At the start of the festive period, I had the best of intentions to post a festive blog post for every day of advent. Alas, there isn’t much mention of Christmas in Thomson’s papers – even his family photo albums are a decidedly festive free zone! However, having three working days left until we break up for the festive period, I thought I would share (you’ve guessed it!) three festive items from the collection…
1) Christmas card to Thomson from his students…
Quite possibly the best Christmas card I’ve ever come across – spelling ‘Christmas’ in mathematical terms. Genius! And if that wasn’t zany enough, there is a wonderfully nebulous poem on the inside!
In all seriousness, this is one of my favourite items in the collection – it is signed by 13 of Thomson’s students, who were obviously very fond of him, and I bet the master of Factorial Analysis loved it!
2) Christmas card from Andromache
Andromache was the wife of Thomson’s son, Hector. Hector was a classicist, so the mythical love story of Hector and Andromache would have been one familiar to him. She is a frequent character in the collection, and is mentioned throughout Thomson’s correspondence by friends and family – Thomson and Lady Thomson appear to have been particularly fond of her. The card depicts her native Cyprus.
3) A Christmas gift from Lady Thomson:
The gift is a thoughtful one – Thomson was brought up near Newcastle, and the sights in this book would have been familiar to him. The book has clearly been well loved and frequently referred to, and has some beautiful images of Newcastle.
With that, I’d like to wish you all a lovely Christmas and a productive New Year!
If anyone recognises their signature or that of anyone else’s on the card, do please get in touch (Emma.Anthony@ed.ac.uk)