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

Section 1

A. Letters of George Boole

I. Letters to/from Maryann

i. From George Boole to his sister Maryann (1847-1857)


12 Apr 1847

From Boole in Lincoln to Maryann who is holidaying with the Parry's. He advises her on where to sight-see and hopes the trip will improve her health and urges her to spend as much time in the fresh air as she can. Mentions a local schoolteacher who is renting his schoolhouse in the evenings to a temperance society. Boole feels this is a good idea, but he expects objections from the landlord. He tells her not to worry about him and their mother as Mrs. Elston is housekeeping for them, although he adds she cannot be said to replace Maryann. He includes some lighthearted verse beginning 'Maryann and Mary Jane I have heard your friends complain, that your cheeks are not so red, that their [roses] health are fled.'


3 pages

Incomplete letter from Boole to Maryann discussing repairs which need to be done to their house and a dispute over a pump with the local water factory in Lincoln. He also gives instructions for a number of donations to be made to charities in Lincoln [arising out of the settling of his late father's affairs], and instructions for Mr. May, the stonemason, as to the format of his father's tombstone.


4 pages
2 May 1849

From Boole in Lincoln to Maryann in which he deliberates over his future career. He applied for a professorship in Ireland but in the meantime was offered the headmastership of a Grammar School in Lincoln. He has received strong hints that he has been selected for the professorship but he is unsure which position to choose. The headmastership would be more financially profitable but he feels 'the Irish professorship will on the whole if I get it be the best for me.' He binds her to secrecy about his deliberations.


3 pages
21 June 1849

From Boole in Lincoln to Maryann wishing her a happy birthday. He also requests her to let their mother know on what date she expects to return to Lincoln. He adds he will be soon travelling to London and he hopes to find lodgings near Bloomsbury.


4 pages
5 July 1849

From Boole on holiday on the Isle of Wight to Maryann excitedly telling her how he is enjoying his holiday and describing the pleasure he feels when walking in the beautiful scenery. He has heard from Mr. Collins that her health is better and hopes she is happy and well looked after at Alticton and comments favourably on the scenery in that area. He adds though that he would enjoy some company on his holiday, he finds it a drawback to be there by himself. 'Monday the 16th is our examination E.B.' has been added at the end of the letter.


2 pages
25 October 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann informing of his safe arrival there and his impressions of Cork and Ireland. He seems pleased with his new home, 'The situation and the prospects around are all that could be desired.' Of the city he says it is 'rather fine', but 'like every other large hive of men it has of course its wretched [ ] abodes of misery.' However, the effects of the Famine were visible: of the countryside he saw on his train journey from Dublin to Cork, 'it is impossible to speak in terms too sad.' He saw 'scarcely a human being by the way or a herd of cattle in the fields.' He describes an encounter at Limerick Junction with some male peasants who had a unique air of 'defiant idleness' about them and comments that a man he met there told him he was paying 9s.6d in every pound to the poor rates.


4 pages
29 October 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, telling her about social conditions in Cork. Of the area around the college he comments that he sees little of the misery and poverty so abundant in the city. He describes an encounter with a crowd of beggars in a street who 'far exceeded in horror anything not only that I had ever before witnessed but that I had even read of.' He feels private efforts are not enough to alleviate the situation. He then describes a recent trip he took with Raymond De Vericour Professor of Modern Languages at [Q.C.C.] to Queenstown [Cobh], which reminded him of Lake Geneva and the Scotch lakes. He sends good wishes home to his friends and neighbours.


2 pages
3 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann sending her advice on the financial running of her school (when to send bills). He also mentions the Q.C.C. inauguration ceremonies are scheduled for the following week, while the scholarship exams are due to finish that day. His ceremonial robes are faced with scarlet which he finds somewhat offensive. 'To so sound a Protestant as I am this is a rather uncongenial colour.' He closes by requesting her to tell all his Lincoln friends he will write soon.


4 pages
9 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing financial matters relating to her school and giving more of his impressions of Cork. His teaching duties have been set at two hours a day for two classes 12.30 to 2.45 with a 1/4 of an hour break, and he hopes his fees will cover his personal expenses and leave his salary clear, but this will depend on the number of students who are accepted. He expects 200 to have entered by the end of the college's second year. He has been well received in Cork and believes his family could live there contentedly. Food is quite cheap, salmon being 4d. a pound; and fowl also very reasonable. His landlady is very conscientious but he remarks that his mother would be surprised at the juxtaposition of food she serves, turkey with beef, roast goose with roast bacon, and cheese with butter.


4 pages
16 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann giving her general news. He approves of Mr. Collins scheme [for her school] and compliments her on her version of Filcara which he felt was a fine composition but makes a few suggestions for alternative wording. He mentions he wrote three sonnets lately. With regard to Q.C.C. he received £28.lOs.0d. from the bursar for fees, the next instalment of which will be due in January. He is lecturing from 1 - 3 every day except Saturday and declares, 'I like my classes and only regret that they are small.' He is sorry to hear his mother is unwell but wants her to know he followed her advice to use a hot water bottle and no longer has damp sheets.


7 pages
25 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann mainly discussing her school and her dispute with Mr. Swift, stating he is more than surprised at Swift's behaviour. He comments on her circular advertising her school, and suggests a lady should not praise herself, but rather let her work be her advertisement. He advises her not to have her fees too high for fear of excluding respectable tradesmen, 'and they will be your best suppliers not the aristocracy.' Raymond De Vericour has been ill but is recovering and Boole comments, 'he is an unbounded favourite in Cork especially with the ladies whom he has won over by his lectures, his graceful manner and fine person.'


3 pages
26 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann containing more advice about her advertisement circular for her school. He believes a ladies' school should be run by ladies and feels Maryann is competent to teach arithmetic and geography and, so, need not state Mr. Collins will be on hand to assist her in those subjects as that would be an admission of ignorance. He believes she will distinguish herself as a woman teaching those subjects. He encloses a cheque for 10 guineas.


4 pages
3 Dec 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann mainly replying to statements in a letter from Maryann. He is sorry to hear their mother is unwell and states she is not to be worried about the future: 'she has no real cause of anxiety there.' He advises her on when to break up her school at Christmas, that if Mr. Swift wishes to break up at the 14th then acquiesce as it would give him an earlier opportunity of meeting the children's parents. He also instructs her to re-order the Education Times for six months for him. College is still going well, although his classes are still small. The wet weather has forced him to buy another pair of strong shoes, rain coat and a dressing gown. The damp climate has caused his walking stick to twist like a corkscrew, but a hot water bottle keeps his bed dry.


6 pages
7 Dec 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, a letter full of general news. He offers his sympathy on the illness of Mr. Merryweather, compliments her on her circular and states the money she makes from her school will be hers to do as she likes with and adds he will always be willing to support her financially. He sends his regards to all his Lincoln friends and inquires after his mother's health. The college has now taken in about 40 students, but he is not sure of the exact number. He went for a seven mile walk the day before and had planned to walk that day but the incessant rain has flooded all the roads and fields. However, he remarks the floods can abate in less that a day. Adds he visited the Cork Union [now St. Finbarrs Hospital] which contained 4,700 inmates. Mentions he is not looking forward to the long voyage home.


3 pages
11 Dec 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining his travel plans for his trip home. He hopes to arrive with a friend at 3 p.m., but will be later if he has to go via Holyhead rather than Liverpool. He is glad she sorted out her school problems but would like to have seen the pupils before they left. He is bringing his professional robes for their mother to see, but implores her to tell no one as 'I don't want to be teased by people.' He remarks he doesn't like their scarlet colour. He went to hear 'the Creation' last night which was very well performed. Sends good wishes to all his Lincoln friends.


8 pages
12/13 Dec 1849

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He hopes she received his cheque, and advises her when sending bills to pupils to make sure she does not overcharge. He himself is getting on well, 'I get on in the most satisfactory manner with my classes' apart from having a bad cold. Twenty more students from Newfoundland are expected in January. His landlord, Mr. O'Brien, lent him a pianoforte which he says is an example of the kindness he receives everywhere. 'I really do not think that there is anything like it to be found in England except in case instances.' He mentions the anniversary of their father's death and comments on how much better off they are than many. He adds that the Roman Catholic, churches in Cork have a low standard of music although he had heard some charming music in Cork. Mentions he plans to 'beg or buy' a drawing of a child by Miss F.C. recommended by William Brooke.


4 pages
10 Jan 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann requesting her to look for some books he left behind him on his last visit to Lincoln. As she is moving house he wishes Mr. Collins to organise payments of all accounts due to Boole with the provision: 'But wish him above all things to act justly and liberally' in the matter.

BP/1/18 (See Also BP/1/135)

4 pages
18 Jan 1850

Incomplete letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing the handling of her bills in Lincoln. He also gives some news of Q.C.C., eighty-nine students are now in attendance with sixty studying under Boole. He received £104.3s.4d. stipend for the term ending 5th January and is due another £25. He instructs her to draw £25 from his account in Lincoln for her upkeep. He mentions his new colleague, Mr. Shaw, whom he likes and concludes: 'My situation is on the whole pleasanter than it was last term.' He also advises her to give up her school work if it is affecting her health.


4 pages
25 Jan 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann referring to Matthew Taylor's efforts to find a suitable position. He adds the number of students at college has reached ninety, and again he wishes Maryann was in Cork with him.


4 pages
30 Jan 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann in which he scolds her for not writing to him. He relates what he has been doing and mentions the people he has met including a Quaker gentleman who owns a telescope. He is becoming increasingly dissatisfied with his lodgings, 'I do not feel that I am working so steadily as I ought to do. I am beginning to doubt whether living in lodgings is so favourable to the progress of one's studies as I had hoped to find it.' He does add that he does some work each day. He hopes her school is prospering.


6 pages
1 Feb 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann consoling her about the small number of pupils attending her school. He adds even if the school does not succeed she at least tried. He wonders if she could visit Cork. His social life is busier than ever and having his family around him would make things perfect. He adds also that he is working quite hard. He instructs her to have the outside of the house Mr. Dickson is renting painted and discusses Lincoln news she sent to him. He also instructs her to withdraw £25 from the bank to support herself.


4 pages
18 Feb 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, writing to let her know he has not forgotten her. He instructs her to tell Mr. Collins and Mr. Swift that it is the tenant who owes the property tax, and that Mr. Swift owes rent. A Mr. Dyson has applied to him for a testimonial which he feels he cannot give 'on account of his weakness and frivolity of character.'


4 pages
19 Feb 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann mainly concerning his interest in Matthew Lilley. He asks Maryann to inquire if Lilley is unemployed and if so to ask Mr. Dickson if he could give Lilley instruction for three hours per week. He hopes that might improve Lilley's character. He again complains that she is very slow to answer his letters. He has heard from his brothers Charles and William and remarks that Charles' letter was all about his wife Eliza, but was 'quite a pattern letter for an affectionate husband.' However, he adds he is very glad to hear they are happy.


8 pages
26 Feb 1850

Incomplete letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing her dispute with Mr. Swift and his own lifestyle in Cork. He feels Mr. Swift's letter to Maryann' was 'the production of a very coarse mind and you have answered it exactly as you ought.' He feels they will have a lot more trouble from Swift. Mentions he has resigned himself to the fact that it will rain throughout the Autumn terms and be dry occasionally during the other terms. He has been invited out to tea three times in succession and feel this is a good omen. He prefers joining a family at tea rather than at dinner. Due to his social obligations he has resolved to get up earlier in the morning to get more work done. The Queen's Colleges have begun to acquire a good reputation for teaching in Ireland and the Methodists have decided to give it their support although the Catholics remain divided. Mentions some domestic arrangements concerning the employment of [Charles ] and also that he would like to aid the Atkinson family of Lincoln financially. He inquires if he left some underclothes in Lincoln as he is missing some. Also he feels no addition is necessary to their father's tombstone.


4 pages
8 Mar 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann expressing his concern over their mother's illness, and also his wish to help the Atkinson family set up a toyshop. Also mentions his approval of the Mutual Improvement Society.


8 pages
16 Mar 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining why he has moved to new lodgings in Strawberry Hill. At his old lodgings at Castle White he spent too much time in conversation and not enough in work. This new accommodation is very pleasant and run by three middle aged sisters, 'apparently very intelligent and respectable.' He has decided to dine out only once a week and then only as a reward for hard work. His lecturing at college has been complimented but he stresses he is only telling her that to give her and their mother pleasure, not to boast. He has been told many times that his lectures are amongst the most popular with the students. He closes by commenting on news from Lincoln that Maryann wrote about and again instructs her to offer financial help to the Atkinsons.


6 pages
28 Mar 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He is suffering from toothache and influenza, but is being well looked after by his landladies. He complains that she has not written to him in over a fortnight and hopes she is not ill either. His friends, the Jennings, sent him jam and vinegar which he was instructed to rub into his skin. As a result his swollen face improved now resembling 'a good natured farmer - looking fierce in which all mankind would be disposed to place the most implicit confidence.'


4 pages
30 Mar 1850

Incomplete letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing her school and the flooding of Cork. He instructs her also to take no rent from Mr. Newton for the use of the rooms. He advises her against buying recommendations, he would rather she prove her work by work. In Cork a strong South Easterly wind has caused tidal flooding to occur in the city resulting in distress and hardship especially for the unfortunate poor who live in cellars, many of whom were seen by his friend Mr. Jennings who had to use a boat to travel the streets.


6 pages
4 Apr 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann telling her of his plans to spend a week in Ballycotton (the steamer to Aghada will cost him 1s.3d.). He mentions, 'the melancholy loss of the Cork [repel] on the [Goodcoins] it has excited much distress and sorrow here.' He instructs her to call on Mr. Swift for his half of the month's rent and cautions her to, 'keep quite clear of the hospital business' as he believes the matron was at fault. He 'jokingly' instructs her to tell Brooke and Dickson that he is 'courageous' and 'bold' and that as 'audaces fortuna jurat', he has secured good lodgings for 15 shillings per week, and is not charged over the long vacation. He mentions there is to be a public dinner for Sir Robert Kane the next week but he will miss it as he had a prior engagement with Major Ludlow Beamish, and is quite happy to miss it.


4 pages
14 Apr 1850

Incomplete letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann briefly telling her how he enjoyed his trip to Ballycotton (full details of which he promises to send in a later letter BP/1/31) and answering questions relating to due subscriptions and other financial matters she raised in her letter. He instructs her that if she receives the £3 he was owed by the late Mr. Bennett she is to give it to his widow. He refers to a notebook in which he keeps a detailed account of all money owed to him.


