Treatise on Arabic Numerals

Scope and Content

A bundle of papers comprising an unfinished treatise on arabic numerals, including research notes and extracts from various sources. The full Latin title is given as De Origine Siphrarum seu Characterum Numeralium Indicorum quos arabicos dicit vulgus Dissertatiuncula auctore Guillelmo Henrico Nigro.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Henry Black (1808-1872) was an antiquarian who worked at the Public Records Office, attaining before his death the position of assistant keeper. He was a prolific writer, especially on antiquarian subjects, and was well aquainted with many of the literary men of his day. He converted to the Seventh Day Baptists in 1837 and was ordained a minister of that church in 1843, serving as the pastor of the Mill Yard Chapel in London until his death in 1872.

Source: Bernard Nurse, 'Black, William Henry (1808-1872)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Conditions Governing Access

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, with reference to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on William Henry Black.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 35).

Custodial History

Formerly part of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, the Library of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres, from Haigh Hall, Wigan, Lancashire.