Mathematician. James Wood was born in 1760 in Bury, Lancashire. His father ran evening classes where Wood learnt the rudiments of mathematics. He then attended Bury Grammar School, where he won an endowed exhibition to St John's College. He entered the College in 1778, graduated BA in 1782, as Senior Wrangler and first Smith's Prizeman, and was elected to a Fellowship. Wood was a College tutor from 1789 to 1814, and during this time he published his 'Principles of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy', a four-volume work intended to prepare students for the Tripos. Each volume ran through several editions, with 'The Elements of Algebra' being reprinted in its last edition in 1861. Wood was ordained deacon in 1785 and priest in 1787, and was appointed Dean of Ely in 1820. He served as President of St John's from 1802 to 1815, and as Master from 1815 until his death in 1839. A considerable benefactor to the College during his lifetime, Wood left his library to the College upon his death.
Manuscript notebooks in various hands on mathematics, astronomy, moral and natural philosophy, theology and classics, with some printed items.