The Papers of George Boole, F.R.S. (1815-1864)

Repository: UCC Library Archives Service

Identity Statement

TitleThe Papers of George Boole, F.R.S. (1815-1864)
Archive ReferenceIE BL/1
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1832-1962
Extent Medium3 boxes


Creator(s): Maryann Boole

  • Administrative History ↴

    The George Boole Papers (UC/BP/1) consist mainly of personal letters to and from Boole which were collected by his sister Maryann, who had hoped one day to publish a biography of her famous brother. This archive offers us insights into the life of George Boole from the period immediately prior to his arrival in Cork in 1849, until his death in 1864. George Boole (2 November 1815 – 8 December 1864) was an English mathematician and philosopher, most recognized as the inventor of Boolean Logic, which is the basis of modern digital computer logic. He was awarded the first Royal Medal in mathematics for his 1844 On a General Method in Analysis, published in the Transactions of the Royal Society, and was in 1849 appointed first Professor of Mathematics at the Queen's College in Cork (now University College Cork). Born in 1815 to Mary Ann Joyce (1780-1854) and John Boole (1777-1848) in Lincoln, England, Boole was the son of parents of modest means. He had 3 siblings Maryann (1818 –1887), Charles (1819 –1888) and William (1821 –1902). His father, a cobbler by trade, had an abiding love of science, literature and mathematics much to the detraction, and ultimate collapse, of his business affairs. George Boole being a deeply religious man had intended as a young man to enter the Ministry but was forced owing to his family's circumstances to teaching, working in Doncaster, Waddington and Liverpool before establishing his own school in Lincoln at age 19. Boole's father died in December 1848 before the decision had been made concerning the Irish chairs but an announcement came in August 1849 that Boole was to become the first Professor of Mathematics at Queen's College, Cork, and he took up the position in November. He taught at the University for the rest of his life, gaining a reputation as an outstanding and dedicated teacher. In 1855 he married Mary Ann Everest and they had 5 children, all daughters Mary Ellen (b. 1856), Margaret (b. 1858), Alice (b. 1860, Lucy (b. 1862) and Ethel (b.1864). On 8 December 1864 Boole died prematurely at his home in Ballintemple, Co. Cork aged only 49. Hhe died of an attack of fever, ending in effusion on the lungs. He is buried in Blackrock, a suburb of Cork.
  • Archival History ↴

    They were purchased by University College Cork in 1983.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Maryann Boole ↴

    This collection consists mainly of personal letters to and from Boole, but not any actual correspondence as only few of the replies to Boole’s letters have survived. The papers now in U.C.C. were mainly gathered by Boole’s sister Maryann Boole, in order to write a biography of her brother [see IE BP/1/306], in that biography she concentrated more on Boole’s personal and family life rather than his academic career.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    When the Boole papers arrived at U.C.C. the original order of the papers had been largely upset. A new arrangement has now been imposed upon the collection. The collection has been divided into four main sections, each section containing material similar in nature and content.

    Section 1, Letters of George Boole, is composed mainly of letters and is subdivided into five subsections: A. Letters of …..

    Section 2, Material Relating to George Boole’s Family is devoted to material relating to Boole’s wife Mary Everest and their five daughters.

    Section 3, Photographs contains photographs both original and copies of Boole, and of his wife, children and grandchildren.

    Section 4, Associated Documents consists of documentation found amongst the Boole papers, but which have little or no direct connection with Boole.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Available by appointment with the Archives Service to holders of UCC Readers tickets.
Conditions Governing ReproductionBy application to the Archivist only.
Creation Dates1832-1962
Extent Medium3 boxes
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials


NoteThis collection has been digitised and is available online. Please check the repository home page for further information.

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteCarol Quinn
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. IGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description. Dublin: Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009.
Date of Descriptions1990, Revised 2011