6 pages
23 Apr 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining how busy he is working on theorems (adding he believes she knows what a theorem is) and giving details of his recent trip to Ballycotton via Aghada and Cloyne in a diary format. At Cloyne he noticed a cluster of 12 ruined cottages all at one time the homes of brogue makers 'an extinguished branch of Irish history.' He spent his first night in Ballycotton with Rev. G. Kingston, the rest in rooms in Ballycotton which were fine although 'cleanliness was not the household virtue of those who had the letting of the house.' His maid Sarah, 'a barefooted but apparently modest and intelligent maiden' bought provisions from Mrs. Riordan who also owned the cars in that area. On Sunday he went to church: 'a very good congregation and a rather eloquent and very pleasing sermon.' He received a visit there from Captain Bervey, 'one of the men who closed the door of the farmhouse on the field of Waterloo' and a Captain Butler who had served under General Evans for the Queen of Spain. He also visited the houses of weavers and spinners who were organised into a business during the famine by Mr. Kingston and some Quakers. Adds he is to teach astronomy at the college which he is delighted to do. Closes with a request for news of Lincoln.


4 pages
3 May 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He complains she does not write often enough. He suggests hiring a nurse for their mother to allow Maryann go on little trips: 'it would be a pity that you should be always confined at home.' College is going well, 'Nothing can be more agreeable to me than my duties. They are exciting and I feel fully master of them and know that my labours are appreciated.' Mentions he sometimes invites students to breakfast with him as he likes to have young people around him. He requests her to send him a copy of his testimonials.


4 pages
18/19 May 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He is very busy with examination papers, but plans to visit Monkstown with Dr. Ryall [vice President Q.C.C.] that afternoon. He asks her to tell William Brooke that the trees in Cork are still in full bloom due to a late spring. He also instructs her not to write to Lilley [Matthew], whom he describes as headstrong and indolent, unless he first writes to her. On the 19th he recounts details of his trip to Monkstown which he wishes she could see. He was especially impressed with the beauty of the hills, 'I begin to think that I shall find my native country flat and tame after them.' He complains that he is receiving too many invitations to go out.


8 pages
29 May 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing his life in Cork. He contrasts the cold springs of Lincoln with the mild warm spring in Ireland; and remarks that Irish people seem more healthy than the English. He feels this is due to the purity of the air, and their consuming more vegetables. Of the people he declares, 'I have nowhere met with people so kind, a few individuals excepted, as in this city.' He has made some valuable friendships including one with Dr. Ryall 'a truly good man'. Dr. Ryall has invited him to visit Killarney with him and the Everests but he refuses to go unless Maryann goes too. Mentions that he has got her some plates.


4 pages
11 June 1850

From Boole in Glengariff to Maryann. He is touring with Dr. Ryall and Mr. Everest and describes their wanderings, the scenery, weather and plant life. He was especially impressed with Bantry Bay. 'From Bantry we came across the bay this morning, nothing can well exceed the beauty of this part of the bay surrounded by mountains and studded with islands. It deserves all that has been said of it.'


8 pages
1 July 1850

From Boole in London to Maryann giving her details of his visit there. He is staying with Mr. and Mrs. 'H', who have been exceptionally kind to him. His return to Lincoln will be delayed as he is suffering from lumbago brought on by over-tight shoes. Mentions the exquisite marbles he saw in the British Museum and urges her to visit them; 'they and the hippopotamus which I have also seen are the great attractions in London just now.' He has finished his work at the College of Preceptors and is busy buying books. He visited Mr. and Mrs. De Morgan who urged him to publish his works soon. He had a letter from their brother Charles agreeing to Maryann and their mother coming to live with him. As for himself, 'I feel more and more devoted to a life of science and my recent holiday will I hope only send me back to my old pursuits with greater ardour'. He closes by telling her to keep her spirits up: 'All I doubt not will be well and we shall see happy days again.'


4 pages
15 July 1850

From Boole in Lincoln to Maryann reassuring her that their mother's health is improving and instructing her to continue her visit to Osburnby and Sleaford. He is worried that their mother might not have long to live and he wants to ensure one of her children is always with her. He also advised Maryann to give up her school work as it is adversely affecting her health.


3 pages
6 Aug 1850

From Boole in Lincoln to Maryann saying he reached Lincoln and describing his trip. Encloses a letter [not in collection] referring to De Vericour which he wants returned. Mentions neighbours he has met in Lincoln.

BP/1/39 (See Also BP/1/40)

4 pages
14 Aug 1850

From Boole in Lincoln to Maryann discussing a letter he received from De Vericour. 'He as you may suppose much grieved and surprised at the charges against him.' He also received a letter from Sir Robert Kane discussing the controversy over De Vericour's recent publication An Historical Analysis of Christian Civilisation. He has decided to write to both men and try to mediate between them. He also mentions his mother's health which is stable. He instructs Maryann firmly to enjoy her holiday and banish all melancholy thoughts.

BP/1/40 (See Also BP/1/39)

4 pages
25 Aug 1850

From Boole in Lincoln to Maryann giving details of their mother's health and of his visit to (his sister-in-law) Elizabeth in Holton. Also mentions seeing newspaper accounts 'all important' referring to the controversy over the publication of Raymond De Vericour's book An Historical Analysis of Christian Civilisation.


3 pages
15 Oct 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann letting her that know he has arrived safely and giving details of his journey. The trip cost £4, and unusually he was only mildly ill on the crossing. He mentions the effects of religious differences on the college, and believes the number of students will drop. At the moment 50% of students are Catholic and 50% Protestant. He met one former student at Limerick Junction whose parish priest denounced the colleges from the altar and said he that was afraid to return.


5 pages
18 Oct 1850

From Boole in Cork in Maryann giving general news. His fees are not to rise so his income will remain approximately £300. He is in good health and the weather has remained very good, as a result of which ' ... Cork is in a much better state than when I first visited it.' He is busy conducting college examinations but sends best wishes to all his friends in Lincoln.


4 pages
26 Oct 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. The weather has been very good and he visited Passage by train for only six pence '... some things you see are cheap in Ireland'. . College is to recommence the next day, he has been given two hours lecturing daily and one on Saturday, but feels he may add some voluntary hours. Professor Nicholl [Prof. of Geology] and his wife accepted his invitation to dinner and he plans to have three snipes which Dr. Ryall sent to him cooked for them.


6 pages
3 Nov 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing college matters. Although more students enrolled this year, they did not join his classes which have shrunk. However he feels smaller classes tax a teacher less than large ones. He is to lecture 10 to 12 o'clock, three mornings a week and from 11 to 1 o'clock one day and 10 to 11 o'clock the remaining day. His own work is going well and gives him comfort. He comments on Kane's Presidential address which he and others felt dwelt too much on Catholic grievances, 'to the almost total exclusion of another faith either in the college or out of it.' Socially, he visited Col. Chesney in Ballincollig with De Vericour, and has been invited to dinner with the Protestant bishop of Cork, 'I shall be glad to go not because he is a bishop but because I feel sure that I shall like him.' He quotes a line of Latin which he instructs her to translate for herself, he hopes she is getting on well in her new house.


8 pages
9 Nov 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann which opens scathingly, 'Is the curiosity of the female breast insatiable?' [Maryann had been making enquiries about Col. Chesney's third wife]. 'She [Mrs. Chesney] is clever good and beautiful ... now are you satisfied?' He discusses his lecture rota which suits him to perfection, and his dinner with the bishops of whom he says, 'so much modesty and unaffected goodness are not often seen.' They discussed the writings of Dr. Peter Browne a predecessor of the bishop. The Archdeacon (who like the Dean of Cork asked for his address) offered him the use of his pew in church which Boole declined, 'as I am very jealous of any invasion of my Christian liberty on the Sabbath.' He morosely remarks that he is writing gossip as no newsworthy events have occurred. His life revolves around lecturing and walking, and complains ' ... England must be more politically exciting.' He responds to questions asked in her letter and inquires about Lincoln opinion on 'the popish invasion'. He has stopped subscribing to The Leader, which he describes as 'a ruinous speculation'.

BP/1/46 (See Also BP/1/47 & BP/1/48)

12 pages
18 Nov 1850

From Boole in Cork to Mary discussing his life there and the vacancy for a Professor of Mathematics at Manchester. He remarks on how pleasant life can be in Cork and describes a trip he took to Passage, Monkstown and Ringaskiddy with Dr. Ryall. At Ringaskiddy a hospitable local woman cooked them potatoes for their dinner and he extols the beauty of that area. A 'manoeuvre' was anchored in the harbour which he boarded. Boole was awed by the size of the ship. 'The space between decks was quite like a town.' He then turns to a discussion of the Manchester position citing the advantage of staying or leaving Cork. His salary at Cork will never rise above £350 p.a. and he feels Catholic and Protestant tension in England will affect the success of the college. He discusses Manchester as a future home and adds 'I should have no doubt of succeeding in Manchester. .. I have acquired the habit of working steadily and systematically without overworking myself and this of inestimable importance.' However, for him the basic question is where would he be most useful and be best equipped to pursue his studies. ' .... upon which my ultimate position in this world should I live and my reputation afterwards will depend.' He also feels a sense of commitment to those who hired him. Anxiously, he inquires for her opinion.

BP/1/47 (See Also BP/1/46 & BP/1/48)

2 pages
Nov 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann concerning the vacant Professorship at Manchester. He quotes an extract from a letter to R. Dowden from James Heywood M.P. Manchester, inquiring into Boole's educational background i.e. which university did he attend. He wishes to know as Boole's name had been mentioned for the professorship. The salary would be £350 p.a. and two-thirds of student fees. He requests Maryann's views on the matter.

BP/1/48 (See Also BP/1/46 & BP/1/47)

3 pages
21 Nov 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining his decision not to accept the Manchester professorship if it is offered. 'For at present I have leisure for my own pursuits and no situation of the kind in the kingdom would give me more than my present one.' Adds a postscript telling her the college authorities cannot alter fees and he will give no more thought to that.


7 pages
2 Dec 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann giving varied news. He discusses Irish religious divisions stating that the Protestants here are less angered by 'The Papal Aggression' than they are in England. The Catholics are divided with the violent faction becoming more violent. However, the Synod of Thurles gave much discussion time to its more moderate members. He has heard his teaching is well liked and approved of which gives him great pleasure, and mentions that four students ate with him at breakfast. Charles, his brother, wrote requesting money, which he wanted sent by cheque by Maryann using a false name in case the bank clerks should think he was needy. Boole states he wrote back agreeing to send the money but not that way. He tells her it usually takes over a week for a reply from her to reach him. Mentions he will not be able to afford the journey home at Christmas.


4 pages
5 Dec 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing family matters. Charles has asked him to send him £10.0s.0d. in a letter from Lincoln, but Boole would rather send the money by postal order from Cork, so that there would be less chance of loss. His brother William has also written and is in unfortunate circumstances. Boole bought a piano for 20 guineas (which he feels is a bargain) and requests Maryann to send over some sheet music.


8 pages
18 Dec 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He is in a very depressed mood, life has become monotonous with only his work adding interest to the day. He enjoys playing the piano but 'it would be better with someone else to listen and to be listened to'. He is also very annoyed by [Cropers] dedicating his book to him without first asking for permission - 'I cannot help feeling that he has taken a great liberty' - and speaks in strong terms of [Cropers] 'pretensions to high morality'. He invites and urges Maryann to visit him as soon as their mother's health would allow. He feels the climate would do her good.


8 pages
31 Dec 1850

From Boole in Cork to Maryann mainly discussing her proposed visit. He hopes their mother will not stop her as he feels she needs a holiday. He criticises their mother's habit of wishing to die when things don't go her way: 'Tell her that I think it very weak and very sinful.' He spent Christmas at Col. Chesney's and Dr. Bullen's, which he enjoyed. The weather is fine so he is walking a lot and mentions a walk of 19 miles he took along the Carrigaline River: 'I was glad to find that I could walk that far without much fatigue.' Ends with a inquiry as to who was elected President of the Lincoln Mechanics Institute.


4 pages
6 Jan 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann telling her that he received a promise of payment of a £2 debt from [Gordon]. He accepted it, but described the man's promissory note as a 'mere waste of paper'. His lecturing duties at college are to be reduced by two hours to nine altogether. He has been dining out a lot and intends to limit this as it interferes with study. Inquires how much money is left in the bank in Lincoln.


4 pages
8 Jan 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, enclosing a cheque for £25. He tells her he sees little hope of Mr. Turner finding a position as a music teacher in Cork, as there are too many already in the city. He is looking forward to her visit in the spring.


4 pages
13 Jan 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, dealing with family and financial matters. Their brother William got a school in Cheshire where the climate will suit his wife Eliza. Boole's income that year is to be £290; 'too little. I am afraid the prospects with us are not brightening.'


4 pages
23 Jan 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing financial and college affairs. He encloses her quarterly cheque of £25 and requests her to keep a good account of all she spends. He turns then to college affairs which he feels have been badly managed. He had pinned his hopes on reform by the new senate but 'That miserable Lord John was afraid of offending the Dublin doctors and lawyers and he has given us a batch of them to rule over us.'


6 pages
23 Jan 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing general news. He asks her to send him one ounce of Woodcock Chemists best broth powder. He compliments a piece of music, 'Consider the lilies' which he found very enjoyable, and tells her he dined recently at Col. Chesney's. He urges her not to worry about his income, 'it is a great comfort to me think that my income can be so well employed in making you and mother comfortable.' He mentions that a better appointment is in the air but gives no details. He is busy writing a paper for the Cambridge Journal, and has written nearly 900 pages of his work on logic. Sends regards to friends.

BP/1/58 (See Also BP/1/59)

4 pages
6 Feb 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing family matters. He heard from William that his wife Eliza had died, and immediately decided to send William some money. However after thinking about William's selfishness in leaving Eliza to die with strangers he decided against sending the money, though if he is in difficulty he will send him money via Maryann but he will not write directly to him. Charles also requested money which Boole sent. He is anxious to know when Mr. Swift will pay his debt and mentions he cannot give Gordon the testimonial he requested.


4 pages
9 Feb 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He mentions his mother's health and discusses the death of his sister-in-law Eliza. William wrote to explain why he left his dying wife alone, but Boole feels the reasons (which he will not mention) were not good enough. He mentions the steamer 'Atlantic' was driven into Cork harbour by bad weather and says she was a most impressive sight. He enquires if all his letters reach her, and tells her he has written some verses on the constellations which he intends to send to Ann Parry.


10 pages
Mar 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann complaining he sees so few people he has nothing to write about. He discusses his friendship with Mr. Nicoll [Prof of Geology] 'a man of sense and principle' whose wife is 'much given to laughing and makes other people indulge in the same wholesome exercise' and describes a trip with Mr. Nicoll to see ancient tide markings. Dissension is occurring in the college over discipline and also about the Professor of Celtic languages who resigned his chair, but now refuses to leave. Boole hopes mediation will bring accord. Is himself on good terms with both sides and hopes to remain that way. He sends best wishes to all friends and promises to send a cheque.


