John Venn

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For other people named John Venn, see John Venn (disambiguation).
John Venn
John Venn.jpg
Born (1834-08-04)4 August 1834
Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England
Died 4 April 1923(1923-04-04) (aged 88)
Cambridge, England
Nationality English
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of Cambridge
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society

John Venn FRS[2][3] (4 August 1834 – 4 April 1923), was a British logician and philosopher. He is famous for introducing the Venn diagram, which is used in many fields, including set theory, probability, logic, statistics, and computer science.

Signature of John Venn.
The Venn Building, University of Hull.
Stained glass window at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, commemorating Venn and the Venn diagram.


John Venn was born on 4 August 1834 in Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire to Martha Sykes and Rev. Henry Venn, who was the rector of parish of Drypool. His mother died when he was three years old.[4] Venn descended from a long line of church evangelicals, including his grandfather John Venn.[5] He would follow his family lineage and become an Anglican priest, ordained in 1859, serving first at the church in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and later in Mortlake, Surrey.[6]

He was educated by private tutors until 1853 where he went to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.[7] In 1857, he got his degree in mathematics and became a fellow. In 1862, he returned to Cambridge University as a lecturer in moral science, studying and teaching logic and probability theory.[5]

In 1868, he married Susanna Carnegie Edmonstone with whom he had one son, John Archibald Venn.[4]

In 1883, he resigned from the clergy having concluded that Anglicanism was incompatible with his philosophical beliefs.[8] In the same year, Venn was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and in the same year was awarded a Sc.D. by Cambridge.[5]

He died on 4 April 1923. His death is unspecified.[6]


Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Venn, J. (1880). "I.On the diagrammatic and mechanical representation of propositions and reasonings". Philosophical Magazine Series 5 10 (59): 1–0. doi:10.1080/14786448008626877.  edit
  2. ^ Anon (1926). "Obituary Notices of Fellows Deceased: Rudolph Messel, Frederick Thomas Trouton, John Venn, John Young Buchanan, Oliver Heaviside, Andrew Gray". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 110 (756): i–v. doi:10.1098/rspa.1926.0036.  edit
  3. ^ John D. Pickles, (2004). Venn, John Archibald (1883–1958)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/40972.  edit
  4. ^ a b John Venn - Mathematician Biography, Facts and Pictures
  5. ^ a b c Venn biography
  6. ^ a b John Venn
  7. ^ John Venn (English logician and philosopher) - Encyclopedia Britannica
  8. ^

External links[edit]