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Archives of American Mathematics Spotlight: The George Bruce Halsted Papers

Archives of American Mathematics Spotlight: The George Bruce Halsted Papers

By Kristy Sorensen

George Bruce Halstead holding his grandson, Bruce Cushman Halstead,
Greeley, Colorado, 1920. From the George Bruce Halstead Papers, Archives of American Mathematics, Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

The George Bruce Halsted Papers, an important collection at the Center for American History?s Archives of American Mathematics, have recently been reorganized with a view to making it easier for researchers to access the collection.

George Bruce Halsted (1853-1922) was a fourth generation Princeton graduate, earning his Bachelor?s degree in 1875 and his Master?s in 1878. He was J. J. Sylvester?s first student at Johns Hopkins University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1879, and also studied with Carl Borchardt in Berlin. After graduation, Halsted served as an instructor in mathematics at Princeton until beginning his post at the University of Texas at Austin in 1884.

Halsted was a member of the University of Texas at Austin Department of Pure and Applied Mathematics (1884-1903) where he taught noted mathematicians R. L. Moore and L. E. Dickson among other students. He explored the foundations of geometry and introduced Non-Euclidean geometry into the United States through his own work and his many important translations. He was later at St. John?s College, Annapolis; Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio (1903-1906); and the Colorado State College of Education, Greeley (1906-1914).

This collection consists of four feet of correspondence, ephemera, printed material, photographs, and publications documenting his life and work. It focuses on his family and genealogy and is particularly strong in correspondence and photographs. Also present are volumes from Halsted?s personal library, as well as books by or about Halsted. Many of the items in the collection were donated by Halsted?s grandchildren, particularly Bruce C. Halsted, who have done much to enhance the scholarly understanding of their grandfather.

In addition to the George Bruce Halsted Papers, researchers should note the extensive correspondence between Halsted and R. L. Moore in the R. L. Moore Papers at the Archives of American Mathematics.

The inventory for the Halsted Papers is available at