The Papers of George Boole, F.R.S. (1815-1864)

Section 1

B. Letters of Maryann Boole

I. Letters to Maryann Boole

i. from W. Atkin of Lincoln

BP/1/238 (See Also BP/1/331)

4 pages
1 Apr 1865

From W. Atkin to Maryann Boole thanking her profusely for the expressions of friendship she used when referring to him in a letter to Miss Chaloner. He would be delighted to send her his recollections of Boole which he will compile, and expresses his sympathy over her loss. He adds apologetically that he lost a book in which he had put some of Boole's poetry and translations.


2 pages
16 Jan 1866

From W. Atkin to Maryann enclosing [letters from Boole] not in collection. He apologises for his delay in sending them, and asks her to visit him if she comes to Lincoln, and to tell him how George died. Promises to send her any material he has relating to George's early life.


5 pages
28 Jan 1866

From W. Atkin to Maryann sending his recollections of Boole as requested. He can remember the dispute between Boole's father and the Mechanics Institute but does not go into details. He also remembers Boole and his father exhibiting an eclipse of the sun in a dark room, and Boole's lecture on Sir Isaac Newton which was very well received although his mother was nervous that it wouldn't be. Of Mrs. Boole (his mother) he says, 'she was always when in health very cheerful and good company.' She and Boole used often read to each other. He also mentions Boole used to bring a bell belonging to the town clerk with him to the local theatre for the manager's use, and so thus gained free admission.

ii. letters from Thomas Bainbridge of Bainbridges commercial Academy

BP/1/241 (See Also BP/1/244)

2 items
2 Dec 1852

Original plus typed copy from Bainbridge to Morgan giving his recollections of Boole. He began teaching him in 1828, when he already knew some arithmetic and base Latin. By 1830 he could read with little difficulty any Latin or Greek author and was familiar with the greater part of Euclid. Bainbridge remarks, 'he was very diligent, seemed thoughtful beyond his years.' He also recollects that Boole was a rather solitary child: 'he never played with his school-fellows but had one to two friends of congenial minds.' He adds that Boole's father was a self-educated man who taught himself accountancy and maths and who understood Euclid easily.

iii. letters from her brother William Boole


2 pages
2 Mar 1865

Incomplete letter from William to Maryann discussing his reminiscences of their brother George. He speaks of George's aversion to fishing: 'he like myself could not bear the idea of hanging a live worm upon a hook as a bait for fishes.' He declares Boole was the champion of the underdog and would often 'run across a street in the greatest excitement and indignation on seeing a brutal fellow strike a woman, to prevent a repetition of the cowardly act.' He was also against slavery. Closes by hoping Maryann will soon recover her spirits.

iv. letters from William Brooke of Lincoln


20 pages
[1864 / 65]

From Brooke in Lincoln to Maryann, sending her his sincere and heartfelt condolences on the death of George. He gives comfort to her and himself by saying in George's death 'I see the wise hand of Providence.' Also he recognises her loss is greater than others as she and George were so close. He has informed the Perrys and the Chalonders of Boole's death as he was keeping them up to date during the illness. He is relieved to hear Mary Boole is recovering - she had sent him a letter stating all was over. The letter was calm in tone although: 'The agony was in it - but not as it works in common minds.' He welcomes the tributes the press are giving Boole but adds: 'I wish I might hope that the Catholic Press also did him justice.' He then turns to speak of his memories of Boole - 'He was made up of an exquisite reality and simplicity' - and mentions the commotion caused by Boole when he was ill and sent his translations of Melagers 'Ode to Spring' (which he wrongly ascribes to Horace), to a local newspaper and some people refused to believe that the work was that of a young boy. He adds Hutchin had broken the news of the death to him before Mrs. Gibson's letter reached him, and he at once assisted in the compilation and correction at local authorities. One incident though is preying on his mind. Before he learned Boole was ill he had sent Mary Boole a hymn containing the lines 'And thou, beloved Mary, Long partner of my cares, In this dark path are torn away In agony of tears' and he hopes it did not unduly upset her. In a postscript he muses on how much harder it is to cope with the loss of a sibling than a parent whom one accepts will predecease one.


