THE_BRITISH_ASSOCIATION_MATHEMATICAL_TABLES_COMMITTEE_v1

THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS Report on records of THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION MATHEMATICAL TABLES COMMITTEE 1871-1948 deposited in the Bodleian Library, Oxford Reproduced for the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre (CSAC 58/2/78) b ¥ Quality House, Quality Court, Chancery Lane, THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS No 78/15 London WC2A 1HP 1978 All rights reserved CSAC 58/2/78 CONTEMPORARY SCIENTIFIC ARCHIVES CENTRE Supported by the Royal Society, the British Library and the Council of Engineering Institutions Report on papers relating to: The British Association Mathematical Tables Committee 1871 - 1948 received from Professor M.V. Wilkes, FRS Compiled by: Jeannine Alton Harriot Weiskittel Deposited in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1977 British Association Mathematical Tables Committee CSAC 58/2/78 é Papers and Corresponde~ce relating to The British Association Mathematical . Tables Committee The papers were received from Professor M.V. Wilkes, FRS, who served on the Committee 1939-48, and who had in turn received them from Dr. J.C.P. Miller, the last Secretary of the Committee 1945-48. The Committee was set up in 1871, ‘for the purpose of reporting on Mathematical the Committee was re-formed Tables, which it may be desirable to compute or reprint'; and reorganised at various times but its purpose remained broadly along its original lines. In 1928 Col. A.J.C. Cunningham (member of the Committee 1895-1901, Secretary 1896-1901) died leaving in his Will 'one-twelfth part (of my residuary estate) for pre- This legacy was used to paring new Mathematical Tables in the Theory of Numbers". produce Vols. III, IV, V, VIll and IX of the B.A. Tables (see Section D). The B.A. Committee held its final meeting on 23 June 1948, its assets and liabilities, including the residue of the Cunningham bequest, being transferred to the Royal Society on 30 June 1948. A fuller account of the work, members and history of the Committee appears Contents 1948, Final Report 1925-1943 B.1 - B.20 Annual Reports of the Committee 1896, 1923-1939, A.1 -A.4 Minute Books of the Committee 1929-48 as a 'Short History' in the Final Report of the Committee (B.20) and also in the Memo- randum drawn up for submission to the Council of the British Association in March 1946 (A.4). Index of correspondents Misc. correspondence & papers relating to the Committee Correspondence & papers relating to Elliptic Functions Correspondence & papers relating to the Cunningham Bequest 1930-1960 Cet .d D.1-D.5 bol = E.3 British Association Mathematical Tables Committee CSAC 58/2/78 A.1-A.4 Minute Books of the Committee 1929-48 A.1 Exercise Book, incribed on front cover ‘British Association TABLES Committee’, and covering meetings Some reports and 11 Jan.1929-19 Nov. 1930. letters for the consideration of the Committee are The Minutes are kept in longhand and pasted in. there is a list of officers and members pasted in to the last page of the book. Three volumes, bound in blue cloth, 'B.A. Mathematical Tables These volumes are Minutes Vol.1.. Vol.2, Vol.3'. in typescript with some ms. additions and corrections. Vol.1 has a title page ‘Minutes & Papers of the British Association Mathematical Tables Committee December ‘These 1930-June 1948' with the inscription below: papers were in the possession of Dr. J.C.P. Miller, the last secretary of the committee, until late 1973. He then gave them to M.V. Wilkes who had them bound for preservation’. Vol.1 covers meetings 22 Dec. 1930-3 June 1935 with signatures of all members attending. annual lists of officers & members 1933-1940, 1943-46. It also includes Meetings 27 June 1935-15 Dec. 1945, with The last Minute is signed by A.J. Vol.2. signatures of all members attending. Meetings 6 Feb. 1946-23 June 1948, with Vol.3. signatures of all members attending. This volume includes the final meeting of the committee, with arrangements and terms for transfer to the Royal Society Mathematical Tables Committee,cnd future projects to be considered. Thompson 15 July 1948. account of the Committee's work for certain years. No Minute Books appear to survive from the earlier period, but references are made to, and extracts quoted from minutes of 