Neville, E. H. (mathematician) – Library

Reference: NEVILLE COLLECTIONDate: c. 1620-1972Extent: c. 711 volumes
spines of books on shelf
The Neville Collection includes several different editions of Isaac Newton’s ‘Principia’ NEVILLE COLLECTION-531-NEW

Eric Harold Neville, or E. H. Neville (1889-1961), was¬†born in London on the 1st of January 1889. He was educated at William Ellis School in Highgate and matriculated at Trinity College Cambridge in 1907. He¬†received¬†his BSc. in 1909 –¬†the final year in which Cambridge publicly announced the Mathematical¬†Tripos¬†grades – graduating as “second wrangler”.¬†In¬†1911¬†he¬†was¬†successfully examined by Bertrand Russel for a Fellowship.¬†

In 1914, he travelled to Madras, India where he delivered a number of mathematical lectures. Part of this journey was given over to persuading Srinivasa Ramanujan to travel to Trinity College, where Ramanujan worked for five years. Neville remained in Cambridge until 1918, at which point he was forced to leave due to his status as a conscientious objector to the First World War.  

A year later, Neville became the Chair of Mathematics at University College, Reading. He was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Reading until his retirement in 1954, living with his wife Alice (née Farnfield) on Castle Hill. Here, the couple were known for their annual student parties. Besides his teaching and research at Reading, he was the Librarian of the Mathematical Association from 1923 to 1954. 

Neville passed away on the 22nd of August 1961, five years after his wife’s death in 1956. 

The collection includes c. 200 mathematical works published before 1851. Also included are c. 500 volumes of material published after 1850, including many published works by Neville and his contemporaries. In his own works, Neville wrote on moving axes, the foundations of analytical geometry, Jacobean elliptical functions and the fourth dimension. He was also the compiler of two volumes of Royal Society Tables.  

Neville read Latin, German and French, which is reflected in the books in the collection. There are also a small number of publications written in Italian, Dutch and Spanish. 

Information about E. H. Neville’s life and work comes from the following source: 

  • Obituary¬†written by¬†W. J. Langford and R. L. Goodstein (colleagues)¬†May 1964¬†


  • The books are fully catalogued and searchable on the¬†online catalogue.
  • See¬†also¬†Henley Parish Library¬†and Reserve Rare Books Collection¬†which include mathematical works¬†of¬†a¬†similar¬†period.¬†
  • Highlighted items include second (1713) and third (1726) editions of Isaac Newton’s Philisophi√¶ naturalis principia mathematica NEVILLE COLLECTION–531-NEW¬†