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Six Degrees of Separation?

Rather surprisingly, the first book ever published in Manchester was a mathematics book, Mathematical Lectures: being the first and second that were read to the Mathematical Society at Manchester. By the late ingenious John Jackson. Printed by Roger Adams in the Parsonage, and sold by William Clayton, Bookseller at the Conduit, 1719.

Sadly, nothing is known about the ‘late, ingenious John Jackson’ but we have been inspired to look at some of our other mathematical books which have special links to Chetham’s library and, in the spirit of  ‘Six Degrees of Separation,’ to connect them all to Mathematical Lectures.

Our first link is from Mathematical Lectures through William Clayton, the bookseller named on the title page of Mathematical Lectures, whose son, John, was ordained, became perpetual curate of Sacred Trinity Church Salford in 1733, fellow of Manchester Collegiate Church in 1760, and a feoffee of Chetham’s Hospital and Library in 1764.

The most famous mathematician (and philosopher, alchemist and astrologer) to be connected with Chetham’s Library is undoubtedly Dr John Dee (1527-1609) who was appointed warden of the college at Manchester in 1595. The book we have chosen to represent him is The elements of geometrie of the most auncient phiosopher Euclide of Megara. Faithfully (now first) translated into the English toung by H. Billingsley…..with a very fruitfull praeface made by M.I.Dee…1570

Dr Dee provides the connection with three other mathematical books. The first two are by father and son, Leonard and Thomas Digges. Leonard Digges book, Tectonicon,was advertised as a book for surveyors, landmeters, joiners,carpenters and masons:

A boke named Tectonicon: briefly shewynge the exacte measurynge, and speady redkenynge all maner lande, squared tymber,stone,steaples,pyllers,globes etc…..published by Leonarde Digges gentleman in the yere of our Lorde. 1556

When Leonard died, Dee became mentor and teacher to Thomas and referred to him as ‘my most worthy mathematical heir’. Thomas Digges completed and published his father’s second book Pantometria, including with it a work of his own about geometry.

A geometrical practise, named Pantometria…containing rules manifolde for mensuration of all lines,superficies and solides…framed by Leonard Digges gentleman, lately finished by Thomas Digges his sonne…1571.

The next book, an introduction to basic arithmetic written in dialogue form, was first published in 1543, and later edited by John Dee:

The ground of arts: teaching the perfect work and practise of arithmetick, both in whole numbers and fractions…made by M.Robert Record, D in physick. Afterward, augmented by M.John Dee. Chetham’s copy dates from 1646 – the book became a best seller, eventually running to at least forty-five editions.

The final connection is a leap of the imagination from our copy of The ground of arts… back to Mathematical Lectures

There are some manuscript inscriptions in the front of our copy of Robert Record’s book which include the names ‘Robert Jackson his boock 1734’ and later ‘October John Jackson D D December Januwary the first September’

We just wonder….could they possibly be descendents of  ‘the late ingenious John’…?

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