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UAI 15.963

Farrar, John, 1779-1853. Correspondence and faculty reports by John Farrar, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, 1810-1831 and undated: an inventory

Harvard University Archives

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Descriptive Summary

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.

Acquisition information:

The materials in this collection are University records and were acquired in the course of University business.

Processing Information:

This material was first classified and described in a Harvard University Archives shelflist prior to 1980. The material was re-processed in 2011. Re-processing involved a collection survey, enhanced description of items from the nineteenth century, and the creation of this finding aid.
This finding aid was created by Dominic P. Grandinetti in May 2011.

Researcher Access:

Correspondence and faculty reports by John Farrar, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy are open for research. Access to fragile original documents may be restricted. Please consult the Public Services staff for further details.

Copying Restriction:

Copying of fragile materials may be limited.

Preferred Citation:

Farrar, John, 1779-1853. Correspondence and faculty reports by John Farrar, Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, 1810-1831 and undated. UAI 15.963, Harvard University Archives.

Related Materials

In the Harvard University Archives
In the Harvard University Countway Library

Historical Note on John Farrar

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.

Historical Note on the Hollis Professorship of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy

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).

References

Arrangement

The records are arranged in two series:

Scope and Content

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.

General

This document last updated 2011 November 8.

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