Skip to main content

Isaac Todhunter (1820-1884)

Despite being thought of as 'backward' as a child, Isaac Todhunter had a highly successful academic career. In 1842 he graduated from University College London, acquiting himself with distinction in mathematics, Greek and Hebrew. In 1844 he was admitted at St John's, and four years later graduated senior wrangler and won the first Smith's prize. A fellowship followed in 1849. He went on to compose numerous mathematical treatises and textbooks which had a huge influence, eventually being adopted by the Indian government, and also edited the work of other famous mathematicians, such as Boole and Whewell.

Todhunter's bequest to the Library

Todhunter's books were presented to the College by his widow, Louisa, and the Library took all those works which it did not already possess. There are numerous volumes bearing Todhunter's provenance in the Library, many of which are mathematical, but they include classical texts and works of general literature as well. It is to Todhunter that the College owes its first edition of Edward Fitzgerald's translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1859).

Provenance markings

Usually Todhunter's books bear his bookplate, together with a simple Latin book label.