Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > History of Science, Mathematics, Technology > 162. Astrolabe

162.  Astrolabe. Italy, signed by Bernard Sabeus, 1558. RBML, Smith Instruments

This western astrolabe was made by Bernard Sabeus or Zabeus, who worked in Padua during the years 1552-59. It came to Columbia with the mathematical instruments and books collected by David Eugene Smith. Smith was professor of mathematics at Teachers College from 1901 until his death in 1944, serving as Teachers College librarian from 1902 until 1920. When he began giving his collection to the Columbia University Libraries in 1931, it included 12,000 printed books on the history of mathematics, ranging from the 15th through the 20th century. It also included 35 boxes of historical documents relating to mathematics; 140 boxes of his own professional papers; 350 volumes of western European manuscripts dating from the 15th to the early 20th century; 670 volumes of Oriental (primarily Arabic and Persian) manuscripts dating from the 8th to the early 20th century; 88 volumes of Chinese and 363 volumes of Japanese block-print books; 3,000 prints portraits of mathematicians; and some 300 mathematical instruments and related objects.

Gift of David Eugene Smith, 1931

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