10 pages
17 Mar 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, a general letter in which he commiserates on her ill health and that of their mother. He suggests an occasional pony ride would do them both good and promises to cover the cost. He describes an encounter with a crowd of whisky drinking revellers celebrating St. Patrick's day by reciting 'St. Patrick was a gentleman .... .' which he writes out for her, he also encloses some shamrock. He is reading a lot of German which he enjoys. His classes are going very well and he will begin lecturing on physical astronomy next session with a public lecture on the subject.


6 pages
27 March 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He is eager for any news from Lincoln, 'and don't mind how gossiping it is for I don't.' He is very busy and expects to work throughout the Easter break. College affairs are quite peaceful. He presumes he is to be made Dean next year which will increase his workload. He has no messages for her but writes anyway to stop her being anxious about him. He asks her to call on Mrs. Nicolson in Lincoln to commiserate.


9 pages
Apr 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He remarks on their mother's health and thanks Maryann for her news from Lincoln. He mentions property tax being due on a house which he wants to lease. He has been practising on the piano and is improving and requests her to send over some sheet music. He mentions Miss Everest [his future wife] is visiting her uncle and remarks she plays the piano quite well. He plans to visit Monkstown soon for the sea air and inquires after neighbours.


6 pages
6 Apr 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann expressing his happiness at the improvement of her own and their mother's health. He refers to putting her under the care of Dr. Barter - a hydrotherapist in Blarney - if the need arises. He comments on the deterioration in her poetry and unfavourably on her choice of reading material - a biography of Byron which he says 'is not worth the study. There was scarcely any true greatness in his character.' Mentions a cheque is enclosed for £25 and closes with a promise to send her some shamrock.


4 pages
9 Apr 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He remarks on his mother's improved health and his own: 'I took a walk of eight miles today after my two hours lecture and three hours of serious writing. I did not feel fatigued.' He requests her to get an assessment of the house from Mr. Hill so that Boole will not be liable for rent. He sends best wishes to his neighbours.


8 pages
3 May 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining his move to Monkstown. He now commutes to Cork by steamer and train but is not sure if he will remain there until the end of the year. He had made himself ill from overwork and had also suffered an anxiety attack over who would care for Maryann if he died. States that it was a sickly season in general in Cork with the East wind drying up the land. Adds that Ireland is the quietest of the Queen's dominions.


4 pages
9 May 1851

From Boole to Maryann discussing the influenza epidemic in Cork and the rise in emigration. Influenza and bilious complaints have affected many and typhus fever is also prevalent in the city, his own health though is good. He mentions how quiet Cork is due to the heavy exodus, 'Emigration seems to be the chief business now.'


2 pages
9 June 1851

From Boole in Cork to Maryann telling her his travel arrangements for his visit home during the holidays.


2 pages
11 June 1851

From Boole in Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire) to Maryann explaining he has been detained on his trip home by bad weather. He plans to cross via Bangor to view the [Crenan] Bridge.


4 pages
28 June 1851

From Boole in London to Maryann telling her about his stay there. He visited the Great Exhibition with which he was most impressed. He was less impressed by a recital of Mendelssohn's 'Elijah' which he felt was of a poor standard. The weather has been hot, reaching 90(F) one day.


3 pages
15 Sept 1851

From Boole in Lonesby to Maryann telling about his visit there, for part of which he was accompanied by William Brooke. He will be returning home soon to draw up examination papers.


5 pages
23 Jan 1852

From Boole in Cork to Maryann apologising for not visiting her in Blarney. He jokingly remarks that the next time he sees her she could have webbed feet and hands. He himself has a severe pain in his arm and is very tired from teaching. He mentions neither he nor anyone in college has heard from Sir Robert Kane. He promises to visit her soon and the others 'who appear to be happy in their delusion and their Blarney.'


3 pages

Covering letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann [in Blarney] enclosing letters (not in collection), referring to his being granted an honorary degree from T.C.D .. He wishes her to keep the matter secret, 'as I wish to avoid a round of questionings and congratulations.' He also encloses a lecture of his and promises to visit her the next day.


4 pages
25 Feb 1852

From Boole in T. C. D. to Maryann in Blarney, telling her about his stay in Dublin. He received comfortable rooms at Trinity and went to hear John [Gregg] preach. He is to dine with Dr. Graves, and has been invited to a banquet with the new Chancellor at which the Lord Lieutenant will also be present. He is however, looking forward to returning to Cork.


4 pages
27 Feb 1852

From Boole in Cork to Maryann in Blarney. He urges her to derive all the benefit she can from hydrotherapy before her return to England. He discusses his recent trip to Dublin (see BP/l/73-74 above) which he enjoyed and where he met many interesting people. To mark his new title of 'Doctor', Mrs. Ryall gave him a plate engraved with his name and title and a number of calling cards. He also mentions a meeting with Sir Robert Kane 'which will I trust lead to an amicable adjustment to some of our differences'.


4 pages
[Mar 1852]

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing her hydropathic cure at Blarney. He expresses his delight at her renewed health and jokingly remarks, 'you will look for the daily excitements of the douche and the plunge and the wet sheet and the packing in ice just as the epicure does for his glass or the smoker of opium for his pipe.' But he adds a cautionary note: 'You are not to be infected with the watery notion that hydropathy is the sum total of human science and the wet sheet the only mantle of virtue and heroism.'


4 pages
12 May 1852

From Boole in Cork to Maryann mainly discussing the Triennial Visitation brought on by Professor Alcock the result of which was 'Alcock carried his point but our cause which came on after was lost.' The inquiry was overall very amicable. He dined the day before with Sir Robert Kane, and that evening with the Bishop. There he was introduced to the bishop's chaplin, Mr. Fitzgerald, who informed him he had made Boole's work on logic (The Mathematical Analysis of Logic. 1847) a subject of lecture at T.C.D.


4 pages
14 May 1852

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing the Alcock dispute, which was settled after a visitation to Sir Robert Kane, the report of which Mrs. Jennings sent to Maryann. He is pleased the matter is settled, but during the investigation he 'kept in the background everything that I could that was damaging to the character of the President' . On the whole he felt the visitors were pleased with the way he brought the matter to them, and does not feel the college will suffer much adverse publicity. Inquires after old friends in Lincoln and mentions hearing of the death of Fanny Collins.


4 pages
25 May 1852

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He is unwell from a boil and an attack of diarrhoea for which he blames the climate, as he eats a very regular diet. He is grateful that he has not caught the fever prevalent in the city and feels his ailments will to some degree be a preservation against it. He has taken to travelling by steamer a couple of times a week to Cove [Cobh], an area he finds very beautiful. Mentions Sir William Hamilton of Edinburgh who sent him a copy of his book in which he refers to him 'in a complimentary way'. He hopes to spend a few days of his holiday in Bristol with Mr. Everest.


8 pages
30 May 1852

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, complaining that he replies quicker to her letters than she to his. The examinations are to begin soon and a lot of work lies before him. Cork is to hold an exhibition soon which everyone is looking forward to. At Q.C.C. things are quiet, but he feels peace will not last. As he is soon no longer a member of the College Council. 'I have done with these matters or nearly so.' He makes enquiries about Lincoln and tells her his landlord’s children (the Urkles) are to take tea with him that evening.


4 pages
9 June 1852

From Boole to Maryann describing the visit of the Lord Lieutenant to Cork. The streets were lined with soldiers but 'no great enthusiasm was manifested by the people.' This he attributes partly to the heavy rain at the time. The Lord Lieutenant is to return again for the opening of the Cork Exhibition at which all the Professors will be present in their ceremonial robes. He hopes some musical interludes during the ceremony 'will greatly relieve the dullness of the loyal and dutiful addresses.' The Lord Lieutenant is also scheduled to visit the college. He mentions he took a trip to Blarney the night before with Dr. Ryall.


4 pages
14 June 1852

From Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining he was detained from leaving for Lincoln by college business but hopes to reach there soon. He was very impressed with the Cork Exhibition, 'it is really far superior to anything I could have expected.' He mentions the college is to have a promenade on behalf of a local charity. He also mentions Col. and Mrs. Chesney have invited him to visit them in the North of Ireland.


4 pages
31 July 1852

From Boole in Tintern to Maryann telling her about his visit there. His health is improving so he plans to extend his visit. He explored the River Wye with Mr. Everest, and intends that evening to visit a local ruined abbey once the moon rises. Mentions Charles (his brother) improved since his move to Sleaford. He hopes Henrietta and Amelia and their 'little mischievous interesting nephew really enjoy their visit.'


2 pages
15 Sept 1852

From Boole on holiday in Mumbles to Maryann giving her details of his travels. Refers to leaving Wichnor (where he was visiting the Everests) for Chepstow, where he attended the horticultural show. He went to Mumbles with the intention of going swimming but he did not like the coastline and also the weather was unfavourable.


4 pages
29 Sept 1852

From Boole in London to Maryann. He tells her he visited Dr. Morgan, who calculated his book will not cost over £100 to publish. As he is sure to receive that back from sales, he decided to visit a publisher while in London. He also hopes to meet Mr. Hainworth (Prof. of Mathematics in University College, London) before he leaves. Adds he met Mrs. [Hauzqushes] who is very happy in London and looks like she will do well. He tells her the cost of his journey was 24s.8d. for a 1 st class train ticket.


3 pages
14 Oct 1852

From Boole in Chester to Maryann telling of his visit there to Dr. Bury. He intends to leave shortly for Holyhead. Yesterday he saw the Queen pass through the streets: 'She looked very well. It was a more imposing affair than the similar one at Lincoln.'


2 pages
7 Jan 1853

From Boole at Wichner in Gloucstershire to Maryann informing her of his safe arrival at the Everests' and his intention to visit Dr. Bury. He says of his hosts: 'It is a very delightful family to visit.'


3 pages
9 Jan 1853

From Boole in Dublin to Maryann informing her of his arrival there after a sea voyage on which he 'was as usual very sick'. Mentions the places he's been to see and the people he met (including Prof. Grams, Prof. of Maths at T.C.D.). He feels his health benefited greatly by his trip to England. Adds he met their brother William at Chester and that he was looking very well.


1 pages
11 Jan 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann informing her of his safe arrival and that lectures have recommenced.


4 pages
2 Feb 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing mainly his book The Laws of Thought] which he is busy finishing. He hopes to send a large part of it soon to the press. Mentions he is worried about Dr. Ryall's health, adding that he is having his landlord's children to tea soon.


4 pages
10 Feb 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann thanking her for the pork pies she sent to the Jennings and the Unkles. His book is due to go to press in one month's time and he hopes it will be published during the summer. He sends his regards to his neighbours in Lincoln and tells her he has invited William Brooke to Cork for the Spring.


4 pages
20 Feb 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. The weather is very cold and Cork Lough has frozen over. He is ill in bed with a cold and rheumatics but is enjoying the weather as it reminds him of England. Dr. Ryall is also unwell due to strain from dissensions in the college, 'which under Sir RH I am fully persuaded never will cease.' He again states he is glad to be off the College Council.


4 pages
22 Feb 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann requesting her to look for and send him a paper of his entitled "Numerically Definite Propositions" which he needs. He is in excellent health, 'I have never in my life felt better than I have lately done.'


4 pages
6 Mar 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann mainly discussing his dissatisfaction in Cork. Things have come to such a point that he feels the college will never develop and he declares, 'I begin to think more seriously of getting out of it.' His friend Mr. Nicholl [Prof of Geology] got a chair in Aberdeen, 'where I hope he will enjoy peace and freedom.' Boole is going to hold a tea party in his honour. Adds that his book will soon be in the press.


2 items
10 Mar 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann enclosing a violet sent by Mrs. Donovan from her greenhouse. Mentions he is hosting a tea party that evening in honour of Prof. Nicholls. He adds he is very busy with examination papers.


2 items
20 Mar 1853

Original plus copy letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann. He opens by telling her how much he dislikes letter writing: 'I find it more difficult and more fatiguing than mathematics and I am quite sure that my hand becomes weary a great deal sooner with this species of labour than with any other.' He adds his hand often becomes stiff from writing but never while writing on any scientific subject. College affairs have now he believes reached a critical stage with the local press having become involved. He feels sure the government will have to intervene. Mentions he has been invited to dinner by the bishop to meet two judges. Discusses walks he has taken and Lincoln news Maryann sent.


8 pages
Apr 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing the worsening state of college affairs. College dissentions have now been laid before the government by Dr. Alcock. Dr. Ryall's health seems to be worsening under the strain. But there is one bright spot: 'Happily the teaching and discipline of the college were never better than they now are and this is a real consolation.' Adds he was glad to hear she enjoyed her visit to Collingham, and inquires after his Lincoln friends and his brother Charles.


2 items
19 Apr 1853

Original and copy from Boole in Cork to Maryann in which he encloses money owed to Mr. Brooke and argues she should not have agreed to paper the house. He then takes a more despondent tone wondering if he did right to come to Cork and if he was not happier as a schoolteacher. His students though are all doing well and enjoy his lectures. He went recently to Blarney where he had a vapour bath and a cold plunge and tells her of his social outings (he even was dancing at one dinner party). He mentions Spenser Halls 'The Peak and the Plarnis' and asks her to try and get it proposed at the Mechanics Institute.


2 pages
4 May 1853

Original plus partial transcript from Boole in Cork to Maryann. He has been spending a lot of time with the Everests, who are visiting Dr. Ryall and has been giving Mary Everest [his future wife] maths lessons. She has 'an extraordinary quickness of apprehension and solidity of judgement such indeed as I have never seen surpassed.' Mentions he went to hear an oratorio called Daniel and the Creation and was tremendously impressed, also that income tax is to be introduced. He feels it will be those on low salaries who will be most affected: 'Still I feel no disposition to complain and would not even wish the tax to be removed.' He gives details of his plans for the summer. He would like her to visit but he cannot afford the fare. He complains her letters are like 'registers of bad news' cataloguing death and illness of friends, also that college differences are still raging.


4 pages
19 May 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann letting her know of his plans for the summer holidays. In college things are still unsettled but he hopes a decision of a course of action will soon be reached. He has been invited to dinner by the bishops whom he regards as 'thoroughly kind and unaffected'. Sends regards to friends in Lincoln.


3 pages
31 May 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann letting her know he hopes to be in Lincoln by the 20th. He is very busy with examinations but will be going that evening to visit Father Matthews (Fr. Matthews Tower, Glanmire Road, Cork) with the Ryalls and the Jennings.


4 pages
5 June 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann detailing his travel arrangements for his journey home to Lincoln. Mentions the death of their Aunt Young and presumes Uncle Boole may soon follow her. He and Dr. Ryall went to see Kilcrea Abbey and Castle and he was impressed by both. Mentions he saw a good deal of Mrs. and Miss Everest on their visit to Cork 'and was much pleased.'


4 pages
9 June 1853

From Boole at Howth to Maryann. He is staying with Dr. Graves in Howth, Co. Dublin and describes his visit to Dublin. He went to the Dublin Exhibition which he describes as worth seeing. He muses on the origin of the giant Howth was named after and tells her of a walk he took around the area, describing it as 'a wild and beautiful spot, the sea breaking on the rocks before the house.' Mentions he hopes to meet Dr. Bury in England, and briefly expresses regret over the death of Aunt [Every].


