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Mathematics Department Records, 1933-1994

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Oregon State University. Dept. of Mathematics.
Title
Mathematics Department Records
Dates
1933-1994 (inclusive)
1933-1981 (bulk)
Quantity
0.75 cubic foot, (3 boxes)
1 microfilm reel, (20 feet)
Collection Number
RG 136
Summary
The Mathematics Department Records document the teaching and research activities of the department and the involvement of Department Chair, W.E. Milne, in campus organizations. The records include correspondence, reports, lecture notes, and publications. Mathematics courses have been taught at Oregon State since its founding in 1868; however, research and graduate instruction in mathematics began in 1932 with establishment of the School of Science, which included the Mathematics Department.
Repository
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections & Archives Research Center
Special Collections & Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
97331-4501
Telephone: 541-737-2075
Fax: 541-737-8674
scarc@oregonstate.edu
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Languages
English


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Mathematics was one of the four subjects taught at Corvallis College when it was founded in 1868. As the College’s curriculum grew to include agriculture and engineering, mathematics expanded from its role as an element of traditional higher learning into a necessary tool for understanding science and technology. While the subject matter itself changed little, the focus of mathematics was now targeted to serve engineering. This remained its function until 1932 when the School of Science was established and William E. Milne arrived as chair of the Mathematics Department, a position he held until his retirement in 1955.

Professor Milne was the first Department chairman to hold a Ph.D. During the years that Milne was chair, 1932-1955, the department had its first major growth including additional staff, courses, and students as well as offering undergraduate and gradaute degrees in mathematics.

After 1932, the Mathematics Department's instructional service reached into nearly every academic discipline at Oregon State. The department's research focus during these years emphasized applied analysis and statistics. In 1955, a separate Statistics Department was formed and Arvid T. Lonseth became Mathematics Department chairman. Under Lonseth’s leadership, the department focused heavily on computers, which continued until a separate Computer Science Department was formed in 1972. In 1957, Oregon State College became the first educational institution in Oregon to acquire an electronic computer; it was operated by Mathematics and maintained by Electrical Engineering. By the end of Lonseth’s tenure the department had acquired expertise in all major areas of mathematics.

As the department expanded, Mathematics became a primary area of study. This lead to an undergraduate major designed to train high school teachers as well as prepare students for graduate level studies. The first masters degree in mathematics was awarded in 1933 and the first doctorate in 1948.

Department heads for the period documented by these records include W.E. (Ted) Milne (1932-1955); Arvid T. Lonseth (1955-1968); William J. Firey (1968-1970 and 1978-1979); James R. Brown (1970-1978); Richard M. Schori (1979-1984); Philip M. Anselone (1984-1990); and Francis (Frank) Flaherty (1990-1998).

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Mathematics Department Records document the teaching and research activities of the department and the involvement of Department Chair, W.E. Milne, in various campus organizations. The records include correspondence, reports, lecture notes, and publications. The correspondence consists of materials created or received by W.E. Milne in his role as department chair and as a member of several campus faculty groups and honor societies. Materials pertaining to graduate programs as well as a computation service offered by the department are included.

The records include reports about early computers at Oregon State in the late 1950s and early 1960s; information about the undergraduate mathematics curriculum; lecture notes prepared by Bent E. Petersen and Aldo Anderotti in the mid-1970s; and publications. The publications include a weekly department department staff newsletter from the mid-1980s; the department's annual newsletter for alumni and friends of the department from the early 1990s; and a brochure on academic programs in actuarial science. A compilation of research papers written by high school students who participated in the 1962 Summer Institute in Mathematics, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, are also part of the records.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Mathematics Department Records (RG 136), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  William Edmund Milne General Correspondence, 1933-1939Return to Top

Series I consists of correspondence and related materials created and received by Milne in his role as chair of the Mathematics Department and as a member of several campus faculty groups and honor societies. Of particular note are materials pertaining to the mathematics graduate programs and a computation service offered by the department. The microfilm does not include targets separating original folders. Some of the original paper documents are part of Series II.

