Early American Math Textbooks

View Fullscreen

Early Americans encountered mathematics in a wide variety of places and forms, but the textbook or manual was undoubtedly the most common way to learn how to understand and manipulate numbers.

When and where were such books published? This map focuses on the period from about 1770-1840 and draws from the collections at the American Antiquarian Society. You have the option to view this publication history on a historic 1851 map of North America or--by clicking on the layers icon in the upper right corner of the map and deselecting "overlay"--on a more contemporary map.

The orange dots take you to a few select examples that demonstrate some of the geographical range for the publication--and republication--of math textbooks, including such familiar sites as Boston and Philadelphia, but also Leominster and Newburyport Massachusetts, and Harrisburg Pennsylvania--even Honolulu, Hawaii!

The purple dots allow you to trace the publication history and geography of one especially popular textbook, from its first editions in Newburyport to Pittsburgh, Charleston, Northampton, and Salem.

This map exhibit accompanies the Omeka exhibit on Early American Math.