Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Owen Reynolds to Louis H. Girardin, 10 August 1821


Owen Reynolds to Louis H. Girardin

August 10th 1821—

Dear Sir,

Having once mentioned to me, that, you thought, there would be an eligible situation open shortly for a mathematician, in the new university of Virginia.—As, I have devoted the greater part of my time to the study of those abstruse and difficult sciences, the Mathematicks, and have been employed in teaching them in Ireland, for many years, and also, since my arrival in this country with a great degree of success; I presume my qualifications to fill that situation, perhaps, may be as strong as those of any other who will apply.   I had always filled the first place in the Mathl correspondance carried on in the Irish diaries, before I left that country, and will send you a specimen of my Mathl talents by enclosing you some of the questions I proposed, and others that I have Answered in the Portico, taken from some of the numbers of that work, which, with difficulty I procured.—I have been very industrious in studying, and investigating the intricacies of the higher branches of the Mathematicks, both, in the English And the French languages, such as Fluxions or the Differential calculus, with its applications to Mechanicks, And Astronomy, particularly to the Mecanique Celeste of Laplace, and the astronomy of Delambre.—Spherics, with its applications to the lunar observations, nautical astronomy, construction of Maps; and to the Methods of constructing sun dials to tell the hours of the day on planes situated in any position whatsoever.—Algebra, with its applications to plane geometry, spherics, and the geometry of high curves, conicsections &c.—Geometry, according to the mode of Analysis used by the Ancients; or according to the synthetical Method used by the Moderns, with A method which is not very generally Known, of solving a geometrical1 problem, first, algebraically, and from the final equation of the algebraical solution, to draw a geometrical construction; and from thence to demonstrate the problem purely geometrically.—Surveying theoretically and practically—Mensuration with its applications to Measurements of all Kinds.—I think, Huttons Mathematics with some additions where it is necessary would be a tolerably good course for an institution of that Kind.—

It may be well to make it Known that I have been narrowly acquainted with all the celebrated Mathl works that have been written in the French, As well as the English languages; Also if they think well of appointing me, if the situation be still vacant, that I can procure the most satisfactory testimonials, as to good character, sobriety and industry: and from our best Mathns here a verification of every thing I have stated above to be correct.   Dear Sir your forwarding my views on this Occasion will very much oblige your Sincere friend and humble Servant

Owen Reynolds

RC (ViU: TJP); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “L, H, Girardin Esqre Principal of the Balt. College”; endorsed by TJ: “Reynolds Owen to mr Girardin,” with additional notation by TJ beneath endorsement: “to be Professor of Mathematics.”

Owen Reynolds (b. ca. 1786), mathematician and educator, kept a mathematical school in County Leitrim, Ireland, before moving by 1817 to Baltimore, where he wrote on mathematics and taught at Baltimore College. He continued there until a dispute caused him to resign and start his own institution in 1823. Reynolds operated schools teaching mathematics and accounting and offered night courses in Baltimore until at least 1833. An incorporator of the Maryland Academy of Science and Literature in 1826, he donated to the Irish Emancipation Society and was involved with the Baltimore Hibernian Society (Portico 3 [1817]: 73; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 26 Mar., 10 May 1819, 25 Aug. 1820, 29 Jan. 1821, 13 Aug., 13 Oct. 1823, 31 Aug. 1824, 6 Feb. 1829, 27 Mar. 1830; Matchett’s Baltimore Directory, for 1824 [Baltimore, 1824], 254; Laws Made and Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Maryland At the Session begun and held at the City of Annapolis, on Monday the Twenty-sixth Day of December, 1825 [Annapolis, (1826)], 95–6; Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser, 13 Nov. 1826, 19 Feb. 1827, 19 Aug., 1 Nov. 1828; Washington United States’ Telegraph, 23 Nov. 1829; Matchett’s Baltimore Director, Corrected up to June 1831 [1831], 309; Charles Varle, A Complete View of Baltimore [1833], 29).

1Manuscript: “geometrial.”

Index Entries

  • A Course of Mathematics (C. Hutton) search
  • Delambre, Jean Baptiste Joseph; writings of search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; and University of Virginia search
  • Girardin, Louis Hue; letter to, from O. Reynolds search
  • Hutton, Charles; A Course of Mathematics search
  • Laplace, Pierre Simon, marquis de; Traité de Mécanique Céleste search
  • mathematics; solutions published search
  • mathematics; University of Virginia professorship of search
  • Portico; publishes mathematical solutions search
  • Reynolds, Owen; identified search
  • Reynolds, Owen; letter from, to L. H. Girardin search
  • Reynolds, Owen; mathematical solutions by search
  • Reynolds, Owen; seeks position at University of Virginia search
  • Traité de Mécanique Céleste (P. S. Laplace) search
  • Virginia, University of; Faculty and Curriculum; mathematics professorship search