De Morgan Library

The Augustus De Morgan collection charts the development of mathematics, astronomy and philosophy from the 15th–19th century, featuring first editions of works by Euclid, Copernicus, Descartes and Newton. 

De Morgan Library

The Augustus De Morgan collection charts the development of mathematics, astronomy and philosophy from the 15th–19th century, featuring first editions of works by Euclid, Copernicus, Descartes and Newton. 

Selection of images from Augustus de Morgan collection

The collection

The Augustus De Morgan special collection contains almost 3,800 items on mathematics and its history, printed between 1474 and 1870, predominantly in English but also Latin, Greek French and German. It charts the development of mathematics, astronomy and philosophy from the 15th–19th century, featuring rare first editions of works by Euclid, Copernicus, Descartes and Newton. 

Arithmetic is especially well represented, but algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, logarithms, probability, annuities, functions, astronomy and, to a far lesser extent, mechanics are all present. The collection includes multiple editions of popular or significant works, most notably Euclid’s Elements, and numerous bound pamphlets. Mathematical and astronomical landmarks jostle with obscure titles. Several items are extremely rare or, indeed, unique. De Morgan’s annotations enhance a significant minority. This is the Library’s founding collection.

pages from Paolo Veneto's Logica Parva with Augustus de Moragn’s annotations

Access & Digitisation

Senate House Library, University of London, has digitised over 80,000 pages from over 300 extremely rare renaissance texts dated 1474-1600 and they are available to view online from 1 July 2020. This is just one of nine parts of the full Augustus De Morgan collection.

Augustus De Morgan Special Collection - Part One is available to view online through Brill, one of Senate House Library’s commercial publishing partners. Part one of the collection comprises 316 texts with all titles dated up to 1600, including twenty-four Incunabula (pre-1501 printed texts). Senate House Library will continue to digitise the full Augustus De Morgan special collection over the next 3-4 years (2020-2024), to capture the remaining 3,500 texts dating from 1600 up to 1870.

Catalogued online 2004/6. For an overview of the collection, do an author search on “De Morgan, Augustus” as former owner. A mixed classmark search on [DeM] will bring up all books printed after 1500 in classified order.

Margarita Philosophica

The collector

Collected by the mathematician and mathematical historian Augustus De Morgan (1806-1871; see ODNB). Several of De Morgan’s own articles were subsequently added by William De Morgan.

 

Acquisition

Purchased by Samuel Jones Loyd, Baron Overstone (see ODNB) and given by him to the University in 1871.

 

Related archives

De Morgan family papers, including letters to Augustus De Morgan and some of his printed work (MS913); papers and correspondence (MS775; MS239); annotated, or draft copies of De Morgan’s work (MS238, MSS240-1 and MS776).

 

Select publications

Attar, Karen, 'Augustus De Morgan, his Reading, and his Library', in: Mary Hammond and Jonathan Rose (ed.), The Edinburgh History of Reading (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2019)

Attar, K.E., ‘Victorian Readers and their Library Records Today’, in: Matthew Bradley and Juliet John (ed.), Reading and the Victorians (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), pp. 99-110

Merrington, Maxine, A List of Certain Letters Inserted in Books from the Library of Augustus De Morgan Now in the University of London Library ([London]: University of London Library, 1990)

 

Highlights

Left to right: Gregor Reisch's Margarita Philosophica, Inside bookplate of one of the Augustus de Morgan books,  Niccolo Tartaglia’s La prima[-sesta] parte del General trattato di numeri, et misure

View the list of De Morgan Library highlights