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, relating to the committee's work on Elliptic Functions in Section C. The Annual Reports (Section B) also provide an British Association Mathematical Tables Committee CSAC 58/2/78 B. Annual Reports of the Committee B.1 1896. No reports were published 1916-1922. B.2-B.18 1923-1939. B.19 B.20 1948. Final report. n.d. British Association Mathematical Tables Committee 58/2/78 C.1-C.4 Correspondence & papers relating to Elliptic Functions 1925-1943 These papers were contained in an envelope addressed to J.C.P. Miller, with a ms. note 'COMRIE [L.J. Comrie, member of the committee 1928-37 and Secretary 1928-37] Elliptic Function correspondence etc." and a further 'Note Added by J.C.P. Miller Aug. 1974' as follows: by J.W.L. Glaisher, referred to in a letter by G.N. Watson lin C.2 below], were collected by me after his death from his home in Leamington Spa (i.e. Watson's home), and later presented by me, together with a large collection of Glaisher There is also a red papers (offprints) to Trinity College Library' [Cambridge]. ink note 'for MVW', which refers to Dr. Miller's handing over of all the B.A. Tables Committee material to Professor M.V. Wilkes. in C.4. 'The books on Elliptic Functions The envelope is included Among the first projects initiated by the Committee under its first Secretary, James Whitbread Lee Glaisher (Sec. 1871-89), was the preparation of Tables of Work on this reached an advanced stage, possibly the Elliptic Theta Functions. printers’ proof, and monies were granted for the publication, but none appeared. L.J. Comrie, who had had an interest in elliptic functions (C.1) served as Sec. of the Committee 1929-37 and attempted to trace Glaisher's work with a view to He maintained his interest in the calcu- publication, but without success (C.2). lation and publication of elliptic functions tables and initiated further corres- pondence and preliminary work on the subject with J.C.P. Miller 1941-43 (C.3). explanatory note, and have been left in his order. The disappearance of the work by J.W.L. Glaisher was never solved and a brief account appears in the ‘Final Report', B.20. 4 Correspondence & calculations on Elliptic Functions 1925-28, The papers in C.1 and C.2 were fastened together by Comrie, with an with a ms. covering note '1943 May 27. correspondence relating to tables of Elliptic Functions that were contemplated in 1928. Arthur Berry, Walter D. Lambert. Corresp.of Comrie with various colleagues about work on Elliptic Integrals, the use of 'calculating machines' and his proposed publication of 4-figure tables. of letters with Arthur Berry (March 1928) alerted him to Glaisher's work ‘said to be partly in type ot the C.U. Press’, and the work was also quoted as a reference in ms. calcu- lations accompanying a letter from Louis King (Feb. 1928) and marked 'X '!2L.J.C.' Corresp. with: Louis V. King, Harold Jeffreys, E.L. Ince, This file contains L.J.C.' His exchange British Association Mathematical Tables Committee CSAC 58/2/77 C.2 Correspondence 1929-35, with ms. covering note ‘Relating to To be returned Glaisher's Tables of Elliptic Functions. to 1.d.C,! Glaisher died in 1928; Comrie became Secretary of the The correspondence B.A. Tables Committee in 1928. deals with his attempts to locate, or trace the history of Glaisher's work on Elliptic Functions, from executors, colleagues, C.U.P. etc. The folder also includes extracts from the B.A. reports relating to the Committee for 1872-80, an extract from Glaisher's own account of his work on Elliptic Functions, and an extra copy of the 1930 Report of the Committee in which the matter is discussed. R. Vere Laurence, W. Lewis, F. Puryer Corresp. with: White, A.R. Forsyth, G.N. Watson, E.H. Neville, J.R. Airey, K. Pearson, W.H. Macaulay. 'The Tabulations of Elliptic Functions', 1941. 11 pp. paper prepared by J.C.P. Miller, with revisions and further notes after discussions and correspondence with colleagues, various dates Aug.