Keith, Thomas (DNB00)

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KEITH, THOMAS (1759–1824), mathematical writer and teacher, son of Thomas Keith, labourer, and Elizabeth his wife, was baptised at Brandesburton, near Beverley, 22 Sept. 1759. His father died soon after his birth, and Keith spent some years as a private tutor. In 1781 he came to London, and gained his livelihood as a teacher of mathematics and wrote mathematical books. He did other hack-work, such as editing Paterson's ‘Road-book,’ but he became known to persons of influence, and in 1804 was appointed secretary to the master of his majesty's household. In 1810 he was made professor of geography to the Princess Charlotte of Wales, and he also taught the Princess Sophia Matilda. By the patronage of Charles Abbot, afterwards first Lord Colchester [q. v.], he was appointed in 1814 accountant to the British Museum. Keith died on 29 June 1824, at 1 York Buildings, New Road, Marylebone.

Keith's chief works, all published in London, are: 1. ‘A Short and Easy Introduction to the Science of Geography,’ 1787. 2. ‘The Complete Practical Arithmetician,’ 1788; 12th edit. 1838. 3. ‘The New Schoolmaster's Assistant,’ 1796. 4. ‘Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Plane and Spherical Trigonometry,’ 1801. 5. ‘Treatise on the Use of the Globes,’ 1804. 6. ‘The Elements of Plane Geometry,’ 1814.

[Gent. Mag. 1824, ii. 279; information kindly furnished by the Rev. W. H. V. Baker; De Morgan's Arithmetical Books, pp. 73, 97; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors.]

W. A. J. A.