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Call No.: UAI 15.963
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Farrar, John, 1779-1853.
Title: Correspondence and faculty reports by John Farrar, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, 1810-1831 and undated.
Date(s): 1810-1831 and undated.
Quantity: .20 cubic feet (1 half-document box, 1 pamphlet binder)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The correspondence and faculty reports in this collection document the activities of John Farrar, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and the Department of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard from 1810 to 1831. The records provide an overview of Farrar's attempts to modernize mathematical and scientific instruction at Harvard University and illustrate the subjects that were taught to students and the textbooks that were used in the instruction of mathematics and natural philosophy (physics) at the beginning of the nineteenth century at Harvard.
In the Harvard University Archives
- Rules and orders relating to a Professor of the Mathematicks, of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, in Harvard College, 18 January 1726 (UAI 15.1067).
- John Winthrop's proposal respecting electrical globes and jars, ca. 1758 (UAI 15.1068).
- Elements of Electricity, Magnetism, and Electro-Dynamics, Embracing the Latest Discoveries and Improvements, Digested into the Form of a Treatise, for the use of the Students of Harvard University being the Second Part of A Course of Natural Philosophy by John Farrar, LL.D. and the First Part of A New Course of Physics by Joseph Lovering, 1842 (HUC 8842.270).
- Harvard College Quarter Bill sent to John Farrar, 1799 August 29 (HUD 1799.26).
- Mathematics textbooks translated by John Farrar, 1820-1829 (HUC 8820.253.26): includes Elements of Algebra by S.F. Lacroix (1825); Elements of Geometry by A.M. Legrende (1829); First Principles of the Differential and Integral Calculus by Etienne Bezout (1824); An Elementary Treatise on Plane and Spherical Trigonometry by S.F. Lacroix (1820); and An Elementary Treatise on the Application of Trigonometry by John Farrar (1828).
- [Plates for treatises on mathematics and philosophy, 1829?] (HUC 8829.253.71).
- Notice of Professor Farrar, 1853 by John Gorham Palfrey (HUG 1386.61).
- Notes taken by Thomas Wigglesworth while a student in Harvard College: includes notes on lectures given by Edward Channing, Charles Follen, George Ticknor, and John Farrar, 1830-1832 (HUC 8831.383).
- Harvard University. Mathematical theses, 1782-1839: includes John Farrar's calculation and projection of a solar eclipse (HUC 8782.514).In the Harvard University Countway Library
- Lectures on Natural Philosophy by John Farrar (Countway Medicine Rare Books 1.K.155).
John Farrar (1779-1853), mathematician, physicist, and astronomer, served as Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard from 1807 to 1836. At the time of Farrar's appointment, the instruction of mathematics and physics at Harvard College had declined; the school had failed to keep up with the progress made in mathematical studies in Europe. Consequently, Farrar spent several years attempting to reform mathematical studies at Harvard by translating and adapting the leading French textbooks in elementary geometry, elementary algebra, mathematical astronomy, and descriptive geometry. Farrar introduced his students to the geometry of Adrien Marie Legendre (1752-1833), the algebra of Pierre Louis Marie Bourdon (1779-1854) and Leonard Euler (1707-1873), the trigonometry and arithmetic of Sylvestre Francois Lacroix (1765-1843), and the calculus of Étienne Bézout (1730-1783). Farrar published two works: An Elementary Treatise on the Application of Trigonometry (1822) and An Elementary Treatise on Mechanics (1825). He resigned his professorship in 1836, due to ill health.
The Hollis Professorship of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy was founded in 1726 by Thomas Hollis (1659-1731) a wealthy English merchant and benefactor of Harvard University.Previous holders of the Hollis Professorship of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy were: Isaac Greenwood (1727-1738), John Winthrop (1738-1779), Samuel Williams (1780-1788), and Samuel Webber (1789-1806).
- Palfrey, John Gorham. Notice of Professor Farrar. Boston: Crosby, Nichols and Company, 1853.
- Smith, David Eugene. "Farrar, John." Dictionary of American Biography. Ed. Dumas Malone. Vol. VI. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1943. 292-293.
- Smith, David Eugene and Jekuthiel Ginsburg. "The Nineteenth Century. General Survey. Prominent Names, 1800-1875." In A History of Mathematics in America Before 1900. Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1934.
The records are arranged in two series:
The correspondence and faculty reports in this collection document the activities of John Farrar, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and the Department of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy at Harvard from 1810 to 1831. The collection also includes a single faculty report written by John Farrar documenting the activities of the Department of Experimental Physics and Natural History (1826 January 10). Principal correspondents represented in this collection are Harvard Presidents John T. Kirkland (1770-1840) and Samuel Webber (1759-1810). The records provide an overview of Farrar's attempts to modernize mathematical and scientific instruction at Harvard University and illustrate the subjects that were taught to students and the textbooks that were used in the instruction of mathematics and natural philosophy (physics) at the beginning of the nineteenth century at Harvard. The collection also illustrates Farrar's administration of the instruments in the scientific laboratory, known as the Chamber of Natural Philosophy, and his use of those instruments as classroom teaching aids to promote scientific discovery at Harvard University.The records were assembled as an archival collection by the archivist at an unknown date from various sources without regard to original provenance in order to document University professorships.
This document last updated 2011 November 8.