1 pages
2 Jan 1864

Typed copy of a letter from W. Brooke to Maryann giving recollections of Boole's early tuitions. He states he had forgotten he had ever helped Boole with Latin until Boole himself reminded him, adding: 'But he must soon have shot far beyond his teacher.' He remarks that given his few educational opportunities Boole had a remarkable knowledge of the Classics. He believes though that Thomas Bainbridge did little to shape Boole's career, describing him as 'puzzle headed' and relates an incident when he misinterpreted a reading by Boole to illustrate this.


4 pages
2 Mar 1865

Incomplete letter from Brooke to Maryann mainly giving more reminiscences of Boole. He is glad to hear she is coming home and thanks her for being so kind to Boole's widow and children and also for sending him a lecture of Boole's. He mentions another lecture on polytheism which he hopes will be found. She had requested him to send any memories he has of Boole's early life and family which he now does. He mentions the controversy over her father's post as curator of the Mechanics Institute but he cannot remember why he resigned apart from some dissension with a Mr. Hunt as her father's 'high spirit would not submit to be dictated to by a man whose principal feature was a blustering and unfeeling interference.' In connection with Boole's school at Waddington he remembers the rent was very high and Boole had not enough boarders and the failure of a Mr. Hall to canvass for them. Boole's despondency over the matter he says is clearly evidenced in his correspondence with Mr. Moor Hamilton, Hall's Lawyer. He adds Boole was bailed out by Mr. Newton (the butcher). Closes with expressions of goodwill.


8 pages
[ ]

From Brooke in Lincoln to Maryann congratulating her on her new appointment but cautioning her: 'Those single darlings are often spoilt pets and I had rather you had the schooling than myself.' He strongly urges her to excite her pupils' interest in nature and the great wonders and sights of the world (he suggests describing the Coliseum by night), and to convince 'Maw and Paw' to send their daughter on a European tour on which Maryann could accompany her. He has been journalising his tour of Europe for her but remarks one story is so ugly he will not let her or George read it saying, 'ugly maidens should be avoided for ladies.' He then turns to local news, telling her about his sister's health. He also remarks he finds Victorian families have nicer children than any others. His thoughts turn to Mary Boole and he hopes she will be alright during the coming winter as her house is very exposed, but adds the landlord might add a porch, and her new child should be a joy to her. He reminisces on the beauty of Dublin Bay which on first sight reminded him of Roger's description of Columbus' first night in the new world. Closes by requesting her to inquire about Ann Lloydd, his old master's daughter who is now aged about 70 and is living in Dublin. Her father had been a Professor at Carmarthen University.


4 pages
[ ]

From Brooke to Maryann giving her general news. He opens good humouredly with a wry tale of how children are trying to steal his apples, one of which he plans to present to his next door neighbour, 'The fair Widow Sutton'. He exclaims, 'oh the delights of the suburbs, with an aggressive population and never a constable.' Mentions his sister-in-law is home. His thoughts then turn to religion and: 'How one sometimes (thoughtfully) is inclined to envy the poor Catholic their pious ejaculations of "God rest his soul.' He feels it must be a great comfort to know one's prayers are helping those in purgatory, and adds in his old age he finds his thoughts turning more and more to theology. He also brings up an article he read about a 150ft. long sea serpent living in a Scotch lake. He has never heard any more about it and half believes he probably dreamt the article up and adds jokingly, 'who knows but he might turn up in Killarney.'


3 pages
[ ]

From Brooke to Maryann. In a letter covering many subjects he mentions the religious troubles in Ireland which he feels are caused by the Roman Catholic priesthood, and mentions Clarke in Canada (See Also BP/1/255) must also be troubled by rebels. Also mentions he is under the care of Dr. Banks. He would have loved her to visit but all his spare rooms are filled with books in preparation for a sale. Mentions there was 'a remarkable display of sheet light last night' which he gleefully remarks caused great confusion in Churches and Chapels. He also makes some obscure references to Gladstone: 'and Mr. Gladstone pray let him go and remonstrate.'