Container(s) Description Dates
Reel
1
Century Club
1936
1
Engineers Club
1935-1937
1
Faculty Men's Club
1933-1939
1
Graduate School Material and Graduate Studies
1935-1939
1
Computation Service
1938-1939
1
Miscellaneous material for NYA and Paper Readers
Students employed as graders.
1935-1939
1
Order of the Spoon
A faculty advancement organization.
1935-1936
1
Phi Kappa Phi
1937-1939
1
10: Pi Mu Epsilon
1933-1939
Mathematical Problems and Inquiries
Includes correspondence from high school teachers, faculty at other colleges and universities, prospective students, and the public.
1934-1939
Reel
1
Reports
1935
1
Sigma Xi
1936-1938
1
Summer Session material
1935
1
Triad Club
1936-1939

Series II:  Subject Files, 1933-1981Return to Top

Series II consists of correspondence, reports, and instructional materials documenting the teaching and research activities of the department. The reports provide information about early computers at Oregon State. The information pamphlet for undergraduate mathematics major includes detailed information about degree requirements and courses as well as scholarships and employment opportunities in mathematics. The series also includes original paper records of the some of the microfilmed Milne correspondence in Series I.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
1
William Edmund Milne General Correspondence
Original paper copies of some of the microfilmed records in Series I.
1933-1939
Faculty Men's Club
1933-1939
Graduate School Material and Graduate Studies
1935-1939
Computation Service
1938-1939
National Youth Administration (NYA) and readers
1935-1939
1
Reports
1959-1964
Machine Modifications
Modifications performed on the ALWAC III-E digital computer in the Oregon State College Computing Center; written by George A. Dubinski.
1959
Progress Report of the Nebula Computer
By J.A. Boles, P.T. Rux, and F.W. Weingarten.
1964
1
Solutions Manual for Applied Differential Equations
Manual written by M.N.L. Narasimhan to be used by students and instructors in MTH 321 with the second edition of the textbook Differential Equations and their Applications: An Introduction to Applied Mathematics by M. Braun.
1981
1
Information Pamphlet for Undergraduate Mathematics Majors in 1963-1964
Provides information of use to undergraduate students in mathematics; topics include curriculum, courses, and degree requirements; opportunities for employment or graduate study; the Honors Program; grants, honors, awards, scholarships, and fellowships; competitions; organizations and periodicals; and recommended reading.
1963

Series III:  Lecture Notes, 1974-1975Return to Top

Series III consists of 5 bound volumes of lecture notes prepared by Bent E. Peterson and Aldo Andreotti for mathematics courses taught during the 1974-1975 academic year.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
1
1: Singularities of Differentiable Maps
undated
2
2: Cauchy Problem and Convexity
For MTH 528.
Winter, 1975
2
3: Elliptic Operators
By Bent E. Petersen for MTH 529.
Spring, 1975
2
4: Holomorphic Functions with Bounds
By Bent E. Petersen.
Summer, 1974
2
5: Partial Differential Equations
By Bent E. Petersen for MTH 527, 528, and 529.
1974-1975

Series IV:  Publications, 1963-1994Return to Top

Series IV consists of department publications for internal and external audiences and includes the weekly staff newsletter for 1985-1986; the annual department newsletter for alumni, retired faculty, and friends of the department; a brochure promoting the undergraduate and graduate programs in actuarial science offered by the Mathematics Department; and a compilation of research papers prepared by high school students as part of their participation in the Summer Institute in Mathematics at Oregon State University in 1962, sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
3
Mathematics Department Staff Newsletter
1985-1986
3
Mathematician
1991-1994
3
Brochure on Actuarial Science
1991
3
Research Papers in Mathematics
Papers written by participants in Summer Institute in Mathematics for high school students; edited by R.E. Gaskell, Director of the Institute.
1963