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Samuel M. Talley trigonometry notebook and account book


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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

Samuel M. Talley was the fifth son of William Talley and Ann Day Talley. He was born on December 27, 1815, at the family’s large farm in Brandywine Hundred, an area near Wilmington, Delaware.

After receiving a thorough education and teaching for several years in the Brandywine Hundred public schools, Talley began farming family land after his father’s death. He married Sarah Aldred Day and had six children: Ellen A., Harriet J., Winifield Scott, Francis D., V. J. Harley, and Samuel M., Jr.

Samuel M. Talley died on August 23, 1896.

Biographical and Genealogical History of the State of Delaware, vol. 1 (Chambersburg, PA: J. M. Runk, 1899), 648.Talley, George A. A History of the Talley Family on the Delaware, and Their Descendants. Phialdelphia: Moyer & Lesher, 1899.

This trigonometry and surveying notebook belonged to Samuel M. Talley, who lived in Brandywine Hundred, near Wilmington, Delaware, in the nineteenth century. The notebook features mathematical problems and solutions related to the principles of trigonometry and the surveying of land. The latter part of the volume contains an account book listing wages due for farm labor.

Approximately eighty percent of this volume consists of the trigonometry and surveying notebook of Samuel M. Talley. In it, Talley wrote numerous problems and solutions illustrating principles of trigonometry and surveying. Colored ink drawings and figures accompany the problems. Talley took pains to present this copy book in a neat and attractive way. He used various colors of ink and wrote in a variety of scripts for different headings. Some of the examples are labeled with dates ranging from December 18, 1833, through February 24, 1844. Because Talley wrote "The end at last" on the final page of this section of the volume, it seems likely that he was a student and not a teacher at the time.

Sets of related problems are arranged under headings. The headings are "Practical Rules for Solving all the Cases of Plane Trigonometry," "The Application of Plain Trigonometry To the Mensuration of Distance and Highths[sic]," and, after the label "January 14 / Surveying / 1834," "Chapter I. On the dimensions of a Survey," "Chapter II On supplying omissions in the dimentions of a survey [sic]," "Chapter III Problems finding the Content of Land," "Chapter IV Laying. Out. and. dividing. Land.," and "Miscellaneous Questions."

The inside of the front cover and first pages of the volume contain an account of the cost of building an unknown object out of wood; penciled notes including the date March 7, 1848; and some arithmetic.

From 1851 to 1863, Talley used the pages at the end of the volume as an account book. He labeled the first page of the notebook section "Samuel M. Talley 1851." In the back, he recorded wages for his own "road work" including overseeing, plowing, and performing other manual labor. He also listed the wages due to the workers he oversaw in Brandywine Hundred. He often wrote the date, location, and the full name of the worker.

  1. Item 0112: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097

Purchase, 1982.

Processed by Kate Hand, October 2007. Encoded by E. Evan Echols, May 2014.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2014 May 13
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Samuel M. Talley trigonometry notebook and account book, 1833-1863. 1 volume.
Item 0112
Physical Description

1 volume

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