Crematio Physicae Mechanicae under the auspices of the Class of ‘79 . . . XI. Ante Kal. Apr., A. D. MDCCCLXXVIII. University of Michigan.

Crematio Physicae Mechanicae under the auspices of the Class of ‘79 . . . XI. Ante Kal. Apr., A. D. MDCCCLXXVIII.

[Ann Arbor: n. p., 1878]. First edition. Unbound, 9 x 5.75 inches, [4] pages. Some trifling soiling and wear; in very good condition. Item #18421

A variation on the American collegiate traditional burning of Euclid, the satirical program for the ceremonies (“Order of the Orgies”) for the 1878 springtime ritual of burning the physics textbooks of the junior class at the University of Michigan: “A dead sure thing it is, / That on this night ‘Old Phyz,’ / Shall breathe his last. / So give forth your moans / In ‘Fundamental Tones,’ / And for him give three groans / With mighty blast.” (A footnote reads, “Accompanied by groans, whose pitch shall not exceed 32 vibrations per second.”) 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. Not found on OCLC.

Price: $125.00