Price, Bartholomew (DNB01)

PRICE, BARTHOLOMEW (1818–1898), master of Pembroke College, Oxford, born in 1818 at Coin St. Dennis in Gloucestershire, was the second son of William Price (d. 13 April 1860), rector of Farnborough in Berkshire and of Coin St. Dennis. He was educated privately, and matriculated as a scholar from Pembroke College, Oxford, on 16 March 1837. He graduated B.A. in 1840, obtaining a first class in mathematics, and M.A. in 1843. In 1842 he gained the senior university mathematical scholarship, and two years later was elected a fellow of Pembroke. In 1845 he became tutor and mathematical lecturer, and in 1847–8 and 1853–5 he acted as a public examiner. In 1858 he was proctor.

In 1848 Price published his first mathematical work, 'A Treatise on the Differential Calculus' (London, 8vo), and he then began to prepare his great undertaking, the 'Treatise on Infinitesimal Calculus,' which included differential and integral calculus, calculus of variations, applications to algebra and geometry, and analytical mechanics (Oxford, 8vo). It was completed in four volumes, the first appearing in 1852 and the last in 1860. A second edition was commenced in 1857, before the completion of the first, and was completed in 1889. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on 3 June 1852 and of the Royal Astronomical Society on 13 June 1856.

In 1853 Price was chosen Sedleian professor of natural philosophy at Oxford, a chair which he retained until June 1898. In 1855 he became a member of the hebdomadal council, and in 1868 he was made an honorary fellow of Queen's College and secretary to the delegates of the university press. At that time he was doing a very large part of the mathematical teaching in the university, but his success in his new position was so great that he became gradually absorbed in its duties. He showed great financial ability in directing the affairs of the press, and increased its business and income enormously before resigning the secretaryship in 1884. As time went on the affairs of the university passed more and more into his hand, and he became a member of nearly every board or council of importance connected with it. When the university observatory was founded in 1874 he was put on the board of visitors, and in 1878 he was one of a committee of three appointed to consider its outstanding requirements. He was also one of the six representatives of the Royal Society on the board of visitors to the royal observatory at Greenwich. In 1891 he was elected master of Pembroke College by the appointment of Lord Salisbury, the votes of the fellows being equally divided: Lord Salisbury, as chancellor of the university, was visitor of the college. He died in Pembroke College on 29 Dec. 1898 and was buried on 3 Jan. 1899 in Holy well cemetery. He was married at Littleham in Devonshire on 20 Aug. 1857 to Amy Eliza, eldest daughter of William Cole of Highfield, Exmouth. This lady and several sons and daughters survive him.

[Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Soc. 1899, lix. 228-9; Men and Women of the Time, 1895; Times, 30 Dec. 1898; Oxf. Univ. Mag. 25 Jan. 1899; Royal Society's Yearbook. 1900, pp. 185-9.]

E. I. C.