Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 July 2017
During the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, English men and women replaced their existing oral and object-based arithmetical practices with literate practices based on Arabic numerals. While the adoption of Arabic numerals was incentivized by continental commercial developments, this article argues that England's increasing literacy rates and the development of vernacular arithmetic textbooks enabled changing arithmetical practices. By exploring the qualities of printed books, analyzing marginalia in arithmetic textbooks, and examining changing educational advertisements and curricula over time, we can demonstrate the importance of literacy and literature to early modern arithmetical education.
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45 Didactic books, in general, often had long “afterlives” in the early modern period. Natasha Glaisyer, “Popular Didactic Literature,” in Raymond, ed., Oxford History, 1:510–19, at 514.
46 21793, fol. 2v, Huntington Library, San Marino (hereafter HEH).
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63 646/A, Wellcome Library, London; 8506.aa.34, BL; M.6.58, CUL; and C.115.n.43, fol. A2r, BL.
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79 BL Add. MSS. 4239, fol. 18r. The inclusion of Hill in this list is curious, as the ESTC only records one edition of his arithmetic textbook, as opposed to Recorde and Baker's frequently reprinted textbooks. It is possible that other editions have been lost to the historical record or that Martindale had personal experience with Hill's arithmetic that made him highly value the book despite its failure to be reprinted. Hylles, Thomas, The arte of vulgar arithmeticke (London, 1600)Google Scholar.
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120 Although the grammar school was teaching Arabic numerals and ciphering as early as 1597, the school's various accountants used Roman numerals to record monetary entries and sums until 1669/70. Stocks, George Alfred, ed., The Records of Blackburn Grammar School, Remains, Historical and Literary, connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancashire and Chester, n.s., 66 (Manchester, 1909), 1:73Google Scholar.
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125 Ruth Wallis, “Hodder, James (fl. 1659–1673), arithmetician,” ODNB, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/13416.
126 Ruth Wallis, “Cocker, Edward (1631/2–1676), calligrapher and arithmetician,” ODNB, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/5779.
128 Lilly, Merlini Anglici Ephemeris, F8v.
129 Sarah Powell and Paul Dingman, “Arithmetic Is the Art of Computation,” http://collation.folger.edu/2015/09/arithmetic-is-the-art-of-computation.
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135 Willis and Merson, Calendar, 86.