4 pages
19 Oct 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann letting her know he reached Cork safely after an unusually pleasant journey and that he has been invited to dine with the bishop. He stopped over in Dublin, and received permission to make use of 'the Great Library there' whenever he wishes. Adds that his lodgings were beautifully redecorated while he was away.


4 pages
27 Oct 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining the note he left was for the waterworks company. Hemet F.C. Penrose, who had come to Ireland to select marbles for the sarcophagus of the Duke of Wellington. The two men got on very well and Boole invited him to stay with him for a few days which he did. He is very busy with exam papers, and adds he hopes she will succeed with her schemes of teaching, but he feels they might not work out so well.

BP/1/106 (See Also BP/1/154)

8 pages
5 Nov 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing the flooding of Cork and college affairs. Although the flood waters have receded they left disease in their wake with cholera being reported in the harbour area. Temporary bridges were erected over the Lee to replace those damaged. He heard £60,000 of damage resulted from the flooding but feels this figure is exaggerated. At College his classes have grown large, but things are still overshadowed by the continuing differences between Sir Robert Kane and Dr. Ryall with the government refusing to intervene. He declares, 'I have nothing happily to do with the affairs except to sympathise as far as I can with the right.' Mentions he is reading Gioberti's Le Bello et Del Buons which he finds very interesting, and inquires if she needs any more money.


4 pages
20 Nov 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann in a general letter he tells her he returns Mrs. Palethrope's paper signed and hopes she may draw benefit from it. He discusses his own, Maryann's and their mother's health and hopes their mother is not worrying needlessly about him as he is feeling much better than he usually does at that time of year in Cork.


6 pages
26 Nov 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann in which he compliments her on her circular and hopes she will be successful. He has been asked to give a testimonial to a Mr. [Dyson] but he is unsure as: 'His abilities are very slender, his character weak and he has a great deal of conceit.' He inquires what Dyson's recent behaviour has been like. The letter then takes a more despondent tone. He has many invitations to go out, 'But all this does not supply the place of a home and domestic comforts.' Adds he hopes his book will be completed soon.


8 pages
11 Dec 1853

From Boole in Cork to Maryann telling her he has just recovered from a stomach upset which affected most of Cork. He gives news of his friends, and tells her he has decided not to give [Dyson] a testimonial. His book is to be printed in a week and will go to London to be bound. Peace has arrived in college but he feels it is only temporary - 'You cannot change the characters of men' - and adds the President will soon resume his slack ways. His classes however, are going well. Urges her to continue with her school only if it does not affect her health. Sends his regards to friends.


4 pages
2 Jan 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann discussing family concerns, and inquiring if Maryann will continue with her school seeing as she has only one pupil. He is glad to hear their brother William visits her, 'It must make his [times] and your less dull.' He describes a recent trip to West Cork where he suffered a great deal from rheumatism, and his plans to go to Ballycotton for a few days with Dr. Ryall.


2 items
3 Jan 1854

Original and typed copy from Boole to Maryann in a rather subdued tone. He writes to assure her he is over the melancholy mood evidenced in his last letter. He has been reviewing his life and regrets and feels he lives too much for intellectual pursuits, but those pursuits are he feels a type of vocation and states, 'I cannot be happy without them and ought not to try.' He resolves to use his talents for the good of mankind as he feels, 'on the whole I have not been living to so good purpose as I ought to have been.' He encloses a cheque for £25.


8 pages
29 Jan 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, he is very worried about her health and urges her to give up schoolwork. As his income will be £320 that year he assures her he can spare extra money. Mentions his book is due out that day, and also he wishes to settle Mr. Bussill' s bill for attending her. He then discusses college affairs which are peaceful if not settled and declares about Sir Robert Kane: 'My opinion is such that I do not think that I shall ever call upon him again or hold with him anything but the merest official intercourse.' He then gives some general news and states he is getting on well with his class.


1 pages
29 Jan 1854 - 30 May 1854

Typed copies of letters from Boole to Maryann BP/1/113, and BP/1/112.


6 pages
10 Feb 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, he opens with a criticism of her handwriting. She sent him some Italian verse none of which he could make out due to her handwriting and adds, 'In writing a foreign language it is very necessary to be careful of one's penmanship.' Professor Nicholls has told him a Professorship of Maths is soon to fall vacant at St. Andrews, but he is not going to apply as 'I do not however think that the advantages are sufficiently great to justify a breaking up of my present associations.' He also has some qualms about the 'severe church of Scotland.' He mentions Miss Palethrop's circular which he feels she would be better sending for some reasons of delicacy to the archbishop herself. He has instructed his publishers to send Maryann six copies of the Laws of Thought and tells her who he wants to receive them. Closes with an assurance he does not want her to use any of the revenue from her school for the upkeep of the house.


4 pages
16 Feb 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. A general letter opening with his commiserations [for not getting an appointment] and sends his regards to Miss Davis. He has not been sleeping well, mentions he had to give away a large number of copies of his book to friends. He dined recently with the bishop who told him he hoped Boole would soon get a better appointment. Boole adds though that he would be sad to leave Cork. Mentions 'GE who has run away to Paris.' Also mentions he encloses a letter from Cambridge (not in collection).


4 pages
4 Mar 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann enclosing letters to show Dickson and explaining why he moved back to his old lodgings in Strawberry Hill. Discusses also the dismissal of Benjamin Alcock (Prof. of Anatomy and Physiology Q.C.C.) whom he describes as 'a foolish man' but adds, 'I believe that he has been in the right in the main and that all kinds of dishonesty have been practised against him.' Because of Alcock's treatment he has resolved to have no informal contact with the President, although that may be against his best interests.


2 items
20 Mar 1854

Original plus typed copy letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann, telling her he is settled comfortably in his new lodgings, and describing a trip to the Old Head of Kinsale with Dr. and Miss Ryall, Mr. and Mrs. Harkness, T. Jennings and Mr. Read. He promises to send her a copy of the review of his book in the Southern reporter. He discusses a young Lincoln man, G. Saunders, who he invites to Cork, as being prey for temptation as 'Lincoln is one of the worst places in the world for a youth of easy character. It abounds with temptations.' Closes by advising her not to teach on Saturdays as it has now become the custom not to. Sends regards to friends.


8 pages
2 Apr 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. In a general letter he mentions the different reviews of his book, his plan to go to Ballycotton for a few days and also his intention to move from Grenville Place. The weather is glorious in Cork, and the building of the Cork Athenaeum almost complete. He says: 'There is no doubt that in time Cork will be a very fine city.' He mentions the vacancy in Melbourne for a Professor of Maths and outlines the details of the position which carries a stipend of £1,000 p.a. He asks for her opinion on the matter.


9 pages
14 Apr 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He is suffering from lack of sleep and low spirits, but is otherwise in good health. He was delighted to hear his brother Charles became a father and hopes the child will bring him 'the peace and comfort to which he has been so long a stranger.' He mentions a review of his book in the Westminister Review 'which is well written but contains misapprehensions. It will be some time before its real nature is understood.' He also mentions his concern for the financial welfare of 'Uncle Boole and Jane' and inquires if they need money: 'Remember it will be nothing to you or me a few years hence whether we have £5 more or less, but it would be a sad reflection that he or poor Jane had not enough.' He also speaks of ensuring Robert and Jane are provided for in the will.


12 pages
Apr 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, hoping that she is in good health and that her teaching is going well. Adds he wishes his Lincoln neighbours could be with him to enjoy the beautiful spring in Cork. He describes a trip to Killarney with Mr. Nicoll, one of the highlights of which was the sight of two eagles flying nearby. He also tells her of how uncomfortable he was at the Unkles and recounts an argument in which he called the Unkles 'unjust people' and received 'a torrent of abuse.' They also overcharged him. Mentions he occasionally has tea with a Mrs. Hill who works for London Booksellers: 'she is a very clever and a very excellent person.' He has not however such a high opinion of her daughter.


3 pages
18 May 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann mainly concerning their health and his new lodgings. He feels Maryann needs a holiday by the sea to regain her health and adds he is recovering from a heavy cold. He is delighted with his new lodgings which are comfortable and pleasant. Mentions he has not been studying much lately but has been taking care of himself. Adds he much prefers staying in than going out.

BP/1/122 (See Also BP/1/138)

3 pages
30 May 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann concerning the Melbourne Professorship. He is undecided whether or not to apply and refers to becoming attached to Cork. He has been thinking about his future and concludes: 'I feel that I have been living by myself quite long enough and that I have no prospect of a provision for age.' However he promises to make no decision without taking into account her happiness, especially after all she has done for their mother.


4 pages
6 June 1854

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, discussing the Melbourne Professorship. He promises to make no decision without consulting her, but does seem very keen on the post: 'I do not like the thought of leaving so much that is dear behind me ... I have no ambition.' His aims are 'to be useful in the world - to have a home of my own - and to be able to do somewhat better for you that I have done. It is possible that I may accomplish all these things here.' He has been in better spirits since his return to Miss Knowle's lodgings in Strawberry Hill, but mentions he believes his friend Francis Alberi (Registrar Q.C.C.) is dying of fever.


3 pages
29 Feb - 5 Mar [1856]

From Boole in Cork to Maryann in the format of a poem teasing her about a ball she recently attended: 'I suppose like most others 'twas charmingly hot, with so many warm couples crammed into one spot, Pray who was your partner and who led the dance and who was most killing with an army of Glances.' On the reverse he turns to more serious topics including the sale of some books and inquires if she sent Lord Yarborough the volumes he requested of his own book. He discusses who to send free copies to, and expresses doubt about the books saleability: 'I do not and never did form any expectation of their selling so as to so more than cover the expenses and shall not therefore feel any disappointment if your account should be a bad one.' He inquires if his writing has improved.


4 pages
25 May 1857

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He discusses their health and tells her as exams are to begin soon he will not have much time for letter writing which he finds very soothing. He mentions the religious controversy raging about the Queen's Colleges and tells her Archbishop MacHale succeeded in getting the Pope to condemn the colleges, so he expects a number of catholic students to leave. He believes the majority of the people support the colleges but adds: 'But what can they do when their church commands. They must obey or quit her communion.' He is pleased though that the matter is coming to a head.


2 pages
[ ]

Incomplete letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann enquiring chiefly about his friends Brooke, Dickson and Wilson. He requests her to tell Brooke that he would welcome any Lincoln newspapers and asks her to search for some books he thinks he has lost.


2 pages
[ ]

Incomplete letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining that he will not return home at Christmas as the journey would take too long (in days) and he has only two weeks holidays. He adds he has written to all the boarders' parents on behalf of Mr. Swift and advises him to call on them as soon as possible.


1 pages
[ ]

Incomplete typewritten copy of a letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann, inquiring if any money is owed to Mr. Bissell for attending her while she was ill at Sleaford. He promises that if she does not get better he will send her to the hydropathy clinic in Blarney. At College affairs seem more peaceful if not settled and his classes are going very well.


4 pages
[ ]

Incomplete letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann explaining he will be very busy as he has to examine for prizes as well as lecture. He instructs her to thank Mr. Brooke for his letter and to say hello for him to Dickson. He also requests her to give their mother a birthday present from him, if that would not be too expensive for her, and to knit him a couple of pairs of winter stockings. Mentions he was upset to hear of the Bakingham dissension, also that he is reading more in Cork than at home. He is currently reading [Hills] Political Economy. He sends his best wishes for her school and wishes her to 'give a kiss for me to Miss Snow.'


2 pages
[ ]

Brief letter from Boole in Cork to Maryann enclosing a note (not in collection) from Sir John [Menschell] relating to his book and asks her to show it to Dickson. Mentions the weather is very good.


4 pages
[ ]

From Boole in Cork to Maryann. He is happy to hear she is enjoying her visit to Osbrimby which must make a change from 'the loneliness of your home in Lincoln.' He is busy preparing his book for the press, but is to take tea with Dr. Ryall, who does not seem well, that evening. His classes are going well - 'the students in the college are doing better than they have ever done before', - but he is not happy with the condition of the medical faculty. Mentions Mrs. Ryall expects him to visit for tea twice a week and if he does not go cake is sent to him. Mentions death of a neighbour in Lincoln.


2 pages
[ ]

From Boole in Cork to Maryann, extolling the beauty of spring in Cork and relating the story of a Q.C.C. student who had become estranged from his father while at Cambridge· because of his extravagant habits and imprudent marriage. He had then entered Q.C.C. on a scholarship and taught private pupils to finance himself. He would read 12 hours a day in addition to lectures (against the advice of many). His father attended the Prize Giving Day to see his son get first in Greek, Latin, French and English Literature, after which they were immediately reconciled. Boole adds 'I never saw a happier fellow than the one who had so nobly redeemed his character and position.'


2 pages
[ ]

Incomplete letter from Boole to Maryann expressing his regret that he will miss Miss Davis' visit, and also that he did not get to see his old pupil before he leaves Lincoln to go to the West of Ireland where he is eager to meet the inhabitants.


2 pages
[ ]

Incomplete letter from Boole to Maryann sending messages and wishes to old friends. Mentions he had an argument with an Irish friend over British superiority in all matters of good sense, but his arguments were demolished by a reference to the report of the Lincoln Hospital Board which his friend had read. Mentions he met the two bishops of Cork, and remarks the Catholic one was very fat, the Protestant one thin. His (Boole's) face, swollen from toothache, is said to resemble Dr. Delaney (the Catholic Bishop) who is said to be a good natured bundle of negatives.

ii. Typescript extracts from letters by Boole to Maryann


1 pages

Typescript copies and extracts from letters by Boole to Maryann and his mother (1) 7 Dec 1849 see BP/1/14 ; (2) 18 Jan 1850 see BP/1/118 ; (3) 21 Nov 1849, see BP/1/143 ; (4) 29 Nov 1849, See BP/1/144; (5) 26 Oct 1849, extract telling her he has found delightful lodgings close to the college with Mr. De Vercour and E. Larkin.


1 pages

Typescript extracts from various letters of Boole. All refer to the division in the college between the President and the Vice President, and the dissention caused by Prof. Alcock (1) 4 May 1853 see BP/1/100 ; (2) 15 May 1853, (3) 9 Mar 1854.


1 pages
Jan - Apr 1854

Extract from letter of 6 June 1854 see BP1/1/123, and in Apr 1854 see BP1/1/119.

iii. Letter from Maryann to George Boole [1854]

BP/1/138 See Also BP/1/122)

6 pages

From Maryann in Lincoln to George discussing in an anxious tone the vacant professorsh1p of Mathematics in Melbourne. She finds it difficult to give impartial advice as she feels his moving to Melbourne would be the worse for her, but states she does not want her considerations to influence him. She warns against his leaving his home and old habits, and the severance of family ties. She also reminds him to take into account the relative value of money in the two countries and wonders would he really be better off in Melbourne.

