Guide to the Collection

Collection Summary


The collection consists of personal papers including letters and diaries; professional papers including literary, historical, and scientific compositions; and papers related to Alice Bache Gould's education. Also, papers related to her professional activities as teacher and mathematician, and her travels in Puerto Rico and Spain. The collection also includes a large volume of family correspondence, especially with her father, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, who ran the astronomical observatory at Cordoba, Argentina, her mother, Mary A.Q. Gould, and grandfather Josiah Quincy.

Biographical Sketch

Mathematician and historian Alice Bache Gould was born in Cambridge, Mass. in 1868, the daughter of astronomer Benjamin Apthorp Gould (1824-1896) and Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould (1834-1883), and granddaughter of Josiah Quincy (1802-1882). As a young child she lived with her family in Cordoba, Argentina where her father was the head of the Argentine National Observatory. Alice returned to Cambridge in 1871 to live with relatives while her family stayed in Argentina. In 1885 she began her education at the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women in Cambridge (later Radcliffe College). She then attended Bryn Mawr College from 1886 1889, where she received her A.B. in mathematics and physics as a member of the school's second graduating class. She continued her study of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Newnham College, University of Cambridge, from 1890-1893.

Upon her return from England, Alice taught mathematics for a year at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and began her graduate studies at the University of Chicago in 1894. She received a fellowship from the University in 1895 for her PhD thesis on Brodian geometry under the guidance of mathematician E. H. Moore. The death of her father on Thanksgiving 1896 and the loss of her fellowship in 1897 put a strain Alice's health and she returned to Cambridge, Mass. before completing her thesis.

In 1897 Alice established an endowment at the Academy of Science in her father's name. She spent the next several years looking for work and occasionally lecturing on mathematics. She attempted to complete her studies in Chicago but returned to Cambridge to recover from poor health. In 1900 she began research for her monograph on Louis Agassiz which was published by her cousin-in-law Mark A. De Wolfe Howe in 1901 as part of the Beacon Biographies of Eminent Americans series. In 1903 Alice traveled to Puerto Rico to recover from the flu and from 1905-1907 was instrumental in establishing the "Porto Rico Teachers' Fund" that raised money for a nursing school.

During her early visits to Puerto Rico Alice became interested in the early colonization of the new world, especially Columbus' first voyage. In 1911, she traveled to Spain where she spent most of the rest of her life researching in Spanish archives, most notably the Archivo de Simancas. In July 1919 she published a story in the Atlantic Monthly entitled "The Adventure of the Missing Fortnight" that described some of her experiences researching in Spain.

During World War I Alice worked as a volunteer in the espionage office of the United States embassy in Spain and led an effort to send female clerical workers to the embassy to help with war work. She returned to the Chicago in 1918 to teach navigation to naval officer candidates at the University of Chicago Ensign School at the Municipal Pier. During this time she began research for on her essay on Great Circle Sailing, a navigational technique that calculates points along a great circle route.

In 1926 Alice returned to Spain to continue her research on Columbus and became involved in public education measures and the establishment of local schools in Simancas. The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 forced her to return to Boston but after the war she returned to Spain. She lived the remainder of her life in Simancas where she died in 1953.

Collection Description

The Alice B. Gould papers consist of 46 document boxes, 11 volumes, 1 oversize box, and 1 oversize drawer organized into two series: I. Alice Bache Gould papers and II. Benjamin Apthorp Gould family papers.

Series I. Alice Bache Gould papers contain correspondence, letterbooks, diaries, notebooks, literary, historical, and scientific compositions, and miscellaneous printed materials, relating to Gould's education at Bryn Mawr College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago; her professional activities as a teacher and mathematician, and her travels and research in Puerto Rico and Spain. This series also includes student notebooks and research notes detailing Alice's studies in mathematics, navigation and history.

Correspondence includes letters exchanged between Alice and her father, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, who ran the astronomical observatory at Cordoba, Argentina, her mother, Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould, grandfather Josiah Quincy, cousin Fanny Huntington Quincy, and other Quincy and Gould family members; and letters to and from classmates and teachers at Bryn Mawr, including Mary E. Hoyt, cousin of Woodrow Wilson, and Martha Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, among others.

Series II. Benjamin Apthorp Gould family papers contain Benjamin Apthorp Gould family correspondence; diaries kept by Benjamin Apthorp Gould and Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould; and Gould-Quincy family genealogy. The correspondence and diaries document family life in Cordoba, Argentina and the young death of Alice's sisters; and life in Cambridge, Mass. Correspondents include Mary's father Josiah Quincy and mother Mary Jane Miller Quincy.

