A Guide to the Mathematical Practice Books, 1781-1853, 1869

Collection Number SC 4046

Compiled by: Julia Merkel, January 2005

Revised by: Alicia Henneberry, December, 2013


Descriptive Summary


Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Mathematical Practice Books, 1781-1853, 1869

Collection No.: SC 4046

Extent: Consists of two bound practice books, 12 3/4” x 8” and 13 ¼” x 8”.

Language: English

Abstract: Consists of two bound and handwritten practice books for ascertaining weights, measures and other practical accountancy problems.


Administrative Information


Access restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: Mathematical Practice Books, 1781-1853, 1869, SC 4046, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

Acquisition Information: Purchased at Green Valley Auctions, Inc., Mount Crawford, VA, July 9, 2004 as lot #1059


Bio/Historical Note: Judging from binding, paper and handwriting, these mathematical practice books probably date from the late 18th to mid-19th centuries. Names that appear within the pages and on the back end sheet are:  Miss Emma Harrison, Miss Lucy S. Harrison, Tenth Legion, Rockingham County, Va., William C. Harrison, and Mr. John Harrison with the date, March 1, 1853.  One math problem cites the date, May 17, 1781 while a handwritten note tucked into the pages is inscribed with an invitation to a picnic and cotillion on May 20, 1869 at the residence of A. B. Bowman on Smith Creek.  The names Bettie A. and David W. Harrison of Tenth Legion are written several times on the reverse.


Scope and Content: The first concentrates on principles of accountancy and includes simple and compound interest, discounts, barter, loss & gain, fellowship or joint stock, and foreign and domestic exchange rates—all with practical applications and exercises. The second book appears to have been used by several pupils.  The books are decidedly American and specifically Virginian, as several examples indicate starting points as Baltimore, Philadelphia and an ending point at Richmond.  Weights and measures, however, are given in English, Federal, and even Virginia currency.  Subjects covered include: simple and compound addition, multiplication, long division, proportions, and integers.  Practical applications include conversions from one measure or distance to another and calculating payments for mercer’s, draper’s, grocer’s, and milliner's bills among others.



Arrangement:  The collection is arranged in one folder holding both books


Related Material: Plains District Rockingham County School Ledger, 1886-1892, SC 4041.





Mathematical Practice Book 1 of 2


Mathematical Practice Book 2 of 2