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Doing Sums

30 November 1694
Call number: 
NEHA Special collections nr 354

An ambitious student in the province of Gelderland (The Netherlands)  started a new arithmetic exercise book on 30 November 1694. On the front page 'Hendrick Swaen' draws childlike sketches of swans around his name. His sums are meticulously noted down.

Hendrick works according to the instructions of Willem Bartjens, published in The New Arithmetic that appeared in 1607. 'Doing sums according to Bartjens' is still apocryphal in Holland. After addition and subtraction, division and multiplication come numerical problems. In February 1695 the exercise book is complete and Hendricks self esteem is raised to the square. On the last page of the exercise book Hendrick signs in an adult fashion as 'Hendricus'.