Euclid and the History of Mathematics

The nucleus of this collection, begun by the University of Waterloo's first dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. R. Stanton and the University's first librarian, Mrs. Doris Lewis, during the 1960's, is 45 editions of Euclid's Elements of Geometry. The collection has continued to be developed as a special collection. A collection of 110 nineteenth century mathematics books was acquired in 1981.

The earliest edition of Euclid's Elements of Geometry is dated 1505. The collection includes the first translation of the Elements into a modern language (1543), the first English language edition (1570), the Byrne edition, using coloured printing (Pickering, 1847), and the first edition printed in France (1516).

The collection includes 9 of the 46 editions listed by Thomas-Stanford in his Early Editions of Euclid's Elements (which lists editions published prior to 1600), some of which are of "great rarity" according to Thomas-Stanford. The collection is particularly useful in showing the transmission and teaching of the Elements from almost the earliest printed form to modern texts. Unusual methods of presenting geometry are represented in books with movable stand-up diagrams from the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, and the "Pickering Euclid" of 1847, which uses colours rather than letters to describe theorems.

All items in the collection are located in the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room, Porter Library and are non-circulating.

Sample of colours instead of variables

Sample of pop-up diagrammes