4 pages
[ ]

Incomplete letter from Brooke to Maryann. In an unusually morbid tone he discusses his health and his belief he has reached 'the beginning of the end', but adds he only tells her this to excuse his delay in sorting papers for Mrs. B. [Mary Boole]. He is looking through Boole's 'Cambridge letters' and can reassure her no confidential conversation between herself and Boole was mentioned in them. In Lincoln the streets are snowed up, 'like nothing in Ireland as I believe.'


4 pages
28 July [ ]

From Brooke to Maryann thanking her for her kind letter. He cannot remember if he replied to it, but will do so now anyway. He was delighted to hear of her visit to Cork. He has 'sweet recollections' of his own visit, and would enjoy seeing little Alice. His nephew's son is doing very well at school and his nephew wrote to say his son would be a second Boole: 'didn't I make a wry face at reading it.' His delay in writing has been due to his upset over 'an humiliating and disgusting affair.' The pastor at the local Church was convicted of 'trying to corrupt the minds of some innocent little girls for the most detestable purposes.' He was sentenced to six months hard labour. He adds a postscript referring to his sister-in-law as being his only comfort beyond poignant memories of dead friends.


4 pages
5 Sept [ ]

From Brooke to Maryann, explaining he only sent half a letter the last time to her. This present letter has a rambling tone and he opens by telling how much he is looking forward to the return of his sister-in-law. He then speaks of his tardiness in reading Wordsworth, a poet he has too long neglected: 'this is not matter to be glibly run over like Scott or Moore.' He complains about the lack of powerful preaching in Lincoln and marvels at how strong the lungs of medieval monks who had to preach in the open air must have been. Following from this he gives a brief history of the Asylum grounds formerly owned by the Duke of Lancaster. He ends with some comments on a brief for the Bishop, a Latin Epistle to 'The old Catholics' in Cologne calling up 'vain regrets for the lov'd and lost. My dear father and your dear brother would have looked on with great interest.' The article also calls for retribution rather than peace. Adds he encloses 'all the scraps, intended for you.'

v. Letters from Dr. J. Bury to Maryann Boole

BP/1/252 (See Also BP/1/335)

1 pages
27 Nov 1865

Typescript copy of a letter from Bury to Maryann, giving his recollections of Boole. He discusses Boole's love of knowledge and his belief that only reading of a subject can make one proficient in it. But he believed too much reading had strained his left eye, and he was convinced he would eventually go blind. So he began to practice playing music which he felt would be a comfort to him if he lost his sight, but he played only sacred music.


1 pages
[ ]

Incomplete biographical letter from Dr. Bury to Maryann in which he tells her that although Boole was charitable to men's failings, he could also be withering in his contempt. Also he hated to be praised, and always spoke modestly about the value of his work. He adds Boole was a great admirer of Dr. Thomas Brown.

