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Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Department of Mathematics



Mathematics at Northwestern University has been taught since the University itself first offered classes. One of the University's three original faculty members appointed in 1854 was Henry S. Noyes, professor of mathematics. Noyes held major responsibility for mathematics instruction at Northwestern until 1871 when Julius F. Kellogg took over the department chairmanship. Kellogg held this position until his death in 1894. During the University's early years, the mathematics curriculum centered on algebra, plane and spherical trigonometry, the beginnings of analytical geometry and differential and integral calculus. Until the appointment of George Washington Hough in 1888 and, later, the completion of Dearborn Observatory, coursework in astronomy also had been offered through the department. In 1894, the first advanced courses designed primarily for graduate students were offered. Notable early faculty members include Eliakim Bastings Moore and Henry S. White, who served as department chairman from 1894 to 1905.

Later departmental heads include: David R. Curtiss (1905-1935), E.J. Moulton (1935-1943), H.T. Davis (1948-1955), and Ralph P. Boas, Jr. (1955-1972). Boas, a noted researcher in mathematical functions and analysis, served as executive editor of Mathematical Reviews for a number of years and was as well editor of the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications. During his tenure the department participated in a general expansion of academic research in mathematics. In 1955 there were fourteen members of Northwestern's mathematics faculty, by 1972 this number had grown to more than forty.

In 1972 the departmental chairmanship became a rotating position with a term of three years. Since 1972, there have been five chairmen, Mark Mahowald (1972-1975), Daniel Zelinsky (1975-1978), Meyer Dwass (1978-1981), Donald G. Saari (1981-1984), and R. Clark Robinson (1984-1987).

Furthern information regarding the department's history may be found in: Thomas F. Holgate, A History of the Department of Mathematics, Northwestern University, 1955-1905 (1941).

Found in 9 Collections and/or Records:

Helen M. Clark (1908-1974) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/19/7

The papers of Helen M. Clark (professor of mathematics at Northwestern University) fill four boxes including one half-size box, and date between 1958 and 1972. The papers are divided into: a biographical file, correspondence, and teaching files.

Dates: 1958-1973

College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematics Departmental Files

Identifier: 11/3/19/2
Abstract This series consists of the general files of the Mathematics Department for the period 1913-1955 with the bulk of the records falling between 1936 and 1946. The files are arranged in eleven major subject categories as follows: Correspondence of Departmental Chairman, Sundry Applications and other records pertaining to the availability of jobs, Files pertaining to the departmental Budget, Files of Class “Notes”. These files are primarily administrative in nature and give some insight to the...
Dates: 1936 - 1946

Harold T. Davis (1892-1974) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/19/8

Harold T. Davis was appointed professor of mathematics at Northwestern University in 1937; he became Chairman of the Department in 1940, and retired in 1955. His papers fill three archival boxes and span the period between 1924 and 1974. They consist of three folders of biographical material, five folders of articles by Davis, three bound volumes of mathematical papers by Davis and six bound volumes of tables of higher mathematical functions compiled by Davis.

Dates: 1924-1974

Department of Mathematics Personnel Files

Identifier: 11/3/19/3

The Mathematics Department personnel files include correspondence, a few reprints, and brief biographical data on teaching assistants, prospective teaching assistants, and a few faculty members. The bulk of the files span from the mid 1950's to the mid 1960's, although a few date from as early as the 1920's. The amount of material in each person's folder varies widely.

Dates: 1920 - 1970; Other: Majority of material found within 1950 - 1960

Department of Mathematics Reports, #1-113

Identifier: 11/3/19/4
Abstract This series consists of Reports of the Department of Mathematics. The reports are publications of continued research performed by Northwestern University professors under National Science Foundation grants. These grants allow professors to continue their research, with the stipulation that results are made public. This series, then, provides a forum for the dissemination of grant-funded research. The reports, the first of which appeared in October 1964, are sequentially numbered, and have...
Dates: 1964-1979

Meyer Dwass (1923-1996) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/19/9
Abstract Meyer Dwass, a mathematical statistician interested in applied probabilities, was a professor at Northwestern University and Chair of the Department of Statistics. His papers fill 2 boxes and span the years 1953 to 1996. The bulk of the papers consist of his teaching and research notes as well as offprints of his journal publications; a small amount of personal material is included. The papers fall into six subseries: biographical, correspondence, university notes, teaching, research, and...
Dates: 1953-1996

Lois W. Griffiths (1899-1981) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/19/5
Abstract Lois W. Griffiths came to Northwestern University in 1927 as an instructor in mathematics, was promoted to assistant professor of mathematics in 1930, and to associate professor in 1938. She retired form Northwestern in 1964. Her special field of research was number theory. Her papers are contained in three and one-half boxes, date between 1923 and 1981, and are comprised of small amounts of correspondence and materials relating to Griffith's graduate education, as well as teaching files and...
Dates: 1923-1981

Ernst D. Hellinger (1883-1950) Papers

Identifier: 11/3/19/6
Abstract Ernst D. Hellinger joined the faculty at Northwestern as lecturer in Mathematics in 1939. He was promoted to professor in 1945, and retired in 1949. He studied integral equations, infinite systems of equations, real functions, and continued fractions. A type of integral he introduced in his dissertation became known as "the Hellinger integral," and the Hilbert-Hellinger theory of forms in infinitely many variables profoundly influenced mathematical analysis. His papers fill one and one-half...
Dates: 1906-1975

Thomas Franklin Holgate (1859-1945) Papers

Identifier: 3/12
Abstract The Thomas Franklin Holgate Papers offer a brief glimpse of the work of a competent university administrator during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century; a view of an effective and practical promoter of higher education for blacks; a productive and stimulating teacher and writer in mathematics; and an administrator (especially in financial matters) sought-after by many educational and religious organizations. The papers are arranged in five main categories: biographical...
Dates: 1892-1973

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Mathematics--Study and teaching 8
College presidents 1
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