Charlestown, MA: 1848. Quarter calf over marbled card. Ownership signature of Sophia Cook of Charlestown to front pastedown. 68 pages in a single calligraphic hand. A young woman gaining a practical education that will prepare her for life in a busy town, Sarah compiles a neat and organized book that she will use for future reference.
Sophia Cook's manuscript opens with practical arithmetical questions and equations before moving into tables for Lawful Money, Federal Money, Apothecary Weights, Cloth Measure, Wine Ale or Beer Measure, and Time. To these she adds more straightforward addition, compound subtraction, and long measure. The placement of practical household (or shop) tables at the book's front makes them easiest to access; and in this sense, Sophia has set her book up to help her run a household or business. As she continues along in the book, Sophia increasingly writes questions, definitions, or explanations that are lengthier and more complex-- these for longer study or reference as opposed to quick use.
Mathematical manuscripts by girls before 1900 are rare, by American girls even rarer. An opportunity for researching the education of American women, mathematical education and teaching in the US compared to the UK and Continent, and paleography. (Item #4058)