Sarton's dedication of Osiris to D E Smith

George Sarton wrote the dedication of Volume 1 (1936) of the journal Osiris to David Eugene Smith. We produce a version of this dedication below.


Dedication to
David Eugene Smith
Ph.D., LL.D., Sc.D.
Professor Emeritus in Teachers College,
Columbia University.
Historian of Mathematics.
Founder of the History of Science Society.
Member of the International Academy of the History of Science.

Dear Dr Smith,

It is my fondest privilege as editor of this Volume to present it to you, in the name of the associate editors, and of thirty-six distinguished contributors: your colleagues, friends, and admirers, and many of them, your disciples.

The occasion of this Presentation is your seventy-sixth birthday which we all hope will be followed by a good many others as happy as this one.

The cause of this Presentation is your own wonderful activity extending over almost half a century.

Our purpose is to honour you as a teacher, author, editor, collector, organizer, Maecenas and friend - all of those diverse activities being centred upon the study of the History of Mathematics.

You have been one of the first teachers of the subject in America, and from the very beginning you took that teaching in very deep earnest. It was not for you an empty and frivolous "side-show" On the contrary, you gave to it at once and continued to give to it a good deal of your energy and enthusiasm, and gradually almost everything you did was directly or indirectly concerned with those studies. For example, you have travelled all over the world, visited every continent, the main nations of East and West, almost every centre of culture in the world, but wherever you went you remained first of all the Historian of Mathematics, and you never came hack empty-handed. Your library contains memorials - in the form of books, manuscripts and instruments - of every one of your journeys.

You have written a large number of papers and textbooks devoted to our studies, textbooks which are to-day among the main tools for the teaching of the History of Mathematics in the English-speaking world and even outside of it. The bibliography of these writings, printed below, speaks for itself.

In 1923, you started a movement which led to the creation on January 12, 1924 of the 'History of Science Society', which has become by far the largest and the most important society of its kind in the world. Though a majority of its members are Americans, other members may he found in every civilised country. It is not too much to say that almost every scholar who is genuinely interested in the history of science is a member of that Society, which you created, and in addition to those individual scholars the main Libraries of the world are registered on its rolls.

Finally, in 1931, you presented to Columbia University the unique collection of books, manuscripts, medals, and instruments, illustrating the History of Mathematics to the building of which you had devoted forty years of your life. Thus your beneficent activities will continue forever, for the David Eugene Smith Library will remain a centre of information and of research the very presence of which will forward our beloved studies and stimulate the scholars of today - young or old - and those of to-morrow and forever afterward to make new efforts.

The great value of your Library and collection is proved in this very volume, for many contributions were prepared in its welcoming rooms, and other contributors obtained from it some of their best material.

In the name of every contributor to this Volume, I have the honour, dear Dr Smith, to present it to you, together with our best wishes, and the testimony of our admiration, gratitude and love.

George Sarton.
Harvard Library, 185.
August 5, 1935.


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JOC/EFR April 2015

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