vi. letters from Charles Clarke to Maryann Boole


2 items
17 Dec. 1865

Original plus typed copy of a letter from Charles Clarke in Canada to Maryann, thanking her profusely for writing, and discussing his requested recollections of Boole. He opens however with a long passage on the different types of weather experienced in Canada 'because you Englishmen who stay at home at ease underrate our Canadian climate.' He has heard English people believe Canadians never see the sun and feed on blubber to survive the cold. He then turns to his recollections of Boole. Boole's mother was the midwife who delivered him, and later he attended Boole's school in Grammar School Lane. His mother had sent him there as she wanted him to be educated as an usher (assistant teacher), but he had other plans and became an assistant draper. He makes the premise that all his recollections are therefore those of a schoolboy. He remembers Boole taking the class on walks on which he would become so lost in thought the walk would last an hour more. Of Boole's character he says 'when he did unbend he must have been a genial companion, rich in almost childlike love of fun and frolic.' In his school he rejected learning by rote, and tried to impart to the boys ideas rather than words. Every Friday he would give a special lecture on a subject picked by the boys on the preceding Friday. He taught a variety of subjects including astronomy and geology, and often spoke in awe of electricity: 'the one natural agent by which the Creator performed his great work in the universe.' He had however some faults as a teacher - his handwriting was bad due to faulty sight and he was useless at cricket. Clarke mentions an incident where one day Boole set his pupils a problem which had been puzzling the scholars of Lincoln but which he had solved as a boy. This situation reminded Clarke 'of the boy Christ confounding the doctors.' To encourage his pupils Boole would tell them how he loved to spend his Saturday half-holiday translating Virgil and says Helen [of Troy] was his first love. He was fond of both music and poetry, especially Milton. He was also strong and agile and used exhort his pupils to emulate Greek athletes. He hated cruelty and fighting in the school was a punishable offence. If a boy broke the school rules a mock trial was held to ascertain the punishment, and also to teach the boys how to conduct public meetings. He felt Boole was very religious and inclined towards Unitarianism, and he also believed nature was a Church built by God. The severest beating Clarke can remember him giving was to a boy called Rogers who was repeatedly caught stealing birds eggs, Boole flew into a rage with the boy, smashed the eggs and thrashed him. Despite this Clarke believes not a single ex-pupil disliked him. As an incentive to work Boole operated a ticket system by which tickets would be given for good work and could then be saved to buy privileges; 20 tickets equalled a half holiday. Clarke feels this method was a greater incentive to work than all the gilt-edged books given out on prize-giving day. Boole preferred to teach using visual aids and once took his pupils to a hill to view an approaching thunderstorm to explain the difference in speed of light and sound. He recalls that in Waddington Boole had fallen into debt, but that he was comfortably off in Lincoln. Mentions he never saw a notice for The Laws of Thought appear in a Canadian newspaper. He again reiterates that all his memories are boyish ones but hopes they can be of help. Adds Boole had a strong interest in astronomy, telescopes and cameras. Closes by telling her it only takes 13 days for a letter from Lincoln to reach Canada.

vii. letters from Miss M. Davis to Maryann Boole


12 pages
29 Mar. 1865

To Maryann from M. Davis, 3 Albert Terrace, Antaly Road [Lincoln], sympathising on her bereavement and recounting her memories of Boole in a glowing tribute. Unfortunately she destroyed when ill all letters from friends which she did not want others to read, and so has none from Boole. She declares she was glad Boole never attended a university as it would have left him very 'strait'. She feels also that Boole might have had a premonition of early death as he said on their last meeting that could be the last time that she would see him on this earth. She recollects he went to Waddington about 1832. She didn't see him then until 1847 and last saw him on 8 September 1860. Boole never made her feel intellectually inferior but gave her inner confidence. He was beloved in Waddington and regarded as a great teacher. She was shy of seeking his company as she was in awe of his 'mental greatness' so she did not know him very well but remarks Boole and Mr. Hall [her uncle] held each other in high mutual esteem. Boole could also be very absent-minded, and would sprinkle his food with an empty salt spoon, and then eat not noticing the food was unseasoned. Mr. Hall had always regretted the fact that Boole never went to college. She adds she never heard or saw an act of violence or severity performed by Boole against his pupils (see BP/1/225 above).

viii. letters from J. Dyson to Maryann Boole


3 pages
[ ]

Incomplete letter from [J. Dyson] to Maryann discussing his recollections of Boole, especially his love of poetry and his work as a poet. He also mentions Boole's love of architecture. He mentions Mr. Heighan's Methodist school at which Boole taught and where the local Methodists began to pray for his conversion, to which Boole took exception. Mentions he devoted a lot of his time to the study of Lucroix and Calcul.

ix. letters from Mrs. Anne Gisbon to Maryann Boole


12 pages
22 Jan 1865

To Maryann from Anne Gibson. She was present by Boole's bedside during his final illness and writes to chronicle for Maryann the events leading up to his death. On Tuesday 22 November he had a cough and felt very tired, but was lucid and discussed shareholder moves in the local gas company. The cold lasted a week so on the Sunday a doctor was called. Then Mrs. Gibson moved in at Mrs. Everest's request to look after Mary and ensure the children did not bother Boole. She tells Maryann he felt little pain, but was very peaceful with a clear mind. She mentions one of his last acts was to send money to the Dispensary doctor for the poor, and offers her sympathy to Maryann for her loss.

x. letters to Maryann from Joseph Hill


8 pages
4 Dec 1865

To Maryann from Joseph Hill, 7 Parliament Street, Hull. He is writing in response to Maryann's request to send her any letters or reminiscences of Boole. He mentions Waddington School which he has a faint memory of Boole sustaining a loss on when he surrendered the lease although he does not know why Boole had to leave, and he would prefer not to speculate. He does not feel though that he has much information useful for a biography but promises to write what he can, to aid her biographical work he divides Boole's life into 2 periods (early life, classical period). In relation to Boole's academic life he recollects a time when Boole felt he was indulging too much in his favourite studies and resolved to explore other areas of study which would benefit him. One such area was Ethics of which Hill says: 'How far he would found his system of ethics on the law of nature and how far the divine laws contained in the Bible, I do not know.' Adds Boole disapproved of [Paley]. Hill believes Boole loved maths because he could expand what others taught 'and become one of the mathematical instructors of the world', and that was the reason he choose maths over ethics. He also reveals that Boole first began to form a system for writing mathematical symbols for ideas not of a mathematical nature while he was travelling on a steamboat. He can't however remember the date. He ends by promising to write all his letters on similar paper with hinges so that they could be fastened together.


12 pages
20 Mar 1866

From Joseph Hill in Hull to Maryann continuing his reminiscences which he calls 'Memorabilia Booliana'. In this letter he discusses 'the fluctuations of his (Boole's) classical taste.' Boole was from an early age fond of the classics, and Hill remembers an open day at school when Boole recited his translation of Meleager's 'Ode to Spring'. While an assistant at Doncaster he continued his classical studies but later his taste changed to more modern literature. He spoke French, Italian and German and as his interest in these grew his interest in the Classics faded (Hill gives some examples of this change). At one point he had wished to learn Hebrew but he didn't want to over task his weak eyesight with Hebrew characters.


16 pages
24 May 1866

From Joseph Hill to Maryann continuing his remembrances of Boole. In this letter he concentrates on Boole's love of maths and his health. As schoolboys they used to amuse themselves with algebra and later Boole enjoyed solving the maths problems posed in the 'Ladies Diary' (see BP/l/222/(3)). In 1861 they went together to the International Exhibition in London where they viewed Babbage's calculating machine. Boole stated he did not understand the machine so Hill found a gentleman explaining its works to a lady and asked him to explain it to Boole also. While they were talking Mr. Babbage arrived and entered into a long conversation with Boole: 'the two great men together seemed to have taken steps towards the construction of that great prodigy a thinking machine'. He also remembers Boole once folding some paper to an angle of 450 and using it to measure distance and height. He also recalls that Boole liked to express mathematical ideas in a visible form. In relation to Boole's health he remembers him once walking from Lincoln to Doncaster, although he would never do so again. He was a sturdy walker of hills, but his sight was poor and he often had trouble deciphering Greek characters because of it. Hill himself believed diet altered a persons character and recalls that Boole ate a great deal of salt, even on bread and butter.


2 items
12 July 1866

Letter from Hill to Maryann plus partial typed copy, continuing his reminisces with the provisio 'I can only supply raw material to be cooked by his biographer'. He apologizes also for the irregular order of his recollections. He speaks here of Boole's attitude to people and to God. He could form a lasting attachment to people one such being Matthew Lilly who died a year before Boole did, and Hill's aunt whom Boole referred to 'as a very interesting old lady' and whom he introduced to Elihu Berritt. Boole despised those who after climbing the social ladder ignored their old friends. Also if he was criticising a friend he never mentioned their name so as not to damage their characters. He refers to a philosophical discussion he had with Boole over whether nature follows laws, or if it is used by God as he wishes. He recalls Boole stating everything that happens is affected by the power of God and that life would cease to exist if God's power was removed.


4 pages
23 May 1867

From Hill to Maryann enclosing some of Boole's ('my most learned and illustrious friend ') papers which he found in an old portfolio and continuing his reminiscences of Boole. He requested the wife of one of his clerks, Mrs. Carlyon, and a Mrs. Moulton of Lincoln to compose some poems in Boole's memory, copies of which he will send to her. He also offers her the services of his clerks to copy material for the biography. He remembers once suggesting to Boole that instruments should be made to imitate the sound of nature. Boole remonstrated with him and declared music is not an imitative act. He generally treated Hill's contempt of music as a matter for humour.


