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Pantas’ Cabinet of Mathematical Wonders: Images and the History of Mathematics – Obtaining Images – Resources

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

As the previous discussion has revealed, there are many available resources from which to seek historical mathematical images for instructional purposes, and I have suggested some techniques for their classroom introduction. We all have our personal collection of mathematics texts and reference books that can supply us with images. Library searches, especially among large university holdings, also prove fruitful; however, computer searches of existing digital collections similarly provide many visual treasures. A listing of some available sites appears below. In such search efforts, one must be mindful to comply with all legal and/or cost requirements attached to items.

However, the Mathematical Association of America, MAA, has compiled an archive of historical images specifically intended for instructional purposes that is available to all mathematics teachers and researchers free of cost. It is found online in the Association’s electronic journal Convergence as the feature “Mathematical Treasures.” The majority of images discussed here, together with over a thousand others, are available for use from “Mathematical Treasures.” I sincerely hope that many readers of this article will avail themselves of this wonderful resource.

Resources for Historical Images

The Mathematical Association of America > Convergence > Mathematical Treasures

United States Library of Congress > Digital Collections

World Digital Library > Mathematics

British Library > Digital Collection > Mathematics

Yale University > Beinecke Library > Digital Collections > Mathematics

University of Pennsylvania > Rare Books > Mathematics

University of Indiana > Lilly Library > Rare Books > Mathematics

University of Oklahoma > History of Science > Mathematics

Oxford University > Museum of the History of Science

Archimedean Palimpsest

Cuneiform Inscriptions
Friberg, Jöran. 2007. A Remarkable Collection of Babylonian Mathematical Texts: Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection of Cuneiform Texts I (Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences). New York: Springer.

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Pantas’ Cabinet of Mathematical Wonders: Images and the History of Mathematics – Obtaining Images – Resources," Convergence (May 2015), DOI:10.4169/convergence20150502