materials is throughout the book, including the front and back covers.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

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Roger Wolbert, Spring 2011

Second Volume of the Instructions Given in the Drawing School (1769)
Joseph Fenn

This volume contains three parts: I. History of Mathematics, II. Elementary of Numeral Arithmetic, and III. Elements of Specious Arithmetic. The general topics include an introduction to mathematics through a historical perspective, followed by theoretical and practical application of mathematics, ending with the fundamental rules and operations of mathematics. Although there are many examples in this book, it does not contain exercises that might be associated with textbooks. This volume was broken into two smaller books, also in the Rousseau Collection listed on this page.

  • The Complete Account: Being a System of Arithmetic, Both Theoretical and Practical
  • A New and Complete System of Algebra: Specious Arithmetic

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

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William Serson, Spring 2011

Euclid’s Elements of Geometry (1770s)
Edited by Joseph Fenn

A translation of Euclid’s Elements into the English language. As is evidenced on the title page, the editor makes every effort to preserve the content of the original translation in its entirety. This edition contains all twelve of Euclid’s original books.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

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Roger Wolbert, Spring 2011

The Complete Account: Being a System of Arithmetic, Both Theoretical and Practical (1772)
Joseph Fenn

This book is the first part of Joseph Fenn's Second Volume of the Instructions Given in the Drawing School (1769). The second part of his book is also in the Rousseau Collection.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

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Roger Wolbert, Spring 2011

A New and Complete System of Algebra: Specious Arithmetic (1798)
Joseph Fenn

This book is the second part of Joseph Fenn's Second Volume of the Instructions Given in the Drawing School (1769). The first part of his book is also in the Rousseau Collection.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information

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Brittnie Frey , Spring 2011

Two manuscript reports on the kindergarten system of education as thought by Frederick Fröbel (Mid-19th Century)
Friedrich Fröbel

This is a review of two manuscripts pertaining to lectures on Dr. Fröbel's kindergarten system.

  • First Lecture on Kindergartening
  • What Dr Fröbel's system of kindergarten education is and how it can be introduced into our public schools

Additional Information - Manuscript Number: MS398

Small
David Kelly, Spring 2011

Ciphering Book (1845)
Isaac Sheaffer

This is a mathematics textbook that contains rules to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Additional Information - Manuscript Number: MS398

Book cover
Devin Fortney, Spring 2011

The Young Mathematicians Guide: Being a Plain and Easy Introduction to the Mathematicks - 8th Ed. (1747)
John Ward

This book contains five main sections: Arithmetic, Algebra, The Elements of Geometry, Conic Sections and The Arithmetic of Infinites. Each section contains several chapters, and each chapter discusses a different mathematical topic relating to the section.

Additional Information - Bibliographic Information