Chapter 5 WW II and its Aftermath, \(1942-1955\)
Chapter 4 described many of the activities and dominant figures in the Philadelphia Section during the 1930s, up to the time of the U.S. entry into World War II. This chapter extends coverage to the 14-year period from 1942 through 1955, examining activities that took place during the war and the decade afterwards. The year 1956 marked a watershed in the section’s history due to the formation of the New Jersey Section. Hence the period 1942-1955 was the last in which MAA members living in the Garden State were automatically associated with our section.
We begin the chapter with a summary of the section’s annual meetings, highlighting contributions made by another set of sectional leaders. In addition to profiles of G. C. Webber, Anna Wheeler, and John Oxtoby at the end of the chapter, our chronicle contains biographical sketches of eight other chairs, three secretaries, three members of the Program Committee, and three speakers. Several notable events are reported, including the election of the first woman as chair of the section and the emerging leadership of members from the University of Delaware and Franklin & Marshall College. This period also witnesses vigorous activity by mathematicians from Rutgers and Princeton. Perhaps the most decisive development for the governance of the section was the evolution of the Program Committee from a group of small size and limited charge to today’s expanded, proactive Executive Committee.
The last part of the chapter considers the 56 presentations made during this 14-year period. Unlike earlier chapters, a chronological account precedes the customary analysis by mathematical classification. The lectures clearly reflect the influence of the Penn School of Analysis. They also reflect the emphasis placed on applications at meetings held during World War II and on educational issues at meetings held afterwards. One presentation in 1954 was particularly noteworthy, both because its format preceded the panel discussions that gained popularity afterwards and because it dealt with a new technology – television.