You are here

Mathematical Treasure: Albert Church's Geometry for West Point

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

American educator Albert Church (1808-1878) was a graduate of West Point Military Academy. After graduating first in his class in 1828, he remained at West Point to teach mathematics to cadets for the rest of his life (except for a brief stint with an artillery unit in 1832-1834). Church was active in textbook translating and writing. Many French mathematical works were translated and rewritten for use at the Academy. In 1864, Church published Elements of Descriptive Geometry based on the French works of Monge. This geometry was felt to have particular military uses. The images below come from an edition published in 1867.

Title page of Elements of Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

The table of contents reveals the scope of studies.

First page of table of contents from Elements of Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

Second page of table of contents from Elements of Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

Third page of table of contents from Elements of Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

To accompany his text, Church also designed and published a separate set of illustrative plates.

Title page of Plates to Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

A series of these plates are shown here.

First page of diagrams from Plates to Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

Second page of diagrams from Plates to Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

Third page of diagrams from Plates to Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

Fourth page of diagrams from Plates to Descriptive Geometry by Albert Church, 1867

The images above are supplied through the courtesy of the University of California Libraries. Both works (Elements and Plates) may be viewed in their entirety in the Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Albert Church's Geometry for West Point," Convergence (August 2018)

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED