Guide to the Thomas Banchoff collection of materials relating to Edwin Abbott Abbott, 1865-2001

(bulk 1865-1927)


John Hay Library, University Archives and Manuscripts
Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: Manuscripts: 401-863-3723; University Archives: 401-863-2148
Email: Manuscripts: hay@brown.edu; University Archives: archives@brown.edu

Published in 2021

Collection Overview

Title: Thomas Banchoff collection of materials relating to Edwin Abbott Abbott
Date range: 1865-2001, (1865-1927)
Creator: Banchoff, Thomas
Extent: 0.25 Linear Feet1 document box
Abstract: The collection is comprised primarily of photographs of Edwin Abbott Abbott, his family and associates as well as correspondence between them. It also includes some newspaper clippings and one notebook belonging to Edwin Abbott Abbott.
Language of materials: English
Repository: John Hay Library, University Archives and Manuscripts
Collection number: Ms.2011.016

Scope & content

The collection comprises material collected by Thomas Banchoff, a professor of mathematics at Brown University. It is focused primarily on public education in England and one of the most prominent pioneers, Edwin Abbott Abbott. It is arranged into 1 series: Edwin Abbott Abbott. It consists of the following material: Photographs: photographs of Edwin Abbott Abbott, his family, his wife's gravestone. Also Basil Blackwell (founder of Blackwell Press), Israel Gollancz (cofounder of British Academy, student of Abbott) and his son Oliver, Frank V. Mortley (reviewer of Flatland), John Patterson (lawyer and friend), Alfred Vardi (schoolmaster, friend). There are also photographs of Thomas Banchoff in England. Correspondence: letters to his friends, associates, and family. Notebooks: 1 notebook allegedly belonging to Abbott. Clippings: newspaper clippings highlighting various individuals related to Abbott and their achievements, also Abbott's obituary.

Arrangement

The collection is organized in one series: I. Edwin Abbott Abbott.

Biographical note

Edwin Abbott Abbott was born in London on December 20, 1838. He was the eldest son of Edwin Abbott (1808–1882), headmaster of the Philological School, Marylebone, and his wife, Jane Abbott (1806–1882). His parents were first cousins.

He was educated at the City of London School and at St John's College, Cambridge, where he took the highest honors in classics, mathematics and theology, and became a fellow of his college. In particular, he was 1st Smith's prizeman in 1861. In 1862 he was ordained in the Church of England. After holding masterships at King Edward's School, Birmingham, he succeeded G. F. Mortimer as headmaster of the City of London School in 1865 at the early age of twenty-six. Here he oversaw the education of future Prime Minister H.H. Asquith. He was Hulsean lecturer in 1876. Twenty four years of work placed him among the acknowledged heads of his profession and made his school famous with the Universities.

He married Mary Rangeley, of Derbyshire, in 1863. His marriage was long and happy. They had two children: a son and a daughter. Mrs. Abbott died on February 5, 1919.

Though offered a Headmaster's position at Wellington College, he retired in 1889, and devoted himself to literary and theological pursuits. Dr. Abbott's liberal inclinations in theology were prominent both in his educational views and in his books. His Shakespearian Grammar (1870) is a permanent contribution to English philology. In 1885 he published Francis Bacon, an account of his life and works. His theological writings include three anonymously published religious romances: Philochristus (1891), where he tried to raise interest in Gospels reading, Onesimus (1882), and Silanus the Christian (1908).

More weighty contributions are the anonymous theological discussion The Kernel and the Husk (1886), Philomythus (1891), his book The Anglican Career of Cardinal Newman (1892), and his article The Gospels in the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, embodying a critical view which caused considerable stir in the English theological world. He also wrote St Thomas of Canterbury, his Death and Miracles (1898), Johannine Vocabulary (1905), Johannine Grammar (1906).

Abbott's best-known work is his 1884 novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions which describes a two-dimensional world and explores the nature of dimensions. It has often been categorized as science fiction although it could more precisely be called "mathematical fiction."

Abbott also wrote educational text books, one being Via Latina: First Latin Book which was published in 1898 and distributed around the world within the education system.

Edwin Abbott Abbott died of influenza on October 12, 1926 at his residence at Hampstead at the age of 87.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: There are no restrictions on access, except that the collection can only be seen by prior appointment. Some materials may be stored off-site and cannot be produced on the same day on which they are requested.
Use of the materials: Researchers are advised that express written permission to reproduce, quote, or otherwise publish any portion or extract from this collection must be obtained from the Brown University Library. Although Brown University has physical ownership of the collection and the materials contained therein, it does not claim literary rights. It is up to the researcher to determine the owners of the literary rights and to obtain any necessary permissions from them.
Preferred citation: Thomas Banchoff collection of materials relating to Edwin Abbott Abbott, Ms.2011.0016, Brown University
Contact information: John Hay Library, University Archives and Manuscripts
Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: Manuscripts: 401-863-3723; University Archives: 401-863-2148
Email: Manuscripts: hay@brown.edu; University Archives: archives@brown.edu

Administrative Information

ABOUT THE COLLECTION  
Acquisition: The material was a gift in February 2009 from Thomas Banchoff, professor of mathematics at Brown University.
ABOUT THE FINDING AID  
Author: Finding aid created by Brown University Library staff.
Encoding: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2021-01-04.
Descriptive rules: Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Sponsor: Processing funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Additional Information

Related material: See also Thomas Banchoff's collection of information about Edwin Abbott Abbott in the Brown Digital Repository presented under the title: "Flatweb". That digital collection contains digital versions of many of the items described in this collection plus additional resources.

Inventory


Series I. Edwin Abbott Abbott
46 folders

Container Description Date
Box 1, Folder A ALS from EAA to My dear Bonney
1865 October 17
Box 1, Folder B ALS from EAA to John Percival
Contents Note: Letter Edwin A. Abbott to John Percival dated Jan. 26, 1892. In the letter Abbott enclosed a "circular which my sister has recently issued, in case any of your pupils' parents may want a home for young Indian children." Abbott also alludes to a "big book" he has in the press. He writes that the book will be too big to send and requests that Percival get a copy from Mudie's.

1892 January 26
Box 1, Folder 1 ALS from EAA to [Sir Israel] Gollancz
Contents Note: Sympathy letter

1895 November 30
Box 1, Folder 2 ALS from Mary Abbott to Sir Israel [Gollancz]
Contents Note: Letter is dated "1/2/27." Letter states Mary Abbott's intention to give "a little book of notes by my Father," apparently enclosed with the letter, to Sir Israel Gollancz. This book of notes is also in this collection.

1927 February 1
Box 1, Folder 3 TLS from Edward W. Candler to Edwin Abbott
Contents Note: Edward W. Candler was the son of Howard Candler, to whom EAA dedicated his book Flatland. Edward Candler joined the law firm established by John Paterson which became Paterson, Candler and Sykes. Gift of Hillary Hammer, Esq., attorney at Vizard's law firm, successor of Paterson, Candler and Sykes.

1927 February 21
Box 1, Folder 3A ALS from Thomas Banchoff to Rev. Prof. R. J. Bonney
Contents Note: Photocopy, 2 copies; regarding "My dear Bonney in 1865 letter (Folder A)

2001
Box 1, Folder 4 ANS: Report of EAA on teaching of arithmetic
Contents Note: Signed with initials "E.A.A." Gift of William Hallett, Head Porter and Archivist, City of London School.

1881 October 13
Box 1, Folder 5 Notebook of EAA with his notes
Contents Note: Given to Sir Israel Gollancz by Mary Abbott in her letter dated "1/2/27" [i.e. 1 February 1927?]. Includes notes on: Dante's Inferno ("19/9/67," 24 pages); Richard II (1 page); logical fallacies (9 pages, 1 diagram); Spenser's Faery Queen [sic] ("20/12/66," 32 pages); "In Memoriam" (16 pages); Chaucer's Prologue (4 pages); Macbeth ("14/1/69," 10 pages); Synopsis (3 pages).

Box 1, Folder 6 Obituary and newsprint reproduction of photograph of EAA
Contents Note: The photograph is a reproduction of a 1914 original. The obituary appeared in The Times (London).

1926 October 13
Box 1, Folder 7 Obituary tribute of Sir Basil Blackwell
Contents Note: Obituary from the Manchester Guardian. Basil Blackwell's publishing house B. Blackwell brought out various editions of EAA's book Flatland.

1984 November 4
Box 1, Folder 8 Photograph (reproduction): Edwin Abbott
Contents Note: This Edwin Abbott was the father of EAA. From the album of Peter Eden, grandnephew of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 9 Photographs (2): Oil painting of Edwin Abbott
Contents Note: One photograph is an enlargement of part of the painting. This Edwin Abbott was the father of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 10 Photograph: Miniature oil painting of Edwin Abbott
Contents Note: This Edwin Abbott was the father of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 11 Photographs (4 reproductions): EAA
Contents Note: From the City of London School.

Box 1, Folder 12 Photograph: Portrait of EAA by Sir Hubert Herkomer
Contents Note: From Headmaster's office, now in new City of London School main hall.

1891
Box 1, Folder 13 Photograph (reproduction): EAA (profile view)
Contents Note: From the album of Peter Eden, grandnephew of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 14 Photograph (reproduction): William Steadman Aldis and EAA
Contents Note: From the University of Auckland, New Zealand. William Steadman Aldis was First Wrangler, Smith's Prizeman. EAA was Chancellor's Medallist, First Classics.

Box 1, Folder 15 Photograph (reproduction): EAA (with full beard)
Contents Note: From the album of Peter Eden, grandnephew of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 16 Photograph (reproduction): EAA
Contents Note: [EAA is standing behind an open volume, and his spectacles are not visible, in contrast to another photograph taken at this time in which his spectacles are on the paper in front of him.]

1914 March
Box 1, Folder 17 Photograph (reproduction): EAA
Contents Note: From the City of London School. [EAA is standing behind a piece of paper with his spectacles on it.]

1914 March
Box 1, Folder 18 Photograph: Mary Elizabeth Rangeley Abbott
Contents Note: Gift of Barbara Phillipson. On the back of the photograph is written "Mrs. Abbott." Mary Elizabeth Rangeley Abbott was the wife of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 19 Photograph (reproduction): Mary Elizabeth Rangeley Abbott
Box 1, Folder 20 Photograph (reproduction): Mary Abbott
Contents Note: Mary Abbott was the daughter of EAA. From the album of Peter Eden, grandnephew of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 21 Photograph (reproduction): Mary Abbott
Contents Note: Mary Abbott is in the white blouse in the center. This photograph is of the Girton [College, University of Cambridge] First Year Class, 1889

1889
Box 1, Folder 22 Photograph (reproduction): Edwin Abbott
Contents Note: This Edwin Abbott was the son of EAA. From the album of Peter Eden, grandnephew of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 23 Photograph (reproduction): Judge Edward Abbott Parry
Contents Note: Edwin Abbott Parry was the nephew of EAA. From the album of Peter Eden, grandnephew of EAA.

Box 1, Folder 24 Photographs (2): Gravestone of EAA and family, Hempstead
Contents Note: Most clearly visible is the inscription for Mary Elizabeth Abbott, [?] August 1843 -- 5th February 1919.

Box 1, Folder 25 Photograph: Sir Basil Blackwell
Contents Note: In this photograph, Blackwell is reading the edition of EAA's Flatland published by B. Blackwell.

Box 1, Folder 26 Photograph (reproduction): Howard Candler
Box 1, Folder 27 Photograph (reproduction): Howard Candler
Contents Note: The information on the back of the photograph is from Barbara Phillipson. Phillipson was the granddaughter of John Paterson (see Fd. 36), EAA's friend and lawyer, whose law firm Edward Candler, Howard's son, joined.

Box 1, Folder 28 Photograph: Howard Candler
Contents Note: Gift of Barbara Phillipson.

Box 1, Folder 29 Photograph: Portrait of Howard Candler
Contents Note: This portrait was done by Candler's youngest daughter, Bertha. Gift of Bertha Candler's son.

Box 1, Folder 30 Photograph: Bertha Candler
Contents Note: Bertha Candler was the youngest daughter of Howard Candler, not his youngest sister, as the note on the back of this photograph states. Gift of Barbara Phillipson.

Box 1, Folder 31 Photograph (mounted): Sir Israel Gollancz
Contents Note: Israel Gollancz was a student of EAA, and cofounder of the British Academy. Gift of Oliver Gollancz.

Box 1, Folder 32 Photograph: Oliver Gollancz
Contents Note: Oliver Gollancz is the son of Sir Israel Gollancz.

Box 1, Folder 33 Photograph (reproduction): C. Howard Hinton and family in Japan
Contents Note: This photopraph was taken after the Hinton family left England, Hinton having been convicted of bigamy. Gift of Jean Rosner, granddaughter of C. Howard Hinton.

Box 1, Folder 34 Drawing (reproduction): Frank Morley
Contents Note: This drawing was done by A. Hugh Fisher. Frank Morley was a professor at Johns Hopkins University and founder of the American Journal of Mathematics. He was the father of Frank V., Christopher (author), and Felix (editor, president of Haverford College), all Rhodes Scholars.

1929 October
Box 1, Folder 35 Photograph: Frank V. Morley
Contents Note: Frank V. Morley was the reviewer of the republication of EAA's Flatland in the Saturday Review of Literature, 1926. This is a publicity photograph.

1978
Box 1, Folder 36 Photograph (reproduction): John Paterson
Contents Note: John Paterson was a friend of and the lawyer of EAA. Paterson served as the attorney of many of his friends. Gift of Barbara Phillipson, Paterson's granddaughter.

Box 1, Folder 37 Photograph (reproduction): Alfred Vardy
Contents Note: Vardy was a schoolmaster and one of EAA's best friends. Gift of Barbara Phillipson.

Box 1, Folder 38 Photograph: Thomas F. Banchoff and James Boyes
Contents Note: Banchoff (the donor of this collection) is Professor of Mathematics at Brown, and Boyes was Headmaster of the City of London School, of which EAA was formerly Headmaster. This photograph was taken in the Headmaster's office.

1978
Box 1, Folder 39 Photograph: Professor Dirk Struik
Contents Note: This photograph was taken when the subject was 97 years old. Professor Struik donated a copy of the 1929 Teubner German edition of Flatland to Brown University Library.

Box 1, Folder 40 Photographs (4): City of London School (interiors and exteriors)
Contents Note: The City of London School was built in 1882.

Box 1, Folder 41 Photograph: Blackwell bookshop in Oxford, UK
Contents Note: This building is the site of the office of Sir Basil Blackwell.

Box 1, Folder 42 Photographs of Edwin Abbott Abbott obituaries/miscellaneous articles and obituaries published in the Hampstead and Highgate Express, April-May 1916 and undated
Box 1, Folder 43 Photographs of tribute to Edwin Abbott Abbott published on his 80th birthday