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A Treatise of Algebra by John Wallis, Harriot, Descartes

Frank Swetz, Victor Katz

This is the title page of the Treatise of Algebra (1685), by John Wallis.  This is probably the first attempt at a history of the subject of algebra, presented in the context of a text on the subject.  Among the most famous parts of this treatise is Wallis's discussion of the work of Thomas Harriot, especially his contention that René Descartes plagiarized Harriot's symbolization procedure in algebra. 

From the Rare Book and Manuscript Collection at Columbia University.

Part of the Mathematical Treasures section of Loci: Convergence.



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Frank Swetz, Victor Katz, "A Treatise of Algebra by John Wallis, Harriot, Descartes," Convergence (November 2008)