Everest Boole, Mary

Mary Everest Boole (1832-1916)      

Mary Everest Boole was born in Gloucestershire in 1832 where her father was a minister.  She spent her early years in Poissy, France where she had a private tutor.  On moving back to England at age eleven she helped her father with his work and was largely self-taught.  She was introduced to George Boole through an uncle and he began to tutor her in mathematics. They married and moved to Cork where George was appointed Professor of Mathematics at Queen’s College (now UCC).  During nine years of marriage they had five children and then George died of pneumonia. 

After her husband’s death Mary moved back to England.  She first worked as a librarian at Queen’s College, Harley Street in London and became an unofficial tutor to the students.  From the age of fifty, Mary started writing books and articles including Logic Taught by Love in 1889, The Preparation of the Child for Science in 1904 and in 1909, Philosophy and Fun of Algebra.  Her collected writings were published in 1931 and run to four volumes.

Mary Boole regarded herself as an educational psychologist and to understand how children learn mathematics and science using the reasoning part of their mind, their physical bodies and their unconscious processes.  She espoused the use of the reflective journal and cooperative learning where students could share their ideas with one another in an environment of peer tutoring.

Mary Boole died in 1916 at the age of 84.

Further Reading:

Perl, Teri.  1993.  Women and Numbers.  Wide World Publishing, p. 45-56.

Mulvihill, Mary (ed.).   2009.  Lab coats and Lace, Women in Technology and Science.

MacHale, D.  2014.  The Life and work of George Boole:  A Prelude to the Digital Age. Cork University Press.


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