4 pages
25 June 1868

From Hill to Maryann again expressing his grief over Boole's death and enclosing the poems by Mrs. Moulton and Mrs. Carlyon (see BP/1/262, above) not in collection. He has been having difficulty compiling biographical material as he wishes to avoid repetition. Also he lost a book into which he had copied Boole's letters but he also blames his delay on his own 'procrastinating habits.' He parallels Boole's life and all men's with that of a river 'in some of which there are many turns and in some comparatively few' and mentions a turn in Boole's life when he moved from classical study to concentrate on modem languages, and appeared to develop a disrelish towards the former. He suggests that in her biography she should try and separate the different periods of Boole's life, 'the classical period, the ethical period, the literary period.' Mathematics however were always a part of his life to the extent that 'he was engaged in laying the formulation of a new science having some relation to mathematical logic and mental philosophy but not identical with any of them.'

xi. letters to Maryann Boole from M. A. Hill


4 pages
29 Dec 1865

To Maryann from M.A. Hill of Cottingham relating his remembrances of Boole. He has no more of Boole's poetry to send her beyond that which he already gave to Mrs. Boole. He speaks of Boole's desire to always remain humble and relates an anecdote that a newspaper man covering a speech of Boole's commented he never talks nonsense.

xii. Unidentified letters to Maryann Boole


8 pages
2 Jan 1864

To Maryann from [ ]. A rather morose letter opening with an apology for her delay in replying even though writing gives her pleasure 'in my lonely life' but hopes her tardiness won't deter Maryann from writing frequently as 'I begin to realise the bitter loneliness of old age.' She refers to a very pleasant visit to Sleaford she took with Maryann's sister-in-law and Miss Cronin. She is growing increasingly deaf, having difficulty especially hearing weak female voices and resolves to try her mother's ear trumpet. She mentions Richard [Andrew], a friend of Boole's who was 'like many other tradesmens' sons at college was sadly damaged by association with jovial fellows above him in rank.' She promises to seek out people's recollections of Boole but she will be hampered by the fact she rarely leaves her house. She herself remembers his wide range of knowledge and modesty and adds she hopes Mary Ellen is bearing up well; 'Feebler minds would fall into a torpid grief. Mentions Bernard [ ] who sent three or four letters to her which she forwarded to EB as they had 'some Cambridge features which Bernard has racily sketched especially of Prof. Lea.'


8 pages
[ ]

To Maryann from [ ]. A general letter opening with the writer's belief that Maryann should easily obtain a position as governess in Ireland 'on account of the brogue which more or less sticks to all native damsels.' While she does not like that accent on women she feels it suits men. Hopefully Maryann will get a position that would allow her to see the continent. She also mentions her sympathy with Boole over Q.C.C. opening with such small numbers, and asks her to thank 'him for the trouble he took' over a translation for her. She remarks she found the Wicklow coastline very shingly and invaluable. She is reading Lord Dutteren's work and remarks on the pleasure her imagination gets from the phrase, 'the girls have got hold of the four ropes.' She also refers to her concern for Boole living in Blackrock as that area is very stormy during winter. She mentions reports of panic in Wolverhampton and 'disgusting riots' at Nottingham where bread and meal were plundered and thrown about and windows were smashed, and also the 'disgusting expenditure' of the recent mayoral elections, and the popularity of Clayton as mayor. Thanks Boole for news of 'Pussy' (Mary Ellen Boole) and closes by telling her Bernard is dead.


6 pages
18 Mar 1853

To Maryann from [ ] in Gainsborough recording his memories of Boole his old teacher. Boole first came to Doncaster in 1831 where 'his advice and example gave the first impulse to Prose literacy pursuits that have been my chief solace and happiness through life' and adds Boole was devoted to his pupils. He regarded Milton's 'Paradise Lost' as an example of fine poetry. For recreation he studied French so he could read Lacroix's Differential and Integral Calculus. He remembers Boole sitting at his desk mechanically intoning 'Hush Hush' to the pupils when there was no noise. This the class found very amusing. He relates a number of anecdotes about Boole's childhood. As a young boy his father would give him some Euclid to study and reward him with a cake or toast if he did it well. He also remembers him rescuing a boy named Clegg who was out of his depth one day in a river in Lincoln. He also quotes some verses Boole wrote for him to send as a response to a Valentine. He also mentions the controversy caused by the publication of his translation of 'Ode to Spring'. He recollects Boole was very fond of music especially plaintive airs, and that he played the flute and the violin. He remembers Boole as having high regard for his parents.


