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Mathematical Treasure: Tannery’s Works of Fermat

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Paul Tannery (1843-1904) was a French historian of mathematics known for his ability in ancient Greek and his editing of collections of works by famous mathematicians. In 1891, he, together with the librarian Charles Henry, published the first volume of the collected works of Pierre de Fermat, Oeuvres de Fermat. The title page of this volume is shown below. By 1896, two other volumes had appeared. Over the years 1897-1913, Tannery would publish a twelve-volume collection of the works of Rene Descartes.

The “Table of Contents” reveals the scope of the first volume of this collection.

Theses images were obtained through the courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library and were digitized by the University of California Libraries. The complete work can be viewed at

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Tannery’s Works of Fermat," Convergence (July 2016)