Diary of John Adams, volume 3

John Adams' Arithmetic Book facing page 289[unavailable]

Titlepage of John Adams' copy of Edward Cocker's Decimal Arithmetick, 3d edition, London, 1703. This volume remains among his books in the Boston Public Library. “My School master neglected to put me into Arithmetick longer than I thought was right, and I resented it,” Adams remembered in his Autobiography (p. 258). “I procured me Cockers I believe and applyd myself to it at home alone and went through the whole Course, overtook and passed by all the Schollars at School, without any master. I dared not ask my fathers Assistance because he would have disliked my Inattention to my Latin.” Cocker's Arithmetick was published posthumously by John Hawkins in 1678 and attained a record of approximately a hundred English editions in the following century. Though often imported, the work appears never to have had an American printing. See Louis C. Karpinski, Bibliography of Mathematical Works Printed in America through 1850, Ann Arbor, 1940, p. 4–5.

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.