24 pages
15 Jan 1865

To Maryann in Lincoln from [ ] giving the writer's requested recollections of Boole, but adding, 'I feel myself quite inadequate for the task to do justice where it is so deservedly due.' He begins by speaking of Boole's excellence as a young scholar; they met first in Lincoln aged 15 or 16 and often took long walks together in the countryside where he says, 'I often forgot I was weary so valuable was all the thought and all he said.' He mentions Boole's love of study, and his interest in poetry especially Lord Byron and quotes passages from Boole's favourite poems including some by John Milton and Mrs. Herner. He remembers Boole used to write poetry, but he has lost any copies he had. He (Boole) had only a few close friends with similar tastes as he 'could not endure trifling company.' Towards his friends 'his affections were strong, his professions sincere, he was free from guile', and didn't like to flaunt his intelligence. He was also devoted to his family: 'He honoured his father and mother, loved with enduring affection his brothers and sister.' He helped the writer get out of some dilemmas 'which are in recollection too painful to relate' by a loan. They only met twice in later years, both times by accident in the National Gallery in London where Boole was looking at the same picture each time. On their last meeting Boole mentioned he had problems caused by the Roman Catholic priesthood, but he does not remember the particulars. The last time they met was in Lincoln where once again the writer was in poor circumstances and felt like a stranger after living in London for 20 years. Closes by hoping his recollections will be of use.

II. Letters from Maryann Boole

i. to Miss Davis


92 pages
[ ]

