Ada: The Enchantress of Numbers

by Betty Alexandra Toole, Ed.D.

General Information

Distributed by:
Critical Connection
P.O. Box 452
Sausalito, CA 94966

Published by Strawberry Press

Enchantress of Numbers Prophet of the Computer Age Prophet of the Computer Age
Hardback Edition (1992)
6.25" x 9.25", 456 pages, 80 illustrations
ISBN 0-912647-09-4

Revised Paperback Edition (1998)
5" x 8", 324 pages, 4 illustrations
ISBN 0-912647-18-3

Poster (1993)
28" x 24"

Ada on the limits of computing:
"The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform. It can follow analysis; but it has no power of anticipating any analytical relations or truths."

How to Order

$29.95, including shipping, directly from distributor
Or order here from, for $29.00 plus shipping.

Revised Paperback
$14, including shipping, directly from distributor
Or order here from, for $14 plus shipping.
Also available at Borders,,, and
In the UK, order from the Newstead Abbey Book Shop, 0115 915 3940 voice, 01159153941 fax.

or order signed copies by emailing

3 posters are available for $20 including postage
Send check to Critical Connection
P.O. Box 452 Sausalito,Ca 94966
Ada on computer music:
"Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent."

Table of Contents

Family Tree
Cast of Characters
1. Cats and Flying Machines [1824-1828]
2. Conversational Litigation, I Am an Altered Person, Ada Meets Babbage, The Rainbow [1829-1834]
3. Make It Part of Your Mind, Solving Unsolvable Equations, The Royal Road to Mathematics [1834-1835]
4. Love and Marriage, Establishing Three Households, The Birth of Byron [1835-1836]
5. Two More Children, Ada Becomes a Countess, Gift of Tongues [1836-1839]
6. A Peculiar Way of Learning, Immeasurable Vista, Solitaire, The Great Unknown [1839-1841]
7. In Due Time I Shall Be a Poet, A Scientific Trinity, A Most Strange and Dreadful History [1841]
8. I Have a Duty to Perform, Avis-Phoenix, Will-o'-the-Wisps [1841]
9. Scorn and Fury, Poetical Genius, Not Dropping the Thread of Mathematics, A Nice Colony of Friends [1842]
10. Working Like the Devil, A Fairy in Your Service, What a General I Would Make, An Analyst and a Metaphysician [1843]
11. Multitudinous Charlatans and the Enchantress of Numbers [1843]
12. The Analyst and the Metaphysician, and the Analytical Engine: A Selection from Ada's Notes [1843]
13. Fairy Guidance, My Metaphysical Child, Caged Bird [1843-1844]
14. Planetary Systems, Not a Snail-Shell But a Molecular Laboratory, A Newton for the Molecular Universe [1844]
15. A Calculus of the Nervous System, A Hospitable Chaos, The Traitor, Too Much Mathematics [1844]
16. Vestiges, Obedient with Safety, Poetical Science [1845-1846]
17. A Transition State [1846-1850]
18. Descending into the Grave, Resurrection, Be a Gypsy, Doomsday [1850-1851]
19. Catch a Comet, Not 5 in My Purse, Give the Despots a Shove [1851]
20. The Dragon and the Rainbow [1851-1852]
Appendix I-Footnotes, Bibliographies, Biographies, including Web addresses
Appendix II: Critical Questions along the Pathway to the 21st Century

Ada on the enchanted loom:
"We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard-loom weaves flowers and leaves."

About the Author

Dr. Betty Alexandra Toole received her Bachelor and Doctorate in Education degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. While obtaining her doctorate, she worked full-time to support the development of a key innovation in silicon wafer fabrication and was co-owner of San Jose-based GaSonics International. She now works as a consultant and an adjunct professor of Computer Science. She lives in California, when not in England, and likes to be with her four grandchildren: Jordan, Rachel, Alec and Jenifer. Betty is an avid tournament SCRABBLE® player.

Articles & Contributions

E.E. Kim and B. A. Toole, "Ada and the First Computer," Scientific American, May, 1999 (Vol. 280 No. 5), pp. 66-71. (translated into German in Spectrum, July 1999; translated into French in Pour La Science, July 1999).

B.A. Toole, "Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, An Analyst and Metaphysician," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Fall 1996 (Vol. 18, No. 3), pp. 4-12.

B.A. Toole, "Lady Lovelace, The Enchantress of Numbers", in The Happy Mutant Handbook, M. Frauenfelder, C. Sinclair, G. Branwyn, and W. Kreth, Eds., New York: Riverhead Books, 1995.

B.A. Toole, "Poetical Science," Byron Journal, 1987.

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