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Graves Lecture Notes (MS ADD 4)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0103 MS ADD 4
Held at: University College London
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Full title: Graves Lecture Notes (MS ADD 4)
Date(s): c1839-c1843
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 3 volumes
Name of creator(s): Graves | John Thomas | 1806-1870 | jurist and mathematician


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in Dublin, 1806; undergraduate at Trinity College, Dublin; distinguished himself in science and classics; a contemporary and friend of Sir William Rowan Hamilton; researches respecting exponential functions led him to important results, 1826; graduated BA, 1827; printed in the Philosophical Transactions the discovery of two arbitrary and independent integers in the complete expression of an imaginary logarithm, and considered it a solution for various difficulties that had perplexed mathematicians, believing that he had elucidated the subject of the logarithms of negative and imaginary quantities, 1829; removed to Oxford and became an incorporated member of Oriel College, 1830; entered the King's Inns, Dublin, 1830; MA, Oxford, 1831; MA, Dublin, 1832; called to the English bar as member of the Inner Temple, 1831; for a short time went on the western circuit; since his mathematical conclusions were not at first universally accepted by contemporaries such as Sir John Herschel, he communicated to the British Association a defence and explanation of his discovery, supported by Sir William Rowan Hamilton's paper published in the British Association's Report, 1834; corresponded for many years with Hamilton, also interested in algebraical science and imaginaries, who communicated his discovery of quaternions to Graves first of all, and acknowledged his debt to his friend for his stimulus in 1843; Graves continued his mathematical investigations; stimulated Sir William Rowan Hamilton in the study of polyhedra, and received from him the first intimation of the discovery of the icosian calculus; contributed various papers on mathematical subjects to the Philosophical Magazine, London and Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine and others, 1836-1856; member of the committee of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge; elected a member of the Royal Society, 1839; subsequently sat on its council; Professor of Jurisprudence, University College London, 1839-1843; elected an examiner in laws in the University of London; twelve lectures on the law of nations were reported in the Law Times from 1845; a member of the Philological Society and of the Royal Society of Literature; appointed an assistant Poor Law Commissioner, 1846; appointed a poor-law inspector of England and Wales, 1847; died, 1870. Publications: articles on Roman law and canon law for the Encyclopędia Metropolitana; articles in Sir William Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography (3 volumes, London, 1844-1849), including lives of the jurists Cato, Crassus, Drusus, Gaius, and an article on the legislation of Justinian; various scientific papers.


Scope and content/abstract:

Manuscript text of lectures on jurisprudence delivered by Graves during his professorship at University College London.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Finding aids:

Dorothy K Coveney, A Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Library of University College London (London, 1935).

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

From the Murray Library, Coventry Street.

Allied Materials

Related material:

University College London Special Collections also holds lectures by Graves on equity, delivered during his professorship at University College London (Ref: MS ADD 53); documents relating to his career, 1827-1922 (Ref: MS ADD 116); Appointment Committee Report on Graves regarding the Chair of Jurisprudence, 1839 (Ref: LIB/CA/APPMINSA/012); 23 letters to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 1840-1845 (Ref: SDUK); a letter to Graves from S Maynard, bookseller, 1861 (Ref: MS MISC 1N); a letter from Philip Beecroft to Graves, 1854 (Ref: GRAVES TRACTS A5309); an undated letter to Augustus de Morgan (Ref: S.R.E.810.D2/21b); anagrams on the name Augustus de Morgan (Ref: MS GRAVES 36); letters relating to University College London business, 1839-1849 (Ref: COLLEGE CORRESPONDENCE); letters and manuscripts, 1727-1857 and undated, on scientific subjects collected by Graves (Ref: MS GRAVES 23); and other manuscripts collected by Graves, many on mathematical subjects (Ref: MS GRAVES). University College London also holds the Graves Library, comprising 14,000 volumes on law, classics and mathematics, mainly early works on mathematics and also touching upon the history of physics, chemistry and the biological sciences, and notably including works on Euclid.

British Library, Manuscript Collections, holds ten letters from Graves to Charles Babbage, 1836-1844 (Ref: Add MSS 37189-200 passim). Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, holds correspondence with Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1844-1870 (Ref: MSS Phillipps-Robinson). Trinity College Dublin holds correspondence and papers, 1822-1860 (Ref: MS 10047) and c100 letters to Sir W R Hamilton, 1825-1859 (Ref: MS 1492).

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Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Source: National Register of Archives.

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
1999, revised Aug 2001

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