Acquisition Information

Donor unknown.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Alice Bache Gould papers, 1845-1939

This series consists of correspondence, letterbooks, diaries, notebooks, essays, and miscellaneous printed materials, relating to Alice Bache Gould's education at Bryn Mawr College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago; teaching and lecture notes and other material related to her professional activities as a teacher and mathematician; and her travels and research in Puerto Rico and Spain. Also contains personal financial records; correspondence and financial records related to the Benjamin Apthorp Gould Memorial Fund established by Alice for the National Academy of Science in her father's name; and correspondence, financial accounts and legal documents related to the donation of the Edmund Quincy homestead in Quincy, Mass.

A. Personal papers, 1877-1939

i. Alice Bache Gould diaries, 1888-1938

Box 1
Vol. 1

ii. Alice Bache Gould correspondence, 1873-1939

Box 2
1873-June 1886
Box 3
July 1886-1889
Box 4
1890-February 1891
Box 5
March 1891-May 1892
Box 6
June 1892-January 1893
Box 7
February-October 1893
Box 8
November 1893-July 1894
Box 9
August 1894-1895
Box 10
1896-June 1897
Box 11
July 1897-1898
Box 12
1899-July 1900
Box 13
August 1900-March 1902
Box 14
April 1902-1903
Box 15
1904-February 1907
Box 16
March 1907-April 1918
Box 17
May 1918-1922
Box 18

iii. Alice Bache Gould letterpress books, 1897-1908

Box 19Folder 1
15 March-16 April 1897
Box 19Folder 2
16 April-10 October 1897
Box 19Folder 3
13 October 1897-19 May 1898
Box 19Folder 4
27 May 1898-27 April 1901
Box 19Folder 5
28 October 1905-15 May 1906
Box 19Folder 6
15 May-5 August 1906
Box 19Folder 7
5 August-28 December 1906
Box 19Folder 8
29 December 1906-26 January 1907
Box 19Folder 9
14 May 1907-16 March 1908

B. Financial records, 1889-1937

i. Alice Bache Gould account books, 1898-1901

Box 20Folder 1-6

ii. Alice Bache Gould estate papers, 1889-1906

Box 20Folder 7-17
Box 20Folder 18
Contract for book on Louis Agassiz, 15 January 1900
Box 20Folder 19

iii. Benjamin Apthorp Gould Memorial Fund, 1896-1918

Box 20Folder 20-30
Box 21Folder 1-9
Oversize Box
National Academy of Sciences citation, 1897(Oversize)

iv. Edmund Quincy Homestead, 1893-1937

Box 42Folder 23-26

C. Education, 1845-1937

i. Dr. Stern's German math manuscript, 1845

Vol. 2

ii. Student notebooks, 1881-1937

Box 21Folder 10-16
School notebooks
Box 21Folder 17-21
Math notebooks
Box 22Folder 1-7
Math notebooks
Box 22Folder 8
Astronomy notebook
Box 22Folder 9
Mechanics notebook
Box 22Folder 10
History notebook
Box 22Folder 11
Roman history notebook
Box 22Folder 12
Science laboratory notebook
Vol. 3
Student notebook, 1881-1882
Box 22Folder 13
Biology notebook, 1882-1883
Box 22Folder 14
School notebook, 1884-1885
Vol. 4
Math notebook, ca. 1885
Box 22Folder 15
Items removed from math notebook, ca. 1885
Box 22Folder 16
Math notebook, 1886
Vol. 5
Biology notebook, 1886-1887
Box 22Folder 17
English lecture notebook, 1886-1887
Vol. 6
Math notebook, 1886-1887
Box 23Folder 1-5
Bryn Mawr notebooks, 1887-1889
Box 23Folder 6-7
Newnham College notebooks, [1890-1893]
Box 23Folder 8-15
Math notebooks, 1891-1895
Vol. 7
Student notebook, 1894
Vol. 8
Math notebook, ca. 1895
Box 24Folder 1-2
Math notebooks, 1895-1896
Box 24Folder 3-12
University of Chicago math notebooks, 1896
Box 24Folder 13
Math notebook, 1897
Vol. 9
Math notebook, [1897]
Box 24Folder 14
Items removed from math notebook, Vol. 9, [1897]
Vol. 10
Math notebook, 1897
Box 25Folder 1-6
Math notebooks, 1902-1937

iii. School scrapbooks and diplomas, 1886-1892

Vol. 11
Bryn Mawr scrapbook, 1886-1892
Box 25Folder 7
Items removed from Bryn Mawr scrapbook, 1886-1892
Oversize Box
Bryn Mawr diploma, 1889(Oversize)
Oversize Box
University of London certificate, 1890(Oversize)

iv. Math notes and essays, 1891-1939

Box 25Folder 8-15
Box 25Folder 16
Box 25Folder 17
"History of Math"
Box 25Folder 18
"Electric Images and Inversion"
Box 25Folder 19
"Schroeter Cubes"
Box 25Folder 20-21
Box 25Folder 22
Lecture on tides, 1897
Box 25Folder 23-25

v. PhD thesis on Brodian geometry, 1985-1899

(Use this subseries with caution. Alice Bache Gould rolled her PhD thesis into scrolls and cut and pasted sections using pins. The scrolls have been cut into sheets but many of the pins are still in place.)

