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Mathematical Treasure: Gill's Mathematical Miscellany

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Figure 1. Title page of Charles Gill’s Mathematical Miscellany (1836)

Charles Gill (1805-1855) migrated to the United States from England at an early age. Gill eventually, in 1833, became a Professor of Mathematics at the Flushing Institute in Long Island, New York, and a well-respected actuary. As a young man in his native England, Gill was a frequent problem solver for the mathematical challenges of The Ladies Diary, a popular periodical of the time. Perhaps influenced by this experience, he founded and edited The Mathematical Miscellany, a journal devoted to mathematical problem solving. Its problems were divided into a junior department intended for young students and a senior department for established mathematicians. Most of the leading American mathematicians of this time solved problems and contributed to this journal. Due to a lack of paying subscriptions, the journal faltered and published only six issues (1836-1839). The title page of the 1836 Miscellany is shown above. Two pages of problems from this issue for readers to attempt follow.

Figure 2. A page of problems from The Mathematical Miscellany

Figure 3. A second page of problems from The Mathematical Miscellany

These images are presented courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. You may use them in your classroom and/or for private study; for all other purposes, please seek permission from Archives and Special Collections, Waidner-Spahr Library, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.