II. Letters from George Boole to his mother and brothers

i. To his mother


1 pages
25 June 1849

Typed copy from Boole in London to his mother describing his stay there (he is working there as an examiner). He has been to many of the famous attractions including the Panorama of the Mississippi. His health is good but he gets nervous when walking crowded streets. He mentions a dinner he attended which was 'a dull piece of magnificence like most London dinners I suppose', and adds the noise of waiters constantly bringing and removing dishes was very disagreeable. Sends best wishes to neighbours.


2 items
23 Oct 1849

Original plus typescr1pt copy from Boole in Dublin to his mother from where he is leaving for Cork in the morning. He describes his stay in Dublin where he met some 'very pleasant people' who all knew Cork and assured him he would be very happy there. He also met some of his future colleagues including Sir Robert Kane who 'is I think from all that I see of him a very kindhearted man.' Mentions that he was well received by the Fellows in Trinity College.


4 pages
30 Oct 1849

From Boole in Cork to his mother discussing his new position. Examinations have begun and he expects a large number to apply for them. The students he has seen appear to be very intelligent. Their number is supposed to increase in the coming year, with Dr. Bullen hoping 200 - 300 will enrol. Boole though doubts that figure. His lectures begin on the 10th or 12th and he has been given a free hand 'to form my own school of Mathematics' by Dr. Ryall, the Vice-President. The official opening is to be on the 7th. He talks of a walk he took by the Lee which he felt was as beautiful as Derbyshire. He mentions his landlord Mr. O'Brien, as being 'a farmer on a rather large scale.'


4 pages
1 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to his mother describing his new life. The exams finished but as a smaller number of students then expected entered there is to be another in January, he also describes his lecturing duties. He finds Cork very hospitable but mentions being at a dinner which started with truffles and champagne which he felt to be in bad taste considering the state of the country. He has decided to limit himself to accepting one invitation per week. He finds Cork very pleasant for walking, although the air is damp it is pure, his colleagues he finds very likeable especially the President and Vice-President but adds 'these of course are first impressions.' He expects his expenses to be few and mentions he is involved in a scheme to open a school masters club in the college.

BP/1/143 (See Also BP/1/135)

4 pages
21 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to his mother giving her general news. He is getting on well with his students who are quiet and attentive. The weather is very wet so he uses a hot water bottle to keep his sheets dry adding: 'I have a dry bed and that is almost the only dry thing about me.' The roads also are all flooded but he has heard it is unusually wet. At his lodgings he is allowed have guests to dinner and Dr. Ryall and Mr. Logan are both coming. Mentions there are 15,000 Protestants in Cork and that so far he has liked all the preachers he has heard. He went on Sunday to Mr. Logan's chapel and then to his country home which reminded Boole very much of England.

BP/1/144 (See Also BP/1/135)

4 pages
29 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to his mother giving her news of his new life. He is getting on well with his classes and likes them more and more. He describes his lodgings which cost £6 per month and consist of a bedroom, a sitting room and a third little room. He takes his meals with Albani and De Vericour in Albani's large room. Of Albani he says he is a 'very amiable and clever man, a good logician and mathematician' and state they get on well. He also mentions Mr. Logan 'a most estimable man actively engaged in all the benevolent societies of the place .... but holding himself apart from those which are exclusive.' He sends his regards to their neighbours and mentions receiving a letter from Mr. Brooke which he enjoyed 'the gloomy prophecies excepted.'


4 pages
Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to his mother giving news of Cork. He requests her to forward to Mr. Wilson the copy of the Southern Reporter sent to Maryann by De Vericour. It is raining constantly but is not cold; he has his sheet aired every day. He usually takes a walk before breakfast each morning when it is fine before the rain sets in for the rest of the day. He feels the dampness is affecting his health. He sends his best wishes to neighbours and requests Mr. Collins to post over some manuscripts work of Boole's.


7 pages
9 Dec 1849

From Boole in Cork to his mother mainly discussing the people he met in Cork, including Mr. Logan who invited him to stay at his country house which he did and remarks it reminded him greatly of England. Logan has three sons and three daughters, 'amicable and sensible young people'. He invited one of the sons who is delicate to England for a change of air. He adds, 'I have my short stay in the county established besides many pleasant acquaintanceships at least one valuable friendship.' Today the weather was fine, 'an uncommon event' and he heard an eloquent and sensible sermon by Mr. [Millaren] and comments the churches in Cork are better attended than those in Lincoln. He states he shuns society as he has no wish to make acquaintancesh1ps which are more easily begun than broken off. Mentions Edward Larken who is well but not working too hard, and adds he would like to find him a position in Lincoln.


4 pages
9 Jan 1850

From Boole to his mother letting her know he arrived safely in Cork. A fellow traveller was the Archbishop of Dublin whom Boole found amusing and instructive. The college is expecting 25 new students, and he states all his friends are well. He requests her to preserve his letters as he wants to record his impressions of Ireland. Sends regards to neighbours.


6 pages
9 Feb 1850

From Boole in Cork to his mother mainly discussing family matters. He mentions her move back to their house after leaving the Mechanics Institute rooms. He also refers to his family being free from the 'struggles and anxieties which they had in the past.' He mentions the slow progress of Maryann's school but comments: 'even a little employment with something to hope for is better than sitting down to do nothing enjoying life as some people call it.' He inquires after other family members and requests Maryann to send him some sheet music.


8 pages
7 Mar 1850

From Boole in Cork to his mother congratulating her on becoming a grandmother and hopes the baby (John George Boole) will be 'a blessing to all with whom it may hereafter to do in the world.' He has heard from Mr. Dickson how well she is looking and adds he longs to hear news from home. He inquires after the Atkinsons and suggests Maryann should raise some money for them. He speaks also of his life in Cork where he has met many 'estimable persons whose acquaintance is not readily found but who are worth a host of ordinary acquaintances'. However, he complains his evenings are full with socialising and he has little time for study. Mentions a trip he took to Leemount with Lady Kane and describes the plant life they saw. Sends regards to neighbours.


12 pages
20-25 Mar 1850

From Boole in Cork to his mother. He is lonely and wishes her and Maryann were with him but resolves 'why wish for what cannot be.' He is, however, thankful for the friendships he has made in Cork. He describes his lodgings which are 'scrupulously clean' and his landladies who are very kind and attentive and very English in their ways. Even the air and water there are more pleasant than in his old lodgings. He has decided never again to give or accept dinner invitations but visit the tea table instead: 'this is by far the most rational ways for those who want to talk and not to eat.' On 25 March he describes an enjoyable walk he had and a less enjoyable visit to the house of a government official. The other guests were 'full of grumbling against England and our government a thing which I am not disposed to hear without making some effort to defend them.' He feels many Irish people have preposterous notions about the English government and people, 'that England delights to see Ireland miserable', but he puts a lot of the belief down to 'an exaggerated way of talking.' His social life in Cork is much more active than it was in Britain, but he resolves not to let it interfere with his studies. Mentions he is thinking of going to London soon (the fare via Bristol first class is £2.5s.Od., and hopes Maryann will write as it is over a fortnight since he heard from her.


4 pages
7 Oct 1850

From Boole in London to his mother, describing the warm reception he got from Mrs. Coolney. He has decided to visit Mr. Haczynshil, sends his regards to Maryann.


10 pages
27 Feb 1851

From Boole in Cork to his mother. He is suffering from boils and lameness due to over-tight shoes, but has escaped the influenza which is prevalent in Cork. He briefly mentions the death of Eliza [his sister-in-law]. His classes are keeping him very busy and require a lot of attention. He mentions a competition for a gold watch for the best conundrum organised by the 'wizard of the north.' Says he has not much to tell her as emigration is the only newsworthy item in Cork. Mentions he was very upset to hear of Miss Brooke's illness, and that he put five shillings into an account for the son of a friend who was named after him. He did the same for each of his friends other children.


4 pages
20 July 1852

From Boole in Wichner to his mother telling her how much he is enjoying his visit with the Everests. He is teaching their son - 'a fine youth' - during the vacation. Mentions he expects to hear soon the result of his application for an examinersh1p in the Queen's University.

BP/1/154 (See Also BP/1/106)

6 pages
Nov 1853

From Boole in Cork to his mother describing the terrible effects on the city of the Great Flood. He himself was trapped upstairs in his lodgings 'the lower rooms being filled with water and the flood rushing by like the sea.' A lot of damage was caused with one bridge being almost destroyed and four people killed. His own landlord Mr. Unkles suffered losses when the water flooded his warehouse ruining 50 tons of flour and Indian meal.

ii. To his Brothers

(1) to Charles Boole

7 pages
25 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to his brother Charles describing his new life. He hopes Charles does not feel he has been neglecting him as he has had to write to so many others but he thinks often of him and William and wishes they both could be with him. He is occupied daily from 1 - 3 o'clock in lecturing and examining 'in fact teaching' and then works himself for three or four hours on an introductory treatise on logic for his class. He is not totally happy with his new home, 'I cannot say that I like Cork or its climate'. He describes the city as 'dirty', but acknowledges it has some pretty suburbs and wishes Charles could join him in the area for springtime. He also noticed the singing in the churches is of an unusually high standard. Mentions during the week he intends to inspect some schools for poor children run by the Christian Brothers, and describes a channel of the Lee flowing by Castle White which reminded him of a similar stream at home. He inquires after Lincoln neighbours, from whom he would be glad to hear but hopes to see them all at Christmas when he has 18 days off. Mentions he finds the President and Vice President of Q.C.C. 'models of gentleness and kindness', the Vice President Dr. Ryall is to dine at Castle White the next week. He jokingly compares the residents of Castle White with a religious community with himself as a lay brother.


3 pages
14 June 1853

From Boole in Llangollen, Wales to Charles first describing his holiday and then congratulating him on becoming engaged and assuring him he will be present at the wedding: 'I need scarcely say that it will give me most sincere pleasure to be present at an occasion so intimately connected with your future happiness'. Adds he is looking forward to meeting his future sister-in-law. His book is developing well and the first sheet has been returned to him for correction.

(2) to William Boole

3 pages
30 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to William enclosing an [account] (not in collection). In reply to a letter from William he says he is very pleased with William's account of his situation and hopes he is now 'in that sphere of life for which you are best suited.' Adds he hopes to see himself and Eliza in London. In a postscript he asks him not to write 'Prof' when addressing a letter to him but Professor or else nothing: 'I mention this because it was noticed by a gentleman who was present when your letter was delivered and it is you know better to avoid singularity.'

III. Letters from George Boole to Friends and Associates

i. letters from George Boole to Francis Albani, Registrar, QCC


1 pages
6 Aug 1850

Incomplete letter from Boole in Lincoln to Albani, missing out on home life: 'I hope that you enjoy the delights of home there are none like them.' The complete letter as given in Des MacHale's George Boole: his life and work Dublin,(1985) deals with the choice of subjects for the second year exams (algebra and spherical trigonometry).


1 pages
2 Nov 1852

Photocopy of part of letter from Boole to Albani containing a request by Boole to transfer from the library to the Museum Committee (Complete letter p.l03 George Boole: his life and work Dublin,(1985).

ii. letters to and from George Boole to William Brooke


2 items
[ ]

Incomplete rambling letter with typescript copy from Brooke to Boole humorously lamenting Boole's move from Britain to Ireland: 'Oh Boole, what has that Hibernican done, thus to steal my favourite son.' Then relapses in prose to describe a visit to Northampton to see old friends but never again to poetry 'but Elack, I can't keep it up - though our poor sister be in rags, God bless her, She and her ragged school, Shall line the shore and greet the young Professor and shout A Boole A Boole!' An added paragraph in the typed copy states the poem is given to preserve Brooke's name as a dear friend of Boole's, and also in a fit of depression thinking he was dying Brooke destroyed all Boole's letters as he did not know into whose hands they would fall.


2 pages

Typescript copies of letters from Boole to William Brooke. (a) 18 June 1855 Boole in Cork to Brooke discussing college affairs. He feels Dr. Ryall would have made a better president than Kane 'Had he been placed at the head of this college if would have flourished'. He is stinging in his criticism of Kane: 'when a President systematically neglects his duties, spends here one month in the year, yet holds powers which are essential to the well government of the college .... when the most reasonable and temperate efforts to bring about a better state of things exposes a man to the charge of faction and subjects them to the frown of power I do not see what but none can be expected.' He is debating with himself whether or not to make public the affairs of the college. He implores Brooke to visit him, not to see the country but 'to come over and cheer the lonely hours of captivity.' Adds humorously that Brooke might leave singing 'The Bells of Shandon,' which he quotes. He does add that Cork 'is I firmly believe the best place in Ireland.' Mentions the local protestants are angry over the bishop inviting the Catholic Bishop to dinner when the lord lieutenant was also present. He closes with good wishes and adds: 'The Indian Examinership has passed me by as I expected it would.' (b) Incomplete letter 3 Oct 1855 from Boole in Tenby, thanking Brooke for cashing a draft for 15s.0d. and promising to send him a balance of an account. His wife Mary urged him to write anything except poetry to Brooke having a theory that the poetry which is in a man ought to be for home consumption and ought not to evaporate in words. Here she says that 'professed poets are dull and prosaic people in common life. I am disposed to think that she is right.' He also describes a recent visit to Tintern and invites Brooke to Cork.

iii. letters from George Boole to Dr. J Bury


8 pages
11 Feb 1850

From Boole in Cork to Bury excitedly telling him how pleased he was to hear from him, eagerly inquiring how life is treating him and expressing his hope that Bury will some day have a practise large enough to support him and his family. He advises him against going to Germany but rather to stay home and build up his practise. He also describes his life in Cork to him; he likes his situation and feels his work there is of use. Out of the 98 students who attend the college 61 or 62 go to his lectures. He gets on well with all his colleagues and names Dr. Fleming as the most distinguished member of the science faculty adding 'he appears to me to be a very acute and clever man.' He mentions a paper he is writing for the 'Journal' and states his two previous essays were premature - 'I am still working on the same subject and with great success.' He hopes to see him in Chester on his next visit home.


2 pages
6 Mar 1850

Brief letter from Boole in Cork to Bury thanking him for sending over a copy of Mr. Green's paper.


4 pages
5 June 1850

From Boole in Cork to Bury requesting him to ask Mr. Green if he has any duplicates of his father's papers and if so could he send him some. He will pay the expenses in way that would not hurt his feelings of delicacy.' He tells Bury he will be coming to visit him soon but warns 'make no preparation for me. You know my simple tastes and habits.' He promises to discuss logic when they meet, then sympathises on the death of one of Bury's children, and adds he is glad to hear Bury's medical practise is going well.


2 pages
9 June 1850

From Boole in Cork to Dr. Bury, a brief letter telling him he will see him in one week's time after he visits Connemara with Dr. Ryall.


