Main content

John Reynolds mathematics copy book and account book


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

John Reynolds appears to have been a farmer in Bassingham in Lincolnshire, England in the first half of the 19th century. Little is known about him, except that he seems to have been well educated and involved in his church his community. From 1818 to 1819, he may have managed the accounts for building a highway in the area, at the same time as managing his farm which produced, primarily, barley, beans, oats, straw, turnips, and wheat; and sold a variety of animals including "beasts," cows, lambs, and pigs.

This volume contains mathematical exercises, with examples applied to the building trade from around 1802; the Bassingham Sunday School Library rules (penned by Reynolds in 1816), and Reynolds's farm accounts from 1816 to 1820.

Approximately one half of the volume contains mathematical exercises copied from unidentified editions of Francis Walkingame's The tutor's assistant (p. 3-127) and Charles Hutton's The compendious measurer (p. 128-183). These exercises follow basic mathematical rules, including the rule of three inverse; double rule of three; tare and tret; brokerage; reduction, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of vulgar fractions; the simple rule of three, the single rule of three, and the double rule of three in vulgar fractions; addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, reduction, and contracted multiplication and division of decimals; extraction of the square, cube, and biquadrate root; and cross multiplication or duodecimals. These mathematical rules then appear to be applied to the building trade, including calculations that would have been used by bricklayers, joiners, tilers, plasterers, painters, pavers, plumbers, glaziers and masons, etc. There are also instructions for timber measurements, measurements by the rod, and calculations for vaulted and arched roofs, gauging, and specific gravity. There are approximately 27 illustrations in ink of structures (houses, barns, stable yards, etc.) (pp. 213-238) that accompany questions relating to scale and compass of brickwork, stonework, and wall work from an unidentified source.

In 1816, Reynolds used the volume to record the Bassingham Sunday School Library rules (pp. 242-245). The library was to be supported by the weekly subscription of children belonging to the Sunday School and the rules outlined incentives for subscriptions made for extended periods of time (one penny each week for a year earned a copy of the New Testament, etc.). There is only one other reference to the Sunday School in the volume (p. 251) within a list of readings and talks that occurred in church in 1817.

The remainder of the volume contains Reynolds's farming accounts, dating from 1816 to 1820, in which he records his purchases and sales. He appears to have primarily sold barley, beans, oats, straw, turnips, and wheat, as well as a variety of animals including "beasts," cows, lambs, and pigs. Reynolds appears to have managed the "Highway Accounts" in addition to his own accounts; these accounts include earnings by laborers who worked anywhere from one to eight days; and supplies such as gravel, wood, and brick. A single entry dating from 1885 (p. 245) provides a recipe intended for calves or ewes lambing.

The volume is bound in full vellum with John Reynolds written on the front cover. A fuller title, "John Reynolds, his Accounting Book, 1802," is written on the first page. The second half of the volume starts upside down from the back cover, with pages ripped out after p. 240 and after p. 310.

Sold by Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers, 2022.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2023 March 1
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
"John Reynolds, his Accounting Book, 1802", 1802-1885.
Volume 1

Print, Suggest