AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

London Mathematical Society Archive

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0103 LMS
Held at: University College London
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: London Mathematical Society Archive
Date(s): 1853-1994
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 6 boxes
Name of creator(s): London Mathematical Society
Hirst | Thomas Archer | 1830-1892 | mathematician
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The London Mathematical Society (LMS) was founded as the University College Mathematical Society in 1865, for the promotion and extension of mathematical knowledge. It was granted a royal charter in 1965. In spite of its name, its reach extends beyond London as a national learned society for mathematics. Members include c1,500 academic mathematicians in the UK and c1,000 members overseas. Its affairs are managed by an elected Council and Officers. It undertakes various publications, holds regular meetings, conferences and symposia, and offers financial support to various mathematical activities.

Thomas Archer Hirst: born at Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, 1830; entered the West Riding proprietary school, Wakefield, 1840; articled to a Halifax land agent and surveyor, 1846; went to Marburg to study mathematics, physics and chemistry, 1849; PhD; spent a short time at Göttingen; studied in Berlin; lecturer in mathematics and natural philosophy at Queenwood College, Hampshire, 1853-1856; lived in Paris, 1857-1858; lived in Rome, 1858-1859; appointed mathematical master at University College School, 1860; Fellow of the Royal Society, 1861; one of the founders of the LMS, 1865; a member of its Council; Professor of Physics, University College London, 1865; succeeded Augustus De Morgan as Professor of Pure Mathematics, 1866; Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1866; general secretary of the British Association, 1866-1870; resigned his chair to become assistant registrar in the University of London, 1870; President of the newly-founded Association for the Improvement of Geometrical Teaching, 1871-1878; President of the LMS, 1872-1874; director of naval studies at the newly-founded Royal Naval College, Greenwich, 1873-1883; Fellow of the University of London, 1882; awarded a royal medal by the Royal Society, 1883; retired, 1883; honorary member of the Cambridge Philosophical Society and of several foreign scientific institutions; author of papers on mathematical physics and, from 1861, pure geometry; his research included work on the correlation of planes and the correlation of space of three dimensions; died in London, 1892. Publications: papers in the LMS Proceedings and the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions; preface to Richard P Wright's Elements of Plane Geometry (London, 1868); 'On the Complexes generated by two Correlative Planes' in collected mathematical papers In Memoriam D Chelini, ed Luigi Cremona (Milan, 1881); edited The Mechanical Theory of Heat (London, 1867), translated from Rudolf Julius Emmanuel Clausius's German.


Scope and content/abstract:

Archives of the London Mathematical Society, 1853-1994, the bulk comprising c500 letters to Thomas Archer Hirst, 1853-1892, mainly in his capacity as a member of the LMS, including a letter inviting him to the first meeting of the Society, and also reflecting his travels in Europe, including letters from prominent European mathematicians. The letters include several from Henry M Bompas, 1865, 1874-1879; Arthur Cayley, 1858-1891 and undated; Michel Chasles, 1858-1871 and undated; Luigi Cremona, 1864-1892 and undated; Augustus De Morgan, 1861-1869; Georges-Henri Halphen, 1875-1879; Amédée Mannheim, 1866-1891; Julius Plücker, 1866-1868; William Roberts, 1859-1865 and undated; George Salmon, 1858-1878; [Hermann Cäsar Hannibal?] Schubert, 1877-1884; Henry John Stephen Smith, 1865-1876 and undated; William Spottiswoode, 1862, 1865, 1883; Cyparissos Stephanos, 1877-1887; Rudolf Sturm, 1874-1892; James Joseph Sylvester, 1859-1888 and undated; Barnaba Tortolini, 1858-1863; Richard Townsend, 1865-1878; John Van Voorst, 1864-1867; and there are a few letters from Hirst himself. The archive also includes a bound notebook containing a manuscript catalogue of the LMS library by R A Sampson, 1891-1893; miscellaneous administrative correspondence and papers, 1964-1975; membership lists, 1966-1972; binder of papers of H T J Norton on mathematics, with correspondence, largely to E H Neville, regarding their disposition in the LMS archive in c1938, and also including bibliographical material on elliptic functions, apparently compiled by Neville [1930s-1950s]; miscellaneous letters and papers on research, 1986, 1992-1994.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English, French, German, Italian

System of arrangement:

The letters to Hirst are filed by author.

Conditions governing access:

Certain restrictions apply. The Hirst letters are currently inaccessible due to digitisation. Membership lists from 1961 onwards may not be viewed without the prior written permission of the President of the Society.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

Handlist to the whole collection and card index to the Hirst letters.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by the LMS.

Allied Materials

Related material:

University College London Special Collections holds two letters from Thomas Archer Hirst concerning his appointment at University College London and his resignation, 1865, 1870, and a letter of the LMS concerning setting up the Graves Library, 1870 (Ref: COLLEGE CORRESPONDENCE), and a scrapbook of the Spitalfields Mathematical Society (Ref: MS ADD 75). The LMS Library is housed in University College London Library. Correspondence and papers of Thomas Archer Hirst are held at the British Library, Manuscript Collections; Royal Institution of Great Britain; Royal Astronomical Society Library.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Source: Dictonary of National Biography; website of the London Mathematical Society,; National Register of Archives. Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Oct 2001

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"