Archives staff just completed cataloging AU’s mathematics copy books also known as cipher books. These manuscripts come in two types:
- Instructions on mathematical principles, including arithmetic, square roots, and financial calculations which are followed by exercises and answers;
- Mathematical problems, calculations, and answers including arithmetic and financial calculations.
AU’s collection contains manuscripts from twenty-two students from the United States and five from England. They were created between 1763 and1850. Several include hand drawn figures and illustrations. Though the bulk of the cipher books in our collection feature arithmetic problems, we have several with algebra, geometry and navigation problems as well. Over half of these manuscripts were donated to AU Library as part of the Karen D. Michalowicz Collection.
The cipher books were cataloged individually. For a complete list, search our online catalog (ALADIN) using the following search term (Call Number): “Ciphering Book”
Here are a couple of new items that we acquired at last month’s Washington Antiquarian Book Fair:
When AU’s founder, Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, purchased the land for American University, northwest Washington, DC was the country. Over the intervening years, a number of communities were built in the neighborhood. We have had a photocopy of a brochure produced by the developers of American University Park in the archives so we were excited to see the real brochure and purchased a copy. The brochure is titled “The American University Park, Washington, D.C.” and was distributed by the developers, J.D. Croissant and David D. Stone Trustees, around 1897. The brochure includes photographs of the area, existing houses, and a map. The developers were selling lots and included information on lot prices and restrictions. We also picked up a copy of W.C. and A.N. Miller’s 1927 promotional brochure for Wesley Heights – “Wesley Heights: The Garden Spot of Washington – A Miller-Built Community.” Unlike with AU Park, W.C.& A.N. Miller were selling houses. The illustrated brochure includes information on lot sizes, house types, landscaping, community features, and prices.
If you haven’t already done so, check out Archives and Special Collections spring exhibits. They will be up through the end of May.
The Peace Corps Experience in the 1960s: Colombia and Nigeria
Featured in this exhibit are two volunteers who taught in Nigeria in the early 1960s and four health and community development volunteers in Colombia who served as an instructor in a school of practical nursing; provided architectural services; worked with community leaders; provided health education information; set up libraries; and distributed food. The exhibit is on display on the third floor of the Library.
To Foster College Spirit and Promote the Common Welfare: Student Government @ AU
In honor of the upcoming elections for Student Government officers this spring, the University Archives is featuring documents, flyers and photographs that provide a glimpse into student governance at American University and highlight some of the key functions of the first Student Council and its successors. This exhibit is on display on the first floor.