Crematio Mathematicae sub Classum, ‘83 et ‘84 Auspiciis . . . Idibus Junii, Anno Universitatis XLIV. Universitas Michiganiensis [self-wrapper title]. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan.

Crematio Mathematicae sub Classum, ‘83 et ‘84 Auspiciis . . . Idibus Junii, Anno Universitatis XLIV. Universitas Michiganiensis [self-wrapper title].

[Ann Arbor]: (Courier Print), [1881]. First edition. Unbound pamphlet, 8.5 x 5.5 inches, [4] pages. Dramatic title page vignette. Cheap paper a bit toned but supple; a few chips and closed tears to the edges of the leaves; in very good condition. Item #18168

“Blow every fish horn loud and clear, / And yank the chapel bell, / Old Mathematicus non est, / He’s dead and gone to ——!” The satirical program for the ritual burning of the student mathematics textbooks by the Freshman class, smacking throughout of incipient sophomoric humor, the procession to be held “on the directrix of the parabolic curve drawn from the University to the High School, the tangential point being Sheehan’s hall,” etc. The ceremonial destruction of collegiate math textbooks was a practice that went back at least as far as Yale’s early “burial of Euclid” ceremonies; Andrew Fiss of Michigan Tech has written at some length about the math book-destruction phenomenon (evidently arguing the practice as a by-product of the early standardization of math education in American colleges that died out with the rise of electives); see his article “Mathematics and Mourning: Textbook Burial and Student Culture Before and After the Civil War, 1853–1880,” appearing in the History of Education Quarterly, Volume 57, Issue 2, May 2017. Though not dated, the date of Monday, June 13th suggests an 1881 ceremony (as does the allusion to the 41st year of the university’s existence). Not found on OCLC.

Price: $125.00

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