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Philander N. Cowan Notebook

An inventory of the item at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Cowan, Philander N.
Title: Philander N. Cowan Notebook
Inclusive Dates: circa 1828-1829
Quantity: 1 volume, 224 pages (SC)
Abstract: Workbook used by the young Cowan of Oswego, New York, to practice mathematical exercises; also contains miscellaneous personal financial data.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Philander N. Cowan (1811-?) was an American businessman who lived in Oswego, New York.

He was born in 1811 in Hancock, Massachusetts. His mother died when he was 8 years old and he was put to work for a church deacon. The deacon was cruel, making Cowan sleep in the attic where the bed was often covered with snow that had fallen through holes in the roof. Cowan worked hard to teach himself and eventually became a fine businessman and gentleman. He would go on to become a "pillar" of the West Baptist Church in Oswego, New York.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Philander N. Cowan Notebook consists of 224 pages of closely written mathematical work, from simple addition to more complicated business work. In the back he has recorded examples of the following legal forms: obligatory bond, bill of sale, short will, lease of a house, payable note, inland bill of exchange, receipts, checks, and lastly, an "Ode to Content":

  • Oh, thou, The Nymph with placid eye
  • O seldom found, yet ever nigh
  • Receive my temperate vow
  • Not all the storms that shake the pole
  • Can ever disturb they halcyon soul and smooth unaltered brow
  • O come, in simple vest array'd
  • With all they sober cheer display'd
  • To bless my longing sight.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Cowan, Philander N.


Mathematics -- Study and teaching.

Genres and Forms


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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Philander N. Cowan Philander Notebook
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Charles H. Kal, 1970.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: --
Date: 1970?
Revision history: 17 Sep 2008 - converted to EAD (LDC)

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SC 61 Notebook circa 1828-1829 (1 volume, 224 pages)

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