3 pages
26 Aug 1850

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury enclosing some sheets of his work (not in collection). He also invites him and Mrs. Bury to visit him in Lincoln. He adds Tom is also invited but he will have to share Boole's bed as his house is small.


2 pages
19 Dec 1850

From Boole in Cork to Bury enclosing a postal order for £12 and requesting him to acknowledge its receipt by a brief statement.


2 pages

From Boole to Bury thanking him for the trouble he took over a hamper and berating him for not taking a pork pie. Encloses a post office order for five shillings, and sends his regards to Bury's family.


2 items
24 Mar 1851

Original plus typed copy from Boole in Cork to Bury acknowledging receipt of papers by Mr. Green which Bury sent. He comments 'anything of Mr. Green's is valuable. Cambridge has had in my opinion no other mathematician of equal powers since Newton.' Mentions he is busy writing maths papers for the Cambridge Journal, although he would prefer to be working on logic. Enquires for news of Bury's circumstances and adds he is reading Hart and can understand [the German] quite well.


2 pages
9 June 1851

From Boole in Cork to Dr. Bury, writing to explain he will not be able to visit him on his outward journey from Ireland to England, but hopes to do so on the return trip. Sends his sympathy to Mrs. Bury who is ill.


2 pages
10 Oct 1851

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury informing him of the date of his and Maryann's visit to Chester. Also requests him to inquire about travel bookings from Chester to Cork for them.


2 pages
Oct 1851

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury explaining he will book his return journey to Cork from Manchester so Bury need not make any enquiries for him. Mentions he asked his brother William to meet him at Chester.


2 pages
6 Nov 1851

From Boole in Cork to Bury letting him know he and Maryann reached Cork safely, although they were both very ill on the crossing, and Maryann has not yet recovered.


4 pages
23 Mar 1852

From Boole in Cork to Bury, complaining good humouredly that Bury's letter to him was too short and 'I hope that you will soon make up for it by a letter of real gossipfull of little things about yourself and your family.' He is writing every day on logic and probabilities which he greatly enjoys 'the subject loses nothing of its interest in my eyes.' He hopes to publish his work soon. Mentions Maryann is at Blarney.


1 pages
9 Oct 1852

Brief note from Boole in Lincoln to Bury concerning the date and length of his proposed visit to Chester.


4 pages
4 Jan 1853

From Boole in Cork to Bury explaining he is unable to give Mr. Giles (a friend of Bury's) a testimonial as he feels he does not know him well enough to do so. Mentions he hopes to visit Bury in a few days time.


1 pages
7 Jan 1853

From Boole in Wichner to Bury informing him of the probable time of his arrival in Chester the following evening.


3 pages
30 May 1853

From Boole in Cork to Bury making arrangements for his visit to Chester. He is looking forward to the visit which he feels will do them both good. He has planned first to visit Dr. Graves in Howth but he is determined to reach Lincoln by 20 June for his brother Charles' wedding. He muses humorously on how helpless women feel bachelors are. Mentions he is very busy with exam papers.


1 pages
10 June 1853

From Boole in Howth to Bury informing him he intends to be in Chester the following day.


2 pages
[June 1853]

From Boole in Howth to Bury discussing his travel plans for a proposed trip to Wales. He was recommended by a lady artist definitely to visit Betiasy Coed.


2 pages
11 July 1853

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury discussing mainly his book which he encloses the first chapter of (not in collection) and believes Bury will 'like the style in which it is got up.' He will be busy during his holiday working on his book but he would enjoy a short visit from the Bury's and mentions how much he enjoyed his visit to them: 'It is always most pleasant to me to visit old Chester and old friends at the same time.'


2 pages
29 July 1853

Letter from Boole in Lincoln to Bury enclosing some sheets of his book (Laws of Thought not in collection). He inquiries if Bury could accompany Maryann on a visit to Mrs. Bury.


1 pages
4 Sept 1853

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury writing to request him to acknowledge receipt of the three sheets of his book he sent, and inquiring if he and Mrs. Bury would like to come to Hull for a visit. Encloses three more chapters of his book (not in collection).


1 pages
29 Sept 1853

From Boole in Cork to Dr. Bury, enclosing nine sheets of his book (not in collection) and expressing his disappointment at the Burys being unable to visit Cork stating: 'if I were even moderately well off expense should not stand in my way.'


1 pages
13 Oct 1853

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury informing him of his proposed time of arrival in Chester the following day.


1 pages
14 Oct 1853

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury discussing the time and date of his proposed visit to Chester.


3 pages
24 Oct 1853

From Boole in Cork to Bury thanking him for his comments on Boole's work. He adds that he is becoming less affected by the dampness of Cork.


2 pages
2 Apr 1854

From Boole in Cork to Bury requesting acknowledgement of a postal delivery of his book, as he is worried not all he sent out were delivered.


2 pages
7 Apr 1854

From Boole in Cork to Bury relating mainly to his book The Laws of Thought. He enclosed Dr. Ryall's review of the work (which he wishes returned) and mentions he agrees with Bury's condemnation of the review in the Athenaeum: 'It was evidently written by one who did not understand the subject.' Mentions he was glad to hear a number of copies were sold in Chester.


1 pages
9 June 1854

From Boole in Cork to Bury explaining that because of a change in his travel plans he will be unable to visit him on his journey over to Lincoln, but hopes to meet him over the summer vacation.


1 pages
20 June 1854

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury. Maryann is unwell and is going to stay with William, he wonders if she travelled by way of Chester could she spend a few days with the Burys.


2 pages
21 Aug 1854

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury briefly informing him of the peaceful death of his (Boole's) mother. He gives her cause of death as being 'cardiac dropsy'.


1 pages
11 Oct 1854

Typed copy of a letter from Boole in Lincoln to Bury, confirming he is sending the money requested and instructing him in strong terms to be more stringent in collecting his debts: 'You will not be offended with me for saying that I think this is really a weakness and under your actual circumstances a reprehensible one on your part.' Adds 'no one whose good opinion is worth a stain would feel the slightest anger or disapprobation at one's telling him that necessity requires that he should be asked to discharge a just debt.'


3 pages
18 Mar 1856

From Boole in Cork to Bury thanking him for his letter, 'with its enclosure which I threw into the fire.' He hopes Bury's practise will now prosper and urges him to visit. He asks for Bury's professional medical opinion on whether Mary, his wife, should wear a corset ('stays') while pregnant. She has been advised to do by female friends, but Boole feels this was for cosmetic purposes only and both he and she feel it could be harmful to the child.


4 pages
21 Sept 1856

From Boole in Dublin to Bury letting him know he reached there safely while Mary 'an admirable sailor' went on to Cork. He did hear news of a serious accident on the C & H line the day after he travelled. Mentions he enjoyed his stay in Chester and invites Bury to Cork advising him to go by way of Liverpool as that costs 17s.6d. compared to 38s.0d. (1st class) from Chester. Adds Dublin is growing very quickly.


4 pages
2 Dec 1856

From Boole in Cork to Bury. He has heard Mrs. Bury wants to refurbish a room for a lodger and he wishes to lend £10-15 for that purpose: 'But I must make it an express condition with you that the money shall really be devoted to this purpose.' He assures him that taking in lodgers would in no way lessen his social standing or diminish his chances of professional success. Adds he is writing steadily and promises to send Bury a fair copy of his work's introduction.


3 pages
21 Jan 1860

From Boole in Cork to Bury requesting that if he cannot come over himself would he send over some small pox vaccine for the children. His wife is especially keen to have the children vaccinated. Adds that he himself is getting a lot of pain in his right arm which makes it difficult for him to write.


1 pages
12 Sept 1860

From Boole in Lincoln to Bury. He hopes to visit Chester and then go to the lakes, so he requests Bury to inquire if tickets for such a journey could be bought in Chester and the price, he asks him to send the reply c/o Charles Boole, Sleaford, Lincolnshire.


2 pages
21 Sept 1860

From Boole in Cork to Bury, telling him of his safe arrival in Cork although he had to travel on a very old, small, steamer. He also thanks Mrs. Bury for forwarding 'The Ladies Companion' to his wife.


3 pages
9 Oct 1860

From Boole in Dublin (where he is acting as examiner to Q.C.C.) to Bury telling him he would like him to visit but explaining his duties as examiner means he would only have three free days in Dublin. Adds the cost of a second class return fare is 26s.6d.


1 pages
15 Oct 1860

From Boole in Cork to Bury acknowledging receipt of money from Bury which closes his debt adding he was happy to have been of help. Also refers to a mutual wish for them to see together 'the western mountains of Ireland and the Atlantic waves.'


3 pages
21 June 1861

From Boole in Cork to Bury as he and Mary are thinking of visiting Bonn to see if the change of air would improve Mary's health. He inquires if Mrs. Bury (who has been to Bonn) would write and give her impressions of the city and send on any tips she might have on accommodation. He sends his best wishes and adds. 'I often think of you.'


2 pages
18 Sept 1861

From Boole in Cork to Bury telling him of the improvement in Mary's health: 'She is really growing flesh and begins almost to like the cod liver oil.' He urges Bury and his family to come visit when the Boole's are settled into their new house.


3 pages
9 Dec 1861

From Boole in Cork to Bury inviting him and his family to visit. He'd appreciate it though if they could come as soon as possible as he has advertised for pupils to come to his house. Adds all his family are well except his wife who has toothache and neuralgic pains.


1 pages
17 Dec 1861

From Boole in Cork to Bury requesting him to reply to Boole's invitation to spend Christmas in Cork and adds: 'never mind the private matter about which I also wrote.'


4 pages
19 Dec 1861

From Boole in Cork to Bury telling him he reluctantly accepts Bury's reasons for not being able to visit, but wonders if his wife and son would like to come. Mentions also he is very glad to hear Bury's practise is growing. Refers to a letter he had from a German Professor saying the weather in Germany was excellent: 'what a contrast to this wretched climate.' Also refers to a job advertisement Bury mentioned in his letter.


2 pages
7 May 1862

From Boole in Cork to Bury, sympathising on the illness of his son Charles. He urges Bury to send his wife and Charles to Cork for a few months promising: 'They will have their own sittingroom and we will have a piano moved into it for Charles.' Mentions his wife is due in two months time.


2 pages
26 May 1862

From Boole in Cork to Bury discussing the proposed visit of Mrs. Bury and her son Charles. One paragraph however is in German he concludes: 'we guessed from Mrs. Bury's letter what was the threatened danger to Charles, I hope it may be averted.'


2 items
13 July 1862

Original and typed extract from Boole in Cork to Bury expressing his delight Charles Bury is doing better. He mentions two papers he sent to the Royal Society are to be published. Of one discussing the theory of Probabilities (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 1867 Vol. 152) he says, 'I think it will be considered as putting the theory of the subject contained in the 'Laws of Thought' in an established position.'


1 pages
25 July 1862

From Boole in London to Bury informing him of the date of his proposed visit.


2 pages
6 Aug 1862

From Boole in Cork to Bury informing him of the birth of his fourth daughter (Lucy Everest Boole) adding: 'little Alice is as saucy as ever' and her vaccination 'is reserved for your friendship and skill.'


1 pages
11 Dec 1862

From Boole in Cork to Bury inquiring if he will be able to visit Cork in time for Christmas. Maryann has also been invited and is coming.


2 pages
18 Aug 1863

From Boole in Cork to Bury thanking him for sending 'the vaccine lymph' for his daughter. He also enquires about excursion tickets to Yorkshire in preparation for a future visit. Mentions they moved house to be nearer to Cork.


4 pages
13 Oct 1863

From Boole in Cork to Bury discussing his recent visit to England and apologising for not visiting him. He invites him to Cork instead. He also refers to the death of his old friend Rev George Stephens Dickson of St. Swithin's, Lincoln.


2 pages
28 Mar 1864

From Boole in Cork to Bury sympathising on the death of Bury's uncle. He invites him to write or visit adding it was so long since they had contact: 'one would suppose I had given you offense in some mysterious way.'


2 pages
[ ]

From Boole in Cork [to Bury] giving directions how to reach his house as he will be unable to meet him at the train. He instructs him to ask for a car to Blackrock and get off near the Castle.

iv. letters from George Boole to Miss Davis


2 items
2 Oct 1849

From Boole to Miss Davis original and typed copy responding to her request for advice. He advises her about [the Misses] to take no notice of them 'not even to think of them' and to avoid all appearance of resentment. He also counsels her that the esteem of factions or parties is not always worth gaining. Promises to visit if he goes to London.


2 items
13 Aug 1849

Original plus typescript copy from Boole in Lincoln to Miss Davis informing her of his appointment to Q.C.C.. His friend De Vericour was appointed Professor of Modern languages. His family are pleased for him: 'my mother bears it very well and I am quite of the opinion that for her and Maryann the change from busy to quiet life will be a very beautiful one.' He hopes to be able to spend five months a year at home with them. Adds he is quite busy putting his affairs in order and has little time for letter writing. Closes by offering his esteem. Typed copy annotated by [Maryann].


2 pages
21 Aug 1854

Original plus typed copy from Boole in Lincoln to Miss Davis informing her of the death of his mother from dropsy after a month's illness.

v. letter from George Boole to Sir William Hamilton


7 pages

Copy of a letter from Boole in Cork to Sir William Hamilton in which he refutes Hamilton's dismissal of Mathematics as not being a science. He thanks Hamilton cordially for sending him copies of his work which he enjoyed and admired, but he does find some fault with them: 'will you forgive me for adding that I do not think that upon all points you have manifested that freedom from prejudice which is essential to the formation of right judgement?' After arguing that all subjects can suffer from one-sidedness he proceeds to argue against Hamilton's view of maths: 'Now while I admit to be true that many minds have been absorbed to a very injurious extent in Mathematical pursuits, I cannot judging from the nature of the case and from individual experience believe that such is a necessary or a proper result'. He explains that in his case maths spurred on his interest in other subjects. He also brings Hamilton to task for being too severe on De Morgan. He closes in a conciliatory tone: 'I hope that it is not needful to offer any apology for the freedom of some of my observations, and merely to have thanked you for your very valuable work would not have conveyed my real feelings or convictions as to its great merit?'

vi. letter-book from George Boole to Joseph Hill (1830-1852)


1 items

All letters and extracts described here are taken from a letter-book of Boole's letters to Hill, and are given in the order they appear in the letter-book.

