Fonds TaylorB - Papers of Brook Taylor

Identity area

Reference code


Unique identifier

GB 275 TaylorB


Papers of Brook Taylor


  • 1701–1981 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

2 boxes paper

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Taylor was born in Edmonton, Middlesex. His father was a merchant and Taylor was tutored at home, becoming an accomplished musician and artist. In 1701, he was admitted as a fellow-commoner to St John's. Here he studied law, mathematics and physics, taking the degrees of LLB in 1709 and LLD in 1714. Elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1712, Taylor was chosen to serve on the committee adjudicating the controversy between Newton and Leibniz over calculus. In 1715, Taylor was elected secretary of the Royal Society and published two books, 'Linear Perspective' and 'Methodus incrementorum directa et inversa'. Taylor was a friend of John Keill, Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, and of the French probabilist Pierre Rémond de Montmort. He was involved in a bitter public dispute with Bernouilli, who accused him of plagiarism in his 'Methodus'. Taylor was twice married and in 1729 inherited the family estate of Bifrons, near Canterbury.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented to St John's College in 1908 by Ernest Taylor ('The Eagle' XXX (1909), 105). The material came to the library with other papers of Sir Robert Forsyth Scott (1849-1933), Master 1908-33.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Includes notebooks, musical papers, mathematical notes, printed ephemera, and correspondence.

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Language of material

  • English
  • Latin
  • French

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Notes area


Preferred citation: St John's College Library, Papers of Brook Taylor

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Former reference


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Dates of creation revision deletion

28 May 2009




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