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This first part of The Augustus De Morgan Collection comprises 330 items printed before the 17th century from the library of the nineteenth-century mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan (1806–1871), held at the Senate House Library in London. This part of the collection features books on a range of mathematical subjects, from pure geometry to astronomy to commerce, as well as on philosophy, theology, and literature. It contains works of all sizes, from two 8-page pamphlets to a 1493-page opus on trigonometry. Several books contain letters, learned annotations, or idiosyncratic illustrations, sometimes serious but often humorous. The most famous item in this part of The Augustus De Morgan Collection is the first edition of Nicolaus Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium caelestium (1543), the groundbreaking treatise that marked the introduction of the heliocentric system of astronomy in use today. Other highlights of this collection include eleven early printed editions of Euclid’s Elements, beginning with the renowned editor princeps published in Venice by Erhard Ratdolt in 1482, and including Henry Billingsley’s English translation of 1570, with John Dee’s “very fruitfull præface”. Ten sixteenthcentury copies of books by the Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde include original editions of a medical work, The Urinal of Physick (1548), The Castle of Knowledge (1556) on astronomy, and The Whetstone of Witte (1557) on algebra. Also included are 24 incunabula, the earliest of which are two books from 1474: an early edition of Regiomontanus’ Calendarium and a copy of Paolo de Venecia’s Logica Parva, the most widely read work on logic in fifteenth-century Italy. Other early gems include Luca Pacioli’s Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalità (1494), the first comprehensive survey of mathematics ever printed, as well as the first published account of double-entry bookkeeping, Sacrobosco’s thirteenth-century Sphaera Mundi, and Johannes Widmann’s 1489 Behe[n]de und hubsche Rechenung auff allen Kauffmanschafft, a German book on commercial arithmetic containing the first printed appearance of the + and – signs.
Furthermore, it showcases an extremely rare 1501 book on logic, Sum[m] ule totius logice by Jodocus Trutvetter, one of only two copies known to exist in the UK. Extensive metadata enables filtering on publication date, place, and language, as well as on detailed subject areas.
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