  1. [1 page] Extract from a letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill explaining he has left Doncaster to take up a superior position in Liverpool under a Mr. Marrat. Mentions he has been studying work on mechanics for the past year. [26 Dec 1832]
  2. [1 page] Extract from a letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill, telling him the city is excited by the opening of the Mechanics Institute and discussion on its organisation is widespread. It has 500 members but Boole feels it will return only two thirds of that number. [23 Dec 1833]
  3. [1 page] Extract from a letter by Boole to Hill. He feels this letter breaks their agreement to correspond on profound matters, and adds he hopes one day to be as profound and solemn as Hill. 'He has begun to study Italian and finds it quite easy, Greek was becoming very dry and dusty for him, but he wonders if he should not have mastered it before moving on to Italian. Mentions he completed the prize question in 'Ladies Diary' and promises if he wins to send Hill a diary. [22 Feb 1834]
  4. [1 page] Letter from Boole to Hill written in Latin. [17 Jun 1834]
  1. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill apologising profusely for not writing. He is busy writing on composition and grammar for his school and inquires if Hill would have any copies of rules or regulations for punctuation. He is studying German, but is reading very little Latin and has given up all thoughts of learning Hebrew. Mentions his father constructed a very good telescope stand. [11 Feb 1837]
  2. [4 pages] Copy letter from Boole to Hill apologising for not responding in equal length to Hill's letters. Mentions he chooses to write in English as he had not done so lately, and that his father is constructing a telescope. He discusses Hebrew which he feels is a very pure language and quotes Bible passages in Greek and English discussing their grammar and tenses. [30 May 1837]
  3. [2 items] Handwritten and typed copies of letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill dealing mainly with educational matters and explaining his move from Waddington to Lincoln. His expectations were not being realised in Waddington so he relinquished his lease at unfavourable terms but which 'I am able to make without putting myself under obligations and willing to make in order to get out of the business with honour and an unstained character.' He thanks him for sending an analysis of Galls system and would like his opinion of it. His own opinions on educational matters 'is as yet by no means made up, perhaps in all points never will be.' He advises Hill to extend his studies beyond the exact sciences and warns maths can 'deaden the imagination and destroy the relish for elegant literature and indispose the mind for everything but the bare pursuit of abstract truth.' He hopes that in the future knowledge of mathematics could be obtained without any waste of exertion, and discusses at length the place of maths in education. Adds he would enjoy a more varied correspondence on some of the subjects raised in the letter. [5 May 1840]
  4. [2 pages] Handwritten and typed copies of letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill discussing education and biography. He compliments and discusses Hill's 'ingenious and just' comments on the nature and operation of systems in education. He also discusses the purpose of a biography which he feels should primarily relate what the 'individual subject was, under what circumstances he was placed, by what events his life was characterised, and in what relation he stood to his associates and contemporaries.' He feels religious biographies are the worst constructed. [9 May 1840]

2 pages
27 May 1840

Handwritten and typed copies of letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill on the subject of biography. He argues against Hill's assertion that the mass of biographies record trivial events and outlines his own views on the content of biographies citing Boswell's Life of Johnson as being especially commendable. He feels his view is the correct one and hopes Hill will change his opinions.

  1. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill telling him about the recently formed 'Lincolnshire Topographical Society'. Boole is to assist in the drawing up of the rules of the society and inquires if Hill could send him a copy of the laws and regulations of the Hull Philosophical Society. Adds he hopes Hill is continuing with his reading. [19 Jan 1841]
  2. [3 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill thanking him for sending the rules of the Hull Philosophical Society to him (See BP/1/221/10). The Lincoln Topographical Society is to begin with an address on electrotypes. He comments on the various literary schemes of reading Hill devised wryly, commenting that Hill will hardly carry them out himself, and the time he took to draw up his analysis could have been used to read the books. He again urges Hill to broaden his studies warning 'Every station of life has perhaps a tendency to produce its peculiar habits in the mind as well as its bias on the feelings.' Adds he hopes Hill will not be offended by his remarks. He is reading Neal's History of the Puntas. His school is going very well and he is pleased. [22 Feb 1841]
  3. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill. He offers to send Hill a paper on Mythology he read before the Philosophical Society. He moves on to the subject of politics, which he admits to having little interest in due 'probably from the situation in which I am placed and the habits of life to which I have grown accustomed.' Mentions he is writing a paper on the subject of light which he may follow up with one on physical astronomy. He is also analyzing Butler's Analogy and recommends it to Hill. [29 Dec 1841]
  4. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill inquiring as to what books Hill would recommend for religious instruction in Sunday schools. He names the books he is using. [17 Feb 1844]
  5. [1 page] From Boole in Hornsea to Hill, describing his holiday. He is enjoying Hornsea and remarks on the many pretty villages in the district and the picturesque coastline. [13 July 1844]
  1. [2 items] Handwritten and typed copies of a letter from Boole to Hill enclosing a tract by Pulford he accidentally took with him after his recent visit. He thanks Hill for inviting him and hopes 'our friendship may continue to increase and that it may be more and more founded on esteem, to the end of our lives.' He is reading Wardlaw and Sir James Mackintosh on Ethics, a subject which gives him more 'solid gratification than maths.' He prefers morals over maths as they appeal both to emotion and reason. [16 July 1846]
  2. [1 page] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill inquiring after him. His school is prospering but he has heard no news of the Irish Professorship and remarks no news comes from Ireland 'but the melancholy detail of starvation and wretchedness.' [2 Feb 1847]
  3. [1 page] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill. He still has heard no news of the Irish professorship but states he is so content with what he is doing that he might not accept it if offered. However he is worried that his health as he ages would prevent him being a good schoolmaster. [15 Feb 1847]
  1. [1 page] Copy letter from Boole to Hill inviting him to join himself Maryann and Mr. Lilly on an excursion through Yorkshire, after which he will take the steamer from Hull, but doubts he would have time to visit Hill there. [14 July 1847]
  2. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Burlington to Hill inviting him to visit there. He has rented lodgings with three bedrooms, one of which is to be at Hill's disposal. [15 July 1847]
  3. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Sainsboro to Hill inviting him to join him on a country excursion. [19 June 1848]
  4. [1 page] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill informing him of his appointment as Professor of Mathematics at QCC. [13 Aug 1849]
  5. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill inquiring if they could meet when he visit Hull on his way to Hornsea with Maryann. [30 July 1850]
  6. [3 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Cork expressing his pleasure at receiving a letter from Hill and explaining he is slow to reply to letters as writing for him is an extension of his daily duties. Remarks that while England may be disturbed Ireland is not as there are many moderate men Catholic and Protestant in Ireland who abhor violence, and because there is not as much dissension between Protestants in Ireland as there is in England. [11 Dec 1850]
  7. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Cork to Hill explaining he has not written as he was unwell and found writing troublesome. He commiserates on the death of Hill's aunt whom he held in high regard. Mentions Maryann is at Blarney and is deriving great benefit from the baths there. [9 Feb 1852]

5 pages
30 Nov 1840

Copy letter from Boole in Waddington to Hill, good humouredly complaining that Hill did not visit him on a recent trip to Lincoln, but promises to forgive him if he writes a long letter on a interesting subject (he suggests Gill's system and method of Sunday School teaching). He recommends Hill to study Joachim's Life of Erasmus which he gives a brief sketch of the content and arrangement of. He also mentions he sent a number of maths papers to Cambridge where they were well received. Refers to a new Baptist Chapel which is about to be opened in Waddington followed by a social tea evening and comments: 'The religious world is growing very social and very fond of tea which are two good signs.' Then with a long rambling prologue laden with historical and mythological references he states he can at last reveal part of a mystery he has known for many years. 'For 70 mornings then at the hour of six, visit the second milestone on the eastern bank of the Humber and for 3 and 4 1/2 minutes direct your face to the eastern horizon. On the 71st visit at the_ [expiration] of your watch you will perceive ... but I anticipate the mystery' but promises it is worth seeing.


1 pages
30 July 1847

Copy letter from Boole in London to Hill inquiring if he left a dressing case in Hill's house and requesting him to keep it until they meet next. He mentions Subthorpe and Seely being returned at the election.


1 pages
21 June 1849

Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill, inquiring if Hill would like to accompany him on a tr1pto London for a few days, as he has an order for admission to the great works at the Grimsby Docks. He includes details of train times.


2 pages
[ ]

Incomplete copy of a letter from Boole to Hill recommending an introductory discourse by Sir James Mackintosh on the Law of Nature and Nations, however he faults the work for being too elaborate in style. Mentions he regards [Wherwell's] Elements of morality and Polity as 'a very partial and one side performance' arising from the author's high opinion of Church authority and discusses some of his ideas.


1 pages
4 June 1846

Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill refusing his invitation to go to Wales. Rather he would prefer them to spend a fortnight by the sea, 'provided that is far enough from the resorts of fashion and the noise of the great world.' He is in a need of a rest, but feels swimming would do him good, but he urges Hill to go to Wales if that's what he wants.

  1. [1 page] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Hill, enclosing a sermon on toleration which Mr. Larken preached before the University of Oxford (not in collection). Inquires if Hill has any thoughts on the University question. [10 Mar 1849]
  2. [1 page] Copy letter from Boole to Hill explaining he has to cancel their meeting as his assistant Mr. Marshall is ill and so he cannot leave. [11 Mar 1847]

1 pages
[ ]

Mathematical jottings of algebraic equations.

vii. letter-book from George Boole to Charles Kirk (1845-1849)


1 items

All letters described here are taken from a letter-book of Boole's letters to Kirk, and are given in the order they appear in the letter-book.


2 pages
14 Oct 1845

Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Charles Kirk St. John's College, Cambridge written in Latin.

  1. [2 items] Copy letter (with typed copy) from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk congratulating him on his 21st birthday. He regrets he won't see him on the day but adds 'I doubt not love will write with friendsh1pand mirth with wisdom, to strew flowers beneath the dusty wheels of time.' He wants him to imagine him (Boole) sitting in an empty chair at the festivities enjoying himself 'and never once indulging in those philosophical but unsocial mutterings, which by a too severe judgment, have been charged upon me.' [10 Aug 1846]
  2. [3 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk mainly discussing university. First he inquires if his note of introduction to Chessman (whom he finds a' very pleasant agreeable fellow) was of use. In a section marked confidential, he tells him he believes his father is dying and he is urging Boole to enter Cambridge, his sister and brothers second this. He has not yet decided to go or not, but if he did he would attend one of the smaller colleges and would not make mathematics his principal pursuit. He could afford to spend £80 - £100 per annum, asks Kirks opinion on the matter. He adds he feels he has a duty to society to use his talents, and is disillusioned with teaching as 'the amount of evil that grows up spontaneously among boys shut up together in a boarding school is almost greater than the good you can impart.' [30 Apr 1847]
  3. [3 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk enthusing about Cambridge. He declares if he had to choose a city (Lincoln excepted) to live in it would be Cambridge, so that he could breakfast with Kirk. He speaks excitedly about his visit there, describing in prosaic terms the joys of being a student at Cambridge. He also directs Charles to abandon his books for the day and enjoy his birthday. He mentions the Parrys and the additions to Lincoln Cathedral. [9 Aug 1847]
  1. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk enquiring how he is getting on at Cambridge especially with Griffith. He urges him not to think too much about home, but to keep his mind on his duty and 'how you are fulfilling your father's interests.' His own father is growing weaker and has lost interest in people. He is teaching a class three times a week in his own home and has two private pupils so he is busy but happy. Adds he hopes they see each other over Christmas. [15 Nov 1847]
  2. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk. He is doubtful whether or not he will see Kirk as planned as he is not now going to London; the College of Preceptors cannot afford to pay the expenses owed to him, and are treating them as advance subscriptions. He shows a marked change in attitude to Cambridge: 'I detest from the bottom of my heart the cold pride of useless scholarship' but asks Kirk not to show anyone the letter as people will label him a grumbler against 'our glorious constitution in Church and State', but explains it's just that he prefers quiet and simplicity. [3 Jan 1848]
  3. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk responding to an earlier letter of Kirk's. He is not feeling well but was pleased to hear Kirk is studying German - 'a noble language' - and key to a noble literature. He adds he hopes Kirk is still not disillusioned with maths as he was in his last letter. Mentions all in Lincoln are taking great interest in the events in France, Germany and Italy, and he presumes news of the revolts have penetrated even Cambridge 'where pale young men intent upon Greek accounts and double integrals lift up their heads and speculate upon the world whose existence they had almost forgotten.' [21 Mar 1848]
  1. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk apologising for having to cancel his visit due to bad weather. He would have greatly enjoyed listening to Kirk read some of their old favourites. [24 Apr 1848]
  2. [2 pages] Copy letter from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk discussing recollections of a very enjoyable visit to Sleaford. Mentions William Brooke is doing some research on inscriptions in St. Benedict’s Church and quotes one to see if Kirk could shed some light on it. He has been on a trip to [Stringfield] manor house which he found very picturesque and beautiful. Requests him to forward some copies of a lecture on logic by Boole published in Cambridge when they are printed and instructs him to keep a copy for himself and one for a friend. [26 May 1848]
  3. [2 pages] Copy letter (with typed copy) from Boole in Lincoln to Kirk discussing his book. He requests him to call on Macmillans and ask for an account of the book sales. He is himself pleased with the method of logic he laid out and has had favourable comments on it. The lack of widespread acknowledgement of the book does not bother him as he says, 'I hope to accomplish something so much better.' He finds logic fascinating but understands the wider public doesn't and states for him, 'Oh the pursuit of truth is enough of itself.' [24 Jan 1849]

viii. letters from George Boole to the Larken family (1845-1862)


1 items

All letters described here are taken from a letter-book and are given in the order they appear in the letter book. All letters are to the Rev. E. Larken unless otherwise stated.


3 pages
23 Dec 1845

From Boole in Lincoln to Rev. E. Larken discussing ways to improve the Lincoln Mechanics Institute. He drew up a number of propositions to put before the committee but tells Larken of them, 'in order that you may be able to form a matured judgement upon them before you are called upon to consider them as a member of the Committee.' He hopes Larken will give him support and advice. He also requests him to return the proposals as he wishes to show them to others (proposals not in collection).


3 pages
29 Sept 1846

From Boole in Lincoln to Larken discussing matters relating to the Mechanics Institute and his application for a professorship at a college in Ireland (see BP/1/219 for typescript copy). He is busy writing letters in connection with his application and has been invited by Thompson to visit Dublin to experience Irish University life. Thompson's father has also promised to use his influence with Mr. Crow the Secretary of the Irish Education Board to aid him, however Boole is unsure: 'I cannot leave a certain for an uncertain duty.' Inquires if the Institute would like him to give some lectures on Natural Moral Philosophy. Closes by thanking him profusely for the testimonial he gave him.


2 pages
6 Jan 1847

From Boole in London, (where he is posted as an examiner) to Larken, detailing his stay. He visited Mr. Gill of the People's College who received him well even though Boole had lost Larken's letter of introduction. He was very impressed by the college and would have applied for the vacant post of principal there 'if it were not for my Irish prospects.' He complains about the conditions under which he is examining and declares: 'Had I surmised that there would have been so entire a want of system and forethought I should not have come up.' He promises also to do 'your little commissions.'