-Oct. 1941. Correspondence and calculations on Elliptic Functions, 1943. (The original envelope with the covering notes is included Letters from Comrie to Miller on possible publication of Tables on Bessel Functions and Elliptic Functions, with calculations by Miller, and a letter fo Miller from A. Fletcher. here.) British Association Mathematical Tables Committee CSAC 59/2/78 D.1-D.5 Papers and correspondence relating to the legacy of Col. A.J.C. Cunningham to the British Association Mathematical Tables Committee, 1930-1960 In his Will Cunningham left 'one-twelfth part (of my residuary estate) for preparing new Mathematical Tables in the Theory of Numbers’. The sum involved was approximately £3,000. The correspondence discusses the interpretation of the terms of the Will and the purposes to which the legacy should most usefully be put. The Minutes & Annual Reports from 1930 onwards also refer passim to the bequest. The correspondents (Officers at various periods of the London Mathematical Society or the British Association Mathematical Tables Committee) are: Berwick, William Edward Hodgson Comrie, Leslie John Hardy, Godfrey Harold Heilbronn, Hans Arnold Hodge, Sir William Ince, Edward Lindsay Mordell, Louis Joel Watson, George Neville Western, A.E. 1931 and 1 letter 1930 (1888-1944) (1893-1950) (1865-1947) (1908-1975) (1903-1975) (1891-1941) (1888-1972) (1886-1965) - Correspondence and proposals for the Cunningham legacy (some in multiple copies), exchanged between G.H. Hardy, See L.J. Comrie, A.E. Western, W.E.H. Berwick. especially the detailed proposals made by Western (2 May 1930) and Berwick (19 February 1931), and the analysis and comments on them by Hardy (n.d.). recommendations were put to the Committee by Hardy for Berwick, Mordell, Western and himself on 29 November 1931; L.E. Dickson of Chicago on fifth powers, but the Committee postponed a decision, partly because of the high unem- ployment in Britain. generous benefactions made by American institutions to especially Hardy's letter of 4 March 1932, expressing his disappointment at the Committee's reluctance to make a grant from the Cunningham bequest to support L.E. Dickson's work, on technical grounds and also because of the many Correspondence between G.H. Hardy and L.J. Comrie. See 1932 Agreed they included a grant to support the work of British Association Mathematical Tables Committee CSAC 58/2/78 At its next meeting, on 17 March British scholarship. 1932, the Committee agreed to help Professor Dickson by meeting from the Cunningham bequest the costs of printing his results. Tables, 1933.) (This appeared as Vol. III of B.A. 1936-37 Letters from A.E. Western to E.L. Ince on work on 5th and 7th roots of unity to be done by Ince under the Cunningham Trust, and one letter to G.H. Hardy, 1936. 1937-39 and 2 letters 1945 Correspondence between L.J. Comrie and G.N. Watson re calculation and printing of tables; by Watson 'The computation of the error function’ (9 pp.). includes ms. paper Misc. shorter correspondence relating to the Cunningham Trust, addressed to A.E. Western: 1948 from L.J. Mordell 1949 (2 letters) from Sir William Hodge 1960 from G.N. Watson 1960 (2 letters) from H.A. Heilbronn British Association Mathematical Tables Committee CSAC 58/2/78 Misc. correspondence & papers relating to the B.A. Tables Committee, 1930-1946 (in chronological order) Corresp. on work to be undertaken on Emden Functions, 1930 (published as Vol .II of B.A. Tables 1932). 3 letters to Comrie from E.A. Milne. Letters exchanged between Comrie and J.R. Airey. Letter from Comrie to L.F. Richardson, with a copy of a letter from A.S. Eddington on Emden Functions. Letter from Comrie to E.H. Neville re publications, 1934. Misc. correspondence, drafts for committee papers etc. by or with J.C.P. Miller, 1936-1946. Miller's letter to E.H. Neville of 5 Jan. 1942 refers to 'Glaisher's Power Table proof', one of J.W.L. Glaisher's early projects which was eventually recovered and published, unlike his work on Elliptic Functions. CAD, ih, Oa, m ~ — e t 0 o N e e e e H H H N N O W T U N W P A A D T A a | M m a n N 9 g 9 v g Y N D N N A | | D N M M U O N M M A V O British Association Mathematical Tables Committee CSAC 58/2/78 Index of correspondents Airey, John R. Berry, Arthur Berwick, William Edward Hodgson Comrie, Leslie John Fletcher, A. Forsyth, Andrew Russell Hardy, Godfrey Harold Heilbronn, Hans Arnold Hodge, Sir William (Vallance Douglas) H. GP. Ince, Edward Lindsay Jeffreys, Sir Harold King, Louis V. Lambert, Walter D. Laurence, Reginald Vere Macaulay, W. Millet see Milne, Edward Arthur Mordell, Louis Joel Pearson, Karl Sadler, D. Thompson, A. Watson, George Neville Western, A. White, F. H. J. E. Puryer H M