H Petard wedding invitation

surprise email exchange

Before these archives were linked to the outside world and while their editing was in progress, the following email exchange took place, surprising the web editor. No response to his reply came.

Subject: Re: Bourbaki [Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s]
Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 11:35:08 -0400
From: Robert Jantzen <robert.jantzen@villanova.edu>
To: "books@plurabelle.co.uk" <books@plurabelle.co.uk>

how did you ever find this obscure reference on my website?

I am voluntarily converting these 600 plus pages of oral histories to
web form and it is a thankless job which I am doing to make them
available to the whole world. [actually this very moment! in progress as
we speak]

but I am not a collector and will not be able to pay 120 pounds for this
document you refer to.

the story is certainly a funny one.

if you wish, I could include a scan of your doucment with a link to you
for someone who might be interested in purchasing.


mcahn wrote:

> Subject: Bourbaki
> Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 10:22:26 +0100
> From: mcahn <books@plurabelle.co.uk>
> Dear Madam, Sir:
> I can offer the following rare Bourbaki item:
> single sheet, 28 x 22 cm, printed on stiff card, folded once (like an
> invitation), 4 holes from pinpricks in margin, back sl soiled, some
> browning towards margin.
> Contains the text of an imaginary wedding invitation (Nicolas Bourbaki
> anounces the marriage of daughter Betti to Hector Petard, son of Monsier
> Ersatz Stanisas Pondiczery) The ceremony is referred to as isomorphisme
> trivial, text is full of riddles and jokes, many mathematical, it reads
> almost like a page from Finegans Wake
> text in french
> date of marriage is "3 Cartembre an vi, "
> date of document approx 1930
> Interesting and curious document from the margins of mathematics, the
> playfulness of scientific anonymity, the sometimes infantile humour of
> hard sciences
> Price is 120 GBPounds
> in an interview about Princeton mathematics in the thirties, John Tukey
> refers to this item "...It was a formal wedding invitation with a long
> Latin sentence, most of which was mathematical jokes..." However, I cannot
> find any Latin in my copy, but the French is certainly a bit odd.
> (http://www34.homepage.villanova.edu/robert.jantzen/princeton_math/pmc41
> .htm)
> Plurabelle Books
> 77 Garden Walk
> Cambridge CB4 3EW, UK
> tel/fax +44 1223 571105
> books@plurabelle.co.uk
> www.plurabelle.co.uk
> Against genetically modified books (etc)

The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s