5 pages
[Jan 1847]

From Boole in London to Larken sending the receipt for the twenty-two sovereigns Larken entrusted to him and telling of the people he has met, including Mr. De Vericour whom he liked, and who sends advice to Larken to send his boy to school. He also met Mr. Lantham and Mr. De Morgan who is ill, and also many young men who would make fine teachers. He is thinking of letting his school and instead taking in about 12 pupils at £50 per annum and wonders if Larken would act as a referee to him. He is not happy with his present situation: 'I can hardly see how I am turning to account the little learning or talent that I have ... on the whole I am in a painfully unsettled form of mind.' He closes with a discussion on different news of the Purgatory [a poem].


4 pages
15 Jan 1847

Boole in London to Larken describing his stay and replying to comments Larken made about Cooper. Boole has a higher opinion of him than Larken '... he is vain and perhaps pedantic but after all he has a great deal that might justify vanity if anything could in such creatures as we are'. He also mentions Cooper's honesty and sincerity and hopes Larken has not formed an overly bad impression of him. He visited Mr. Chapman who lent him a volume of Emerson's poetry, and Mr. De. Morgan who gave him a reader's ticket for the British Museum valid for six months and declares: 'It will scarcely be possible to feel dull in London after this.' He mentions De Vericour bought Larken a very fine copy of Lamiennons Evangiles which is a more expensive illustrated copy than the one Larken had previously.


3 pages
23 Jan 1847

From Boole in Sleaford to Larken thanking him sincerely for the recommendation from Boole which he gave to a gentleman applying to be his assistant. Mentions he has a speech prepared to give any day the following week for the young men of Lincoln. Adds he is reading Whately on the Errors of Romanism and says: 'It deserves not only to be read but to be studied.'


2 pages
29 Apr 1847

From Boole in Lincoln to Larken inviting him to meet E.J. Willson and Rev. James Simhiss at his home that evening. He jokingly remarks that as his two guests are Roman Catholic Larken should join him in the 'Protestant interest'. Of Simhiss he remarks 'he has as much of the Catholic and as little of the Roman about him as any man that I ever met within whom the two terms were united.' Mentions he hopes to get to the Mechanics Institute meeting also that evening.


4 pages
31 May 1847

From Boole in Lincoln to Larken discussing Rules for the conversion and general transformation of propositions in which Larken had voiced interest. Mentions he invited Dickson on a walk to Burton and adds: 'I hope this will redeem me from the stigma of unfaithfulness.'


2 pages
12 Aug 1847

From Boole in Lincoln to Larken discussing a poem Purgatorial written by a Mr. Cooper (a Chartist) whose wife is a relative of Boole's. Boole suggested to Mrs. Cooper that some units in the dialogue should be made, but he wishes first to discuss the proposed changes with Larken. He is not overly fond of the poem as it 'is an unhealthy one' but 'there is stuff and matter in it.'


3 pages
13 Sept 1847

From Boole to Larken discussing the forthcoming publication of his manuscript. It is ready for printing in Cambridge and both Prof. Graves and Charles Kirk, 'a very competent judge so far as the mathematics are concerned' feel it should sell well. He requests Larken to inquire if Bishop Thaye would mind him dedicating the book to him. He wishes to do so because Thaye is a mathematician and a scholar and also 'because his character is such as behoves his station and attainments.' Mentions he encloses his friend Cheriman's letter (not in collection) and that he also hopes to publish a small volume of poems and translations which he would like to dedicate to Larken.


1 pages
7 Oct 1847

From Boole in Lincoln to Larken. He was induced by an old "friend" to buy two copies of George Rose's Journal, and inquires if Larken would like one. His friend has sold many to the clergy and had intended calling on Larken and the bishop but had not the time.


4 pages
15 Dec 1847

From Boole in Lincoln to Larken requesting Larken to enquire at the Athenaeum in 'Babylon' [London] if they stock copies of his book as he's heard they don't. Mentions he went with William Brooke to a meeting of 'Seely's friends' in Newmarket but the crush of the crowds 'that wild beast - the people' was too much for him and he left early. He has had a letter from Prof. Graves (who is ill) setting up a meeting with Whately to discuss Boole's system [of logic]. Graves 'writes with a mixture of gloom and hope about Ireland that is to me very touching' and he quotes lengthily from the letter describing the gloom and despondency caused by the famine.


2 pages
14 Jan 1848

From Boole in Lincoln to Larken. He is sending him his mathematical books to keep for two years and gives strict instructions that Larken is not to give them back to him before that time. If he repeatedly asks for their return Larken is to 'ban them even as the books of those which used magical arts were burned.'


5 pages
7 July 1848

From Boole in Bamsgate to Larken, informing him he will be back in Lincoln in time to attend the meeting Larken spoke of. He remarks on the political situation in Europe stating 'it is sad that it takes trouble abroad to make Christians do their duty,' but he doesn't think things are likely to change: 'I suppose that we are not to look for this before the millennium.' He describes in rapturous tones his visits to the British Museum and the cliffs of Dover. He is reading Montfarcois 'Antiquities of Italy' and Carlyle's Letters and speeches of Oliver Cromwell, which has 'a certain massive and rugged grandeur whatever one may think of its philosophy.' Closes as Maryann has returned to accompany him on a walk.


3 pages
24 Sept 1849

From Boole in Lincoln to Larken discussing the arrangements for the presentation of public gifts to him to celebrate his appointment at Q.C.C.. He is conferring with William Brooke as to what books he will choose and says he would be delighted to receive a silver inkstand as proposed: 'To this I should have no objection and as it would gratify my mother and sister and others. I should be glad if it could be so arranged.' He also agrees to a public presentation at which he could thank everyone for their kindness. Also sends sympathy to Larken who is ill.


3 pages
May 1851

From Boole in Cork to Larken. Friends of his in Cork wish to improve the Penitents Home there and he inquires if Larken who is involved with the Lincoln home could send him some details about it. He also promises to ensure all arrears of subscriptions are dealt with on his return to Lincoln.


2 items
27 Feb 1861

Handwritten plus typed copy from Boole in Cork to John Larken thanking him for his letter containing news of Lincoln, and expressing his happiness to hear Larken's family are getting on well, adding: 'I believe that among young ladies getting married may be considered as a kind of success in life.' He hopes Larken will do well but cautions him against working too hard and prospering too much. He is fine and hoping to build a house. He adds: 'If I had my present lot in England I think I should have no earthly wish ungratified.' Also thanks him for the unusually neat way in which he returned a book.


2 items
13 Apr 1861

Handwritten plus typed copy from Boole in Cork to John Larken, thanking him for his house design and promising that if he is ever going to build a house he will hire him as architect. Mentions he likes Gothic Architecture but finds 'convenience and utility are not sufficiently thought of by Gothic designers generally', and mentions Q.C.C. as a case in point. He invites him to visit as soon as renovations to his house finish; at the moment stars are visible through the roof in the attic.


5 pages
22 May 1862

From Boole to John Larken telling him about the fire at Q.C.C.. The damage was calculated at £6,000 with £2,000 worth of equipment lost. He also discusses the building of a Cathedral in Cork, to be constructed of limestone and bathstone. He remarks in Ireland labourers work for 6d. a day less than they do in England where they receive Is.6d or Is.8d. per day. However they get less work done in a day than an English labourer. If Larken wishes to tender for the contract he advises him to come and view the site but warns he may have problems: 'I should think Irish workmen very difficult from an Englishman to deal with. They are very much given to striking.' He adds if he has room he would be glad to put Larken up.


1 pages
[ ]

Scrap of a letter from Edmund Larken to Boole giving news of Fanny Bullen's health.

ix. letter from George Boole to his pupils


4 pages
6 Nov 1849

From Boole in Cork to his old pupils telling them about his new situation. He mentions he often thinks of them and their welfare and happiness. He describes the countryside around Cork and the college, he mentions the steady rainfall and that he has heard Cork referred to as the rain basin of Ireland. He refers to a report on the opening of the college which is to be featured in the next edition of the Illustrated London News. He adds he would be delighted to find on his return that they all had been good boys 'steady to your labours faithful and obedient to your teachers, kind an courteous to each other, obliging to all with whom you have to do,' and states he would be proud to hear from any of them.

x. letters from George Boole to M.C. Taylor

BP/1/225 (See Also BP/1/337)

3 pages
27 May 1840

From Boole to Taylor in Leeds, opens with a friendly reprimand to Taylor for not writing and goes on to discuss his work. He tells him he has moved to Pottergate in Lincoln, and is so busy teaching and writing maths papers he has neglected general literature. He reveals he has some ideas for discussion which would make their correspondence 'useful' but he wishes to develop them further before airing them. He was upset to hear Leed's Cathedral burnt down and hopes Taylor was not one of those who dismissed its monuments as archaic, as they were, Boole feels, symbols of medieval faith that have only recently come to look out of place.

BP/1/226 (See Also BP/1/230)

2 items
Apr 1840

Letter from Boole to Taylor plus typed copy discussing studies and religious matters. He recommends lectures on physical science by Roget published in the library of Useful Knowledge, mentions he finds writing a great aid to study, and he has done away with slates in his school and is using pens instead. He then discusses various academic matters, the works of Brown, the study of mental philosophy and how it leads to a growth of genuine poetry and the reception of religious belief. On this last subject he states: 'I hesitate not to avow myself in belief a Christian,' although he places his 'hopes of future happiness on the great propitiatory sacrifice and atonements of the saviour.' On other issues such as the freedom of human will (which he sees as minor point) he has ceased to think and adds: 'I doubt whether I am a Christian at all except in mere speculation.' He says he has expressed his feelings more fully than ever before but he does not want Taylor to enter into correspondence on personal religion as he feels this would lead to hypocrisy on his part. Rather he hopes their correspondence will continue to stimulate them both.


4 pages
8 June 1840

From Boole in Lincoln to Taylor, he apologises for not having enough time to write a long letter but instead resolves to 'offer a few remarks on a subject alluded to in your last and briefly propose a plan of correspondence from which you may probably derive much benefit.' The discussion revolves around Brown's thoughts on will and ideas, with which Boole disagrees. He suggests Taylor should study mental and natural philosophy, and draw up at intervals an abstract of such principles and theories of a particular issue and send this to Boole with his own thoughts. Boole then might be able to add some helpful comments, but· he states the writing of the work alone would be most useful. Mentions he had advertised in the Leeds 'Mercury' for an assistant.


4 pages
22 Sept/8 Oct 1840

From Boole to Taylor, opening with profuse apologies for not writing earlier. Also he has lost Taylor's last letter so his responses to the questions might not be too comprehensive. As Taylor requested he discussed the identity of memory, conception and imagination, he sees the main difference between memory and imagination as being conception. He then switches to address a second letter from Taylor asking for his advice. He is seemingly depressed but Boole assures him all students become apathetic and despondent at some time, as all humans have periods of low energy, and he gives him study advice. Mentions he has also had a letter from Dyson whom he feels is an enterprising student.


4 pages
17 July 1844

From Boole in Hornsea to Taylor apologising profusely for letting their correspondence lapse. He declares he cannot hope Taylor would resume their correspondence, but he would write if only to let him know that he has not been forgotten and adds: 'Although I have said that I would not attempt to apologise for my long silence the fear of losing altogether your good opinion compels me to say it has not been the result of idleness.' He then fills Taylor in briefly on his situation, saying school work takes up most of his time with the rest going to preparing a manuscript for publication. He mentions Dyson has settled at [Guinsboro] and is doing well and asks for Taylor's news.

BP/1/230 (See Also BP/1/226)

4 pages
28 Feb 1845

From Boole in Lincoln to Taylor explaining he doesn't have a spare copy of his recent lecture to send him, and he hopes Taylor understands. If he wants to read the paper he can find it in Philosophical Transactions 1844 PL11, but doesn't think it would interest him. He recommends Dr. Arnold's Life and Correspondence which he read and enjoyed, and mentions again his religious affiliations: 'I should not hesitate to avow myself in principle and in profession a churchman. More than this I can scarcely say.' He also is determined to avoid taking sides on religious questions which divide Christians.


4 pages
20 June 1846

From Boole in Lincoln to Taylor inviting him to visit if he is ever in Lincoln; he presumes someone in Taylor's business must travel a lot and assures him there is always welcome for him in Lincoln. Adds he is off to the seaside at Hornsea soon for a short break.

xi. letters from George Boole to A. T. Turner


4 pages
26 Jan 1860

Copy of a letter from Boole in Cork to Turner discussing general and political news. He apologises for not writing earlier, but he has just had one book printed and another still in the press and finds letter-writing a continuation of work, so he avoids it. He gives some family news; Maryann, recently returned from Germany, is now living in Cork as governess to the bishop's children, and is very happy with her position. As for himself although he is happy in Cork he is 'looking forward to settling in England in some way before long.' He gives a brief description of his children and concludes, 'on the whole life passes pleasantly on though in a country in which I can never feel at home.' He then turns to discuss the prospects of peace between England and France saying he has heard many conflicting statements about the French. He recognises the Commercial Treaty as fact and presumes Free Trade will be the future. He mentions no volunteer rifle corps formed in Ireland as: 'The Roman Catholic Priesthood seem to have been doing all they can to preach disloyalty' and declares: 'This is a country which does not on the whole present the most favourable picture of Christianity.'

IV. Letters to George Boole

i. from Mrs. Mary Everest to George Boole


2 pages
2 Sept 1852

Incomplete letter from Mrs. Mary Everest to Boole telling him how well her daughter Mary [Boole's future wife] is getting on with her Trigonometry. She's not getting through it however as quickly as when Boole is there and she wonders if she has to do all the difficult examples as they take her so long. She hopes to begin Analytical Geometry the next day and will send Boole some papers to show her progress.


6 pages
[ ]

From Mrs. Everest to Boole explaining she is unsure whether or not she will be able to visit Cork or Ireland as planned due to renovations having begun on her brother's house. She adds she is sorry to bother him with her problems as he has great troubles of his own. She also speaks of Mary [Everest]'s great love of maths, and how they missed him at a recent musical evening.

ii. from Isaac Todhunter to George Boole


2 pages
23 May 1863

Typed copy of a letter from Todhunter, St. John's College, Cambridge to Boole giving details of the position of Sadlerics Professor of Pure Mathematics now vacant at St. John's, and urging him to go forward for the post. He presumes Mr. Cayley (whom he says cannot teach) is most likely to be elected, but he feels Boole ought to offer his name to bring it to the notice of the College and adds that is what he plans to do. Closes with some local news.


1 pages
10 June 1863

Typed copy of a letter from Todhunter to Boole informing him Cayley was elected to the vacant position of Professor of Maths (see BP/1/233 above). He thanks him for the testimonial he sent and expresses his regret Boole did not go forward for the position, reminding him: 'Mathematical appointments are unfortunately neither numerous nor valuable.' He thanks him also for his invitation to visit, but regrets he could not travel to Ireland that year.

iii. letters from others to George Boole


3 pages
2 Sept [1853 - 54]

From John [N ] of Victoria Road Cork to Boole, ' explaining that a German woman who does not speak English has been admitted to the North Infirmary Hospital, and he wonders if Boole could come and translate for the staff.