Article ID: CBB968000529

The Recreational Mathematics Activities of Ordinary Nineteenth Century Americans: A Case Study of Two Mathematics Puzzle Columns and Their Contributors (2019)


This study analyses two American recreational mathematics columns from the end of the nineteenth century—one from Atlanta, Georgia’s Sunny South and one from Wilmington, Delaware’s Delaware Gazette and State Journal. Each was an active forum, used by ordinary, educated laypeople to participate in a culture of mathematics by contributing problems and solutions, and in some cases entering into heated discussions. This period was one of dramatic change in American mathematics, in which researchers, educators and textbook authors ended their isolation from developments in Europe and shifted emphasis from rote procedures and practical calculations toward reasoning about abstract mathematics. The mathematics columns in Sunny South and the Delaware Gazette reflect these two different views of mathematics that were percolating in American culture at the time and offer a window into the mathematical beliefs and understanding of the ordinary Americans who contributed to them.

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Authors & Contributors
Despeaux, Sloan Evans
Parshall, Karen V. Hunger
Rice, Adrian C.
Grettler, David
Mazzotti, Massimo
Grattan-Guinness, Ivor
Historia Mathematica
Environmental History
British Journal for the History of Science
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
British Society for the History of Mathematics Bulletin
Delaware History
University Press of Kansas
University of Nebraska Press
American Mathematical Society
Periodicals; serials
Recreation; play
Environmental history
Science and society
Boncompagni, Baldassare
United States
Great Britain
Delaware (U.S.)
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
21st century

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