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Memoires de Mathematiques

Memoires de Mathematiques

Libri, Guillaume (Guglielmo Libri Carucci dalla Sommaja) 210 pp. not including introductory pages. Rebound in 19th century full leather double ruled in gilt on front and back with marbled endpapers and page edges. Leather covering on the spine is missing, but the spine itself is secure and strong. Boards are detached and scratched and rubbed around the extremities. The text block (including the free endpapers) is in very good condition. It is square and very tightly bound. There is substantial foxing to the first 20 pages, not impeding legibility. The remainder of the text block is remarkably clean throughout. This copy needs no internal repair, simply re-binding. What makes this copy of a rare book most interesting are the two letters bound in. They were written by Libri from Florence House, Bayswater, in 1854 and 1856, to Lord Rutherford. The title page is also inscribed to Lord Rutherford by the author. In addition, the blank leaf opposite the title page has a lengthy handwritten paragraph describing some of Libri's colorful life. He was in fact a distinguished professor of mathematics and taught in Italy (where he was born) and in France. In 1841 while living in France (to which he had fled to escape arrest for his political activities) he was appointed Chief Inspector of French Libraries, a magnificent post for a bibliomaniac, with responsibility for cataloguing valuable books and precious manuscripts. Unfortunately, he also took the opportunity to steal large numbers of books and manuscripts. In 1848 a warrant was issued for his arrest. However, he was fore-warned and fled to London, shipping 18 large trunks of books and manuscripts, about 30,000 items, before doing so. In London he lived quite well on the income from the sale of his stolen books. He was assisted by Antonio Panizzi, the Director of the British Museum Library, and was able to convince many that his problems in France had arisen because he was an Italian, not because the allegations against him had any substance. Panizzi is mentioned in one of the letters. We have included English translations of the letters with the book. Size: Quarto