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Mathematical Treasure: Nicolas Pike's Arithmetic

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

This is the title page of Nicholas Pike’s A New and Complete System of Arithmetic Composed for the Citizens of the United States, 1788. Note the nationalistic tone of the title. Pike was a popular writer of arithmetics in early America. This book went through six editions, the last being 1843.

Pages 461-463 of Pike’s Arithmetic provide a sample of textbook style and content of this time.

The images above are presented courtesy of the State Library of Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg, PA. Dr. Iren Snavely, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, was particularly helpful in securing these images.

More early American arithmetic texts in Convergence:

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Nicolas Pike's Arithmetic," Convergence (June 2015)