Box 26-28
Notes and drafts, 1895-1897
Box 29Folder 1
E. H. Moore evaluation of thesis, 1899
Box 29Folder 2-24
Notes and drafts, 1895-1897
Box 30
Typed draft, 1896-1897

D. Research and writing, 1899-1939

i. Great Circle Sailing, 1919-1922

Box 31-33
Great Circle Sailing draft, 1919-1922
Box 34-35
Great Circle Sailing card files, 1919-1922

ii. Lecture notes, n.d.

Box 36

iii. Research notes and essays, 1899-1939

Box 37Folder 1-11
Research notes and essays, 1899-1902
Box 37Folder 12-13
Louis Agassiz research, 1900
Box 37Folder 14
Jose Castillejo research, 1939
Box 37Folder 15
Christopher Columbus research
Box 37Folder 16-17
Puerto Rico research
Oversize Drawer
Geometrical drawings [manuscript](Oversize)

iv. Poetry, n.d.

Box 37Folder 18-22

E. Printed material, 1883-1938

Box 38
Loose printed material, 1883-1908
Box 39Folder 1-9
Loose printed material, 1908-1938
Box 39Folder 10
"The Lantern" Bryn Mawr, 1903
Oversize Box
The Astronomical Journal, 1901-1915(Oversize)
39Folder 11
Publication of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae
39Folder 12
El Sombrero de Tres Picos
39Folder 13
A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure Mathematics
39Folder 14-16
Clippings, 1893-1906
Oversize Box
Boston Society of Natural History membership, 18 Oct. 1901(Oversize)
Oversize Box
Acknowledgment of maps donated to Puerto Rico, 9 Aug. 1908(Oversize)

II. Benjamin Apthorp Gould family papers, 1809-1904

This series contains correspondence between Benjamin Apthorp Gould his parents, Benjamin Apthorp Gould and Lucretia Dana Goddard Gould, his aunt Hannah Flagg Gould, and his wife Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould; and correspondence between Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould and her parents Josiah Quincy and Mary Jane Miller Quincy. Also, diaries kept by Benjamin and Mary Gould. The correspondence and diaries discuss family life in Cordoba, Argentina and Cambridge, Mass. and include descriptions of the deaths of Benjamin and Mary's young daughters Susan and Lulu Gould in 1874. This series also includes Gould-Quincy family genealogical notes; and printed material.

A. Family correspondence, 1809-1904

Box 40
Family correspondence, 1809-1870
Box 41
Family correspondence, 1871-1882
Box 42Folder 1-8
Family correspondence, 1883-1904

B. Benjamin Apthorp Gould diaries and notebooks, 1834-1878

Box 42Folder 9
Benjamin Apthorp Gould diary, 1834
Box 43Folder 1
Benjamin Apthorp Gould diary, 1883
Box 42Folder 10
Benjamin Apthorp Gould diary, 1 January-9 March 1885
Box 43Folder 2
Benjamin Apthorp Gould diary, [1896]
Box 43Folder 3
Benjamin Apthorp Gould address book, [1845]
Box 43Folder 4
Benjamin Apthorp Gould address book, [1878]
Box 43Folder 5
Benjamin Apthorp Gould math formulas

C. Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould diaries, 1858-1883

Box 43Folder 6
Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould diary, 1858
Box 43Folder 7-9
Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould diaries, 1860-1862
Box 44Folder 1-5
Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould diaries, 1863-1866
Box 44Folder 6
Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould diary, 1868
Box 44Folder 7-8
Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould diaries, 1874-1875
Box 45Folder 1-3
Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould diaries, 1876-1878
Box 45Folder 4-7
Mary Apthorp Quincy Gould diaries, 1880-1883

D. Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy Waterston poetry, 1840-1881

Box 42Folder 11-13
Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy Waterston poetry, 1840-1881

E. Gould-Quincy family genealogy

Box 42Folder 14
Benjamin Apthorp Gould biography
Box 42Folder 15
Hannah Flagg Gould biography
Box 42Folder 16-17
Goddard family genealogy
Box 42Folder 18-20
Gould family genealogy
Box 42Folder 21
Quincy family genealogy
Box 42Folder 22
List of family silhouettes
Oversize Box
Gould family Herald charcoal rubbings(Oversize)

E. Printed material, 1835-1900

Box 46

Photographs Removed from the Collection

Photographs from this collection have been removed to the Alice Bache Gould photographs, ca. 1850-1997. Photo. Coll. 166.

Preferred Citation

Alice Bache Gould papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Gould, Benjamin Apthorp, 1824-1896
Gould, Mary Apthorp Quincy, 1834-1883
Hoyt, Mary E.
Quincy, Josiah, 1802-1882
Thomas, M. Carey (Martha Carey), 1857-1935
Gould family
Quincy family


Women authors
Women mathematicians
Women teachers
Women travelers