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Mathematical Treasure: John Bonnycastle’s Arithmetic and Algebra

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

John Bonnycastle (1751-1821) was a self-educated British mathematics master who eventually became a mathematics instructor at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, teaching cadets. He was a prolific and well respected writer of mathematics textbooks. His two most popular books were The Scholar’s Guide to Arithmetic, first published in 1780, and Introduction to Algebra (1782). The Arithmetic eventually went through eighteen editions and the Algebra, thirteen editions.

The images shown below are from an 1815 American edition of the Arithmetic.

Title page for John Bonnycastle's arithmetic textbook.

Pages 120 and 121 discuss the reduction of common fractions.

Page 120 of John Bonnycastle's arithmetic textbook.Page 121 of John Bonnycastle's arithmetic textbook.

Page 160 provides information on computing discounts for various business transactions.

Page 160 of John Bonnycastle's arithmetic textbook.

The following images of Bonnycastle’s Algebra are from the American edition of 1811.

Title page of John Bonnycastle's algebra textbook.

Page 38 discusses the subtraction of fractions.

Page 38 of John Bonnycastle's algebra textbook.

The extraction of simple roots is explained on page 141.

Page 141 of John Bonnycastle's algebra textbook.

A selection of student exercises is offered on page 216.

Page 216 of John Bonnycastle's algebra textbook.

The images above are presented courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: John Bonnycastle’s Arithmetic and Algebra," Convergence (July 2016)

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED