The publication of a new impression of Professor E. G. R. Taylor's first volume of Mathematical Practioners so soon after the appearance of her second volume makes it a particularly appropriate time to take stock and consider the next steps. Despite various criticisms, some of which will be discussed below, all reviewers agree that her volumes mark a great advance in this field and will be of ‘immense service to scholars’. Our debt to the author is all the greater when we realize that these books followed on a whole series of standard works in her own subject of geography, and that she was neither a mathematician nor a bibliographer. The best tribute to Professor Taylor is to continue the work recorded in these two volumes, but there are few who have the detailed knowledge and expertise to follow her in such a wide field. This article will, for example, offer little comment on instrument-makers who form such a large section of her practitioners and who left records of their work in museums and private hands all over the country; here we shall be much more concerned with the written work, with the bibliography of the subject.
Reviewers of her volumes have found it difficult to define the practitioners of whom she wrote and to decide in what sense they differ from mathematicians in the normally accepted sense of this country or overseas.
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