From Maryann in Linburgh in Germany writing to Miss Davis in the form of a journal recording her stay in Germany. She requests that her 'Travellers Journal' may be passed on to her family and kept for her as a memento. Part I 6 Nov [ ], she left for Germany in the Heles McGregor. The passage was rough and she reports every lady on board was ill until they reached the Elbe, 'a broad noble river.' She was then met by a friend of a friend, Mr Ehlers De Hembing, whose English sister-in-law was the sister of Sir Thomas Tobin of Ballincollig, Cork. She comments, 'my first impressions of the German character are most favourable. Their hospitality appears to equal that of the Irish.' She then travelled to Henburg where she was met by a Mr. Weusthoff, and from there to Hamburg where Dr. Blennenthal's (her employer) son met her. She was a little dismayed by the Blennenthals house, as it was full of tobacco smoke and she found the sitting room comfortless: 'but I reflected that I had not come here to look for comfort and a day's familiarity with the place has made it look better.' Dr. Blennenthal himself is an invalid, crippled with a spinal or paralytic affliction, and she is to look after his five children. She finds Lineburg 'an exceedingly curious town', full of narrow streets with houses leaning towards each other. She also finds German cooking very different to what she is used to: 'I doubt whether I shall ever like very tough meat nor [ ] and herrings and mixtures of apples and potatoes.' Part II Nov - 27 Dec [ ], in which she details some of the historical and political background of Lineberg. Dr. Blennenthal is himself a senator although too ill to take any active part in government. Salt manufacture is an important industry in Lineberg, with enough manufactured there to supply all Germany. Lime trees border all public roads. She is getting to know the suburbs well as she goes daily for a long walk. It is bitterly cold, but she, prefers this to the moistness of Cork. 'Shooting and smoking' she says are the chief pastimes taught to both boys and girls from a very young age, and she adds 'Master Fritz Blennenthal although only eight years old is already an adept smoker. Music is played outdoors everyday by the military band, but ladies are not meant to stop and listen to it.' She was at a musical evening of Mendelhossen and Weber, one of eight similar concerts to be staged over the winter and costing 4s.6d.; her employers the Blennenthals are not musical. Her tastes have adapted themselves to German Cookery, and so far she has found no meat so tough as the first joint she tasted. She mentions soups are made from all sorts of material, some better than others. The vegetables come 'dressed in very strange fashions', with a favourite being a mixture of apples and potatoes, which she doesn't like at all. Pimpernichil rye bread which is made only at Osnabugh is considered a great delicacy but she finds it close, heavy and sour. She describes a normal day in the house: the family breakfast at 7.30, and then the boys go to school at 8.00, they dine at one, have coffee at 4.00 and then dine at 8.00 again. Coffee parties are very common, with Sunday being the favourite day for going visiting. Once a week they have an English evening when lady friends of the Blennenthals come to tea, after which Dr. Blennenthal begins reading from some English book which the ladies then continue. Maryann by request corrects their mispronunciations and reads last and longest. She feels Germans seem to associate gatherings with the attainment of a pursuit. Once a week they gather to read poetry also. She went also to a practise session of the local young people's choir and exclaims: 'It was almost worthwhile to come to Germany for the music alone.' On Sundays there are three services during which the shops close, but reopen for the rest of the day, and ladies spend the day visiting each other. She remarks the churches are made of stone and are very large and very cold. However the service is much simpler and shorter than in England. Christmas is a very important festival in Germany, with secret preparations being made leading up to Christmas Eve when the Christmas trees are lit, the decorations which mothers prepare in secret. On Christmas Day presents are exchanged. In the Blennenthal's house after church on Christmas Eve at 7.30 p.m. the folding doors of the drawing room were thrown open to reveal a huge Christmas tree. She found the sight so impressive and beautiful she wonders why it is not more widely adopted in England. So far she has found Germans to be very kind and friendly, and much less 'slaves of fashion' and conventions of society than the English. At first she felt lost amongst such different people and customs, but now she sometimes feels so at home she forgets she is in a foreign country. She mentions her happiness that the rights of women are so well upheld in Germany, as a wife gains her husband's title e.g. Frau Doctor. She is making good progress with her German, and is getting three lessons a week from a German lady at a cost of 16 lessons for 12 shillings. English is cultivated in Germany and takes the place French does in England. However she still finds it hard work to sustain a conversation in German. To meet people, she says, you must first call on them before they will call on you. She mentions each German state has its own coinage, and she finds this very confusing. In Hanover the currency has been changed to that of Prussia, but the old currency is still in circulation as well so things are very confusing. Part III She describes the New Year's celebration which are second only to Christmas. At the parties children throw pieces of [bread] into cold water, the shape it takes will then reveal their future. She remarks Germans dance remarkably well and very fast. It is considered improper for a lady over 25 to dance, and for any woman over 30 to dance is scandalous. She remarks she doesn't enjoy the German balls. She also finds the all female parties rather slow. Schools in Lineberg are considered very good, and some English and Scots families settle there for a few years while their children are being educated. She mentions the peasantry of the area speak low German, and remarks they seem quite well off, but can never rise to another rank. The peasant women wear a peculiar lace cap and lots of jewellery. At the age of 21 all men must enter their names for conscription, and are then chosen by a lottery to join the army. Their pay is very low, three shillings per week and two loaves, so many soldiers work as servants while off duty. Also no officer is allowed to marry without having 16,000 thalers. She remarks German young ladies seem to have the same weakness for officers as their English counterparts. She also is quite puzzled by the fact German girls take no exercise but yet can dance for seven hours consecutively and describes the betrothal and wedding ceremonies of one young lady. She feels German ladies are not as grave and refined as the English ones and are given to swearing. Part IV She states Easter is even more highly thought of than Christmas, and it is seen as the beginning of the new school year and also as the correct time to change classes. The promotion of children to higher classes takes place in a large public ceremony, and confirmation, which is taken more seriously in Germany than England, is also performed at Easter. Mentions drunkenness amongst the lower classes is much less common there than England. One of Dr. Blennenthal's sons had scarlet fever and part of his treatment consisted of rubbing his body three times daily with bacon-fat. Part V 2 June [ ] She remarks on how industriously all German ladies knit. One woman she knows has over 70 pairs of stockings all which she made herself. The girls leave home for one year after their confirmation to go to another family to learn housekeeping and to be weaned away from home. She remarks housekeeping is the main business of a woman's life. The journal then finishes in the form of a letter to George Boole, with an added unfinished journal of a trip to the [Hanz] mountains she took with some friends detailing the stops the train took, and the scenery she viewed on the way.