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Series Three: The Papers of Charles Babbage, 1791-1871

Part 1: Correspondence & Scientific Papers from the British Library, London

"Charles Babbage (1791-1871) is widely regarded as the first computer pioneer and the great ancestral figure in the history of computing. ... His Analytical Engine conceived in 1834 is one of the startling intellectual feats of the nineteenth century."  London Science Museum.

Charles Babbage is known to many as the 'Father of Computing' and his close friend and collaborator, Ada Lovelace, is credited with writing the first computer program.  Their correspondence is an important element of this collection, which documents his attempts to create a machine incorporating all of the essential elements of a modern day computer and which would outperform men in mathematical calculations.

  • The collection also includes his wide-ranging correspondence with leading scientists and mathematicians throughout the world, making this a valuable source for understanding the culture and competitiveness of science in the Victorian age. 
  • Important figures represented include André Marie Ampère,  George Boole, Christian Bunsen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Count Cavour,  Augustus De Morgan,  Michael Faraday, Jean Fourier, Caroline Herschel, John Herschel, Friedrich Humboldt, Charles Lyell, Harriet Martineau, John Stuart Mill,  George Rennie, John Ruskin, Nassau Senior, Jared Sparks, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Otto von Struver, and the Duke of Wellington.
  • There are also papers concerning astronomy, cow-catchers, cyphers, geology, lighthouses, mathematics and the foundation (by Babbage) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Digital Guide
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