Collected Works. Edited by E.M. Cobham. Preface by Ethel S. Dummer.
Boole, Mary Everest.

London: The C.W. Daniel Company, [1931]. First edition. Old bookseller’s label in each volume. A very good set, in price-clipped dust jackets—as nice a set as we have ever handled. Original green cloth with gilt spines. Four volumes, octavo. (Item ID: 14921)


Mary Everest Boole (1832-1916), was a scholar and educational leader, and the wife of mathematician George Boole (1815-1864). Born into an aristocratic family (Sir George Everest, the surveyor-general of India after whom Mount Everest is named, was her uncle.), she received excellent schooling in both England and France, and she developed particular interests in mathematics and the occult sciences. She married Boole shortly after the publication of his masterpiece, The Laws of Thought, and she shared her husband’s mathematical interests, attending some of his lectures and serving as a sounding board when he produced his textbook, Differential Equations (1859. After George Boole’s death, Mary Boole devoted her life to explaining and developing what she saw as the fundamental significance of her husband’s work—the use of mathematical methods, developed in Laws of Thought, to reveal deeper spiritual and philosophical truths. Placing several of her five children with relatives, she contacted the theologian and educationist F. D. Maurice, a friend of her husband’s, and he offered her the position of librarian at Queen's College, London, England's first college of higher education for women. She also ran a student residence, and offered a series of Sunday evening ‘true logic’ classes, in which she discussed religion, psychology, spiritualism, and mathematics. During this time, she wrote The Message of Psychic Science to Mothers and Nurses (1883), an early book on mental health. In 1873, she left Queen’s College and became secretary to James Hinton, writer on philosophy, psychology, and science. Her home became a meeting-place for antivivisectionists, vegetarians, unconventional educational psychologists, and fringe religious groups. After the turn of the century, she became involved in the progressive education movement, authoring books like Lectures on the Logic of Arithmetic (1903) and The Preparation of the Child for Science (1904), which were considered well ahead of her time. “Mary Boole's Collected Works…is a remarkable mixture of insight, educational innovation, tedious banality, and an incomprehensible confusion of mathematics, religion, and philosophy. However, although undoubtedly an eccentric and unorthodox in many ways, she had a vision of early mathematical education that remains relevant, and her ideas on educational psychology deserve a wider audience” (DNB)

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