Access to primary evidence documenting mathematical ideas, their context, and the people who developed them is critical for moving civilization forward. The Archives of American Mathematics, founded in 1975 at The University of Texas at Austin, provides a rich source of material that spans more than a century of American mathematics. It is a unique resource for research focused on mathematical history and development providing students and historians of mathematics with the resources to describe societal and cultural influences on the discipline’s evolution, explore education methods, and inspire new ideas. Knowledge and insight gleaned from research in the Archives contributes to articles, books, digital projects, and more in order to tell the story of mathematics—and of ourselves.
One of a handful of mathematical archives in the United States, the Archives of American Mathematics encompasses some 130 collections, covering over 1,000 linear feet of archival material and continues to grow. Comprised of primarily twentieth-and twenty-first-century American mathematicians and mathematics organizations, the Archives of American Mathematics’ major strengths include a variety of important research areas including geometry, topology, mathematics education, number theory, logic, and the mathematical foundations of physics. The papers of individual mathematicians including Paul Halmos, Max Dehn, Paul Erdős, Carl Pomerance, and Otto Nikodym are preserved in the Archives for future generations to study. Students and scholars from around the world visit the center to conduct research in the Archives of American Mathematics for dissertations, articles, books, and other projects.
The collection is comprised of three overarching categories of material:
- papers documenting the history and work of the Mathematical Association of America, including the personal papers of many former MAA presidents;
- material documenting mathematics teaching methodologies;
- collections of representative mathematicians.
Learn more about resources held in the Archives of American Mathematics.
Mathematics is at the foundation of our comprehension of the world. Whether contemplating the form of a beehive or developing the next form of artificial intelligence, mathematics and its history informs, illuminates, and inspires. The history of American mathematics is pivotal for understanding our relationship to science and technology and is crucial for understanding our evolution as a nation and our nation’s contributions to the world.
Now more than ever, as we continue to make huge strides in science and technology, it is important to learn from our history in order to effectively move forward. It is critical to trace the steps of mathematical inquiry in order to shed light on our present and our future. Collecting, preserving, and sharing mathematical records helps guarantee that the evolution of American mathematics remains rooted in historical evidence.
The Briscoe Center is seeking gifts to help reach our goal of a $2 million endowment that will support the Archives, including an archivist dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making the Archive of American Mathematics accessible to a wide audience in perpetuity.
The Archives of American Mathematics Endowment will provide:
- the salary, benefits, and professional development for the AAM Archivist;
- funds to transport donated papers of individuals and records of organizations, as well as process the myriad of formats that document the history of American mathematics;
- a stipend for student interns assisting the AAM Archivist;
- resources to support activities and programs associated with collecting, preserving, accessing, curating, and using the AAM.
The AAM Archivist will:
- develop relationships with mathematicians, historians of mathematics, and associated organizations to ensure rare material is collected and preserved;
- provide valuable research services to visiting students and scholars based on the tremendous knowledge of the collection material the archivist acquires;
- ensure the collection is readily accessible by creating and maintaining finding aids;
- oversee the digitization of archival documents, photographs, and audio-visual material for online accessibility;
- rehouse material into archival boxes;
- identify items needing conservation and arrange for item-level assessment and treatment as needed;
- collaborate with faculty to teach their students how to use primary source evidence in their research;
- promote the research value of the collection to both new and established scholars.
Comprised of volunteer leaders in the mathematics community with a keen interest in preserving mathematical records, the Archives of American Mathematics Endowment Steering Committee is nearly halfway to their goal of raising $2 million to endow the Archives. The endowment will support an archivist focused on building and managing the collections and providing research services to mathematics students, scholars, and other interested researchers. Their volunteer leadership and generosity are very much appreciated.
Archives of American Mathematics Endowment campaign progress
Archives of American Mathematics Endowment steering committee
Thank you to our Archives of American Mathematics Endowment donors
Dr. Amy Ackerberg-Hastings in memory of Uta Merzbach
Dr. Thomas F. Banchoff
Laurie C. Beu
Lisa M. Doering
Dr. Judith Grabiner in memory of Henry Adler
Mathematical Association of America-History of Mathematics SIGMAA
Kim L. Plofker
Dr. Eileen L. Poiani
Recognizing donors of gifts received prior to November 1, 2021.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. If you find an error or an omission, please accept our sincere apologies and notify Vanessa Nip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every gift helps. Give online now at www.giving.utexas.edu/briscoe
mail a check or money order made out to The University of Texas at Austin with “BCAH-AAM Endowment” in the memo line to:
Briscoe Center for American History
The University of Texas at Austin
P.O. Box 7458
Austin, TX 78713-7458
Please contact us for assistance with gifts of stock, IRA charitable transfers, beneficiary designations, or bequests towards the Archives of American Mathematics Endowment.
Archives of American Mathematics archival donations and special project support
The Briscoe Center continues to seek immediate-use funding for special projects in the Archive until the endowment is fully funded as well as new material to further develop the depth and scope of the Archives of American Mathematics. To discuss donating archival material or if you are interested in supporting a particular collection or project within the Archives of American Mathematics, please contact: