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EPADEL:A Semisesquicentennial History, 1926-2000

Section 5.2 Leaders

Table 5.2.1 addresses the section’s governance based on elections held at annual meetings from 1942 through 1955. Recall our convention that the year 1942 means that Drexel’s James E. Davis was elected chairman of the section at the meeting held in November 1942 but carried out most of his duties during the year 1943, including the running of the annual meeting that year. The section continued to benefit from a cadre of active leaders, altogether boasting 12 different chairmen in 14 years, with Cyril Nelson (Women’s College of New Jersey) and Perry Caris (University of Pennsylvania) the only chairs elected to two (nonconsecutive) terms. Many other contributions by Caris have already been cited, principally his service as secretary from 1928 through 1941.
Table 5.2.1.
Year Chairman Secretary Program Committee
1942 Davis Whitman
1943 Wheeler Whitman Brinkmann (C), Fort, Manning
1944 Nelson Gottschalk Dennis, Oxtoby (C), Wallace
1945 Caris Gottschalk Clarkson (C), Murray, Webber
1946 Rees Gottschalk Allendoerfer, Pitcher, Schoenberg (C)
1947 Starke Botts Gottschalk (C), Oxtoby, Smail
1948 Raynor Oakley Dresden (C), Fine, Tukey
1949 Webber Oakley Allendoerfer, Hailperin (C), Lehner
1950 Caris Oakley Starke (C), Tartler, Tucker
1951 Manning R. D. Schafer Nelson (C), Webber, Wilansky
1952 Nelson R. D. Schafer Goldberg, Alice Schafer, Western
1953 Tartler Webber Dennis, Kuhn (C), Luxenberg
1954 Koehler Webber Fine, Grant, Saalfrank (C)
1955 Oxtoby Webber Fine, Koehler, Tuckerman
The dozen chairmen represent a diverse lot in several ways. Geographically scattered, they span the section from the University of Delaware in the west to Rutgers in the east. The most notable change that occurred during this period was the emergence of MAA members from Delaware into positions of sectional leadership. Until this time the only faculty member from Delaware to participate in any functions sponsored by the section was G. A. Harter. The first official elected to office from the state of Delaware was C. J. Rees in 1946. His colleague G. Cuthbert Webber followed three years later. We profile Webber at the end of the chapter to honor his many contributions to the section during this period.
  • Carl John Rees (1896-1986) was born in Millersville, PA. He received his A.B. degree from Franklin & Marshall in 1918 and joined the faculty at the University of Delaware two years later. While continuing to teach at Delaware he obtained a masters degree from the University of Chicago in 1925, probably taking classes at Chicago’s famed summer session. He received his Ph.D. under section chair J. A. Shohat at Penn in 1940. At that time, Rees was appointed chairman of the department at Delaware, a position he held for the next ten years. He became the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Delaware in 1950, holding the post until 1962. In the meantime he also served as Provost of the University from 1955 to 1962. Rees retired as professor emeritus in 1962. He died in Newark, Delaware, in 1986, just three months shy of his 90 th birthday.
Like the University of Delaware, Rutgers provided the section with two chairmen whose terms were separated by three years. At Rutgers, however, C. A. Nelson (New Jersey College for Women, Rutgers University) and E. P. Starke (Rutgers University) represented two separate divisions within the same institution. Nelson was elected chair of the section in 1944, and Starke in 1947. Nelson again served as chair in 1952-1953. Recall that Richard Morris of Rutgers was the first person from New Jersey to be elected to the office in 1934.
  • Cyril Arthur Nelson (1893-1984) was born and raised in Kansas. He received his A.B. degree from Midland College (Kansas) in 1914 and his A.M. from the University of Kansas in 1916. He enrolled in the graduate program at Princeton University for the year 1916-1917 before transferring to the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in 1919 without an official supervisor. Nelson taught at three different colleges before accepting a position in 1927 at the New Jersey College for Women, which was founded in 1918 and later became affiliated with Rutgers University. He remained at Rutgers until his retirement in 1959. He died in 1984 at the age of 90.
  • Emory P. Starke 1896-1989) was born in New York City. He received all three of his degrees from Columbia University: A.B. 1916, M.A. 1917, and Ph.D. 1928. He joined the faculty at Rutgers in 1919 at age 23 and stayed there until compulsory retirement as professor emeritus in 1961. Instead of retiring completely, however, Starke spent the next five years as a professor at Bloomfield College. An inveterate problem solver, he is known to many present EPADEL members for his longtime stint of Associate Editor of the Monthly and for his many contributions to its problems department. He took over the advanced problems section of the Monthly in 1947 when that department’s first editor, Otto Dunkel, asked to be relieved. Starke died in 1989 at age 93.
In striking contrast to Delaware and Rutgers, only one person from Penn held the chairmanship during this period, Perry Aquila Caris, who was elected in 1945 and in 1950. Recall that he had served as secretary of the section from 1928 to 1941 and as a member of the Program Committee from 1931 through 1933.
Tiny Bryn Mawr College provided two sterling leaders during the perio had 1942-1955, the venerable Anna Wheeler (chair in 1943) and the renowned John Oxtoby (chair in 1955). Their contributions are detailed in profiles at the end of the chapter. The election of Wheeler in 1943 marked the first time a woman was elected chair of the section. The next woman to be so elected was Marguerite Lehr in 1958; she too hailed from Bryn Mawr. The first woman from another school to be elected chair was Doris Schattschneider (Moravian College) in 1977. No woman was chosen to head the section during the 1980s, but conditions changed dramatically in the next decade when three women were elected to two one-year terms: Nancy Hagelgans (Ursinus College), 1991-1993; Louise Berard (Wilkes College), 1995-1997; and Kay Somers (Moravian College), 1997-1999.
For now we provide biographical sketches of the remaining five chairs in the order of their terms.
  • James Elmer Davis (1887-1964) was born and raised in Wisconsin. He attended the Wisconsin State Normal School from 1901 to 1905 but for unknown reasons left without obtaining a degree. He then taught at public schools in Wisconsin and South Dakota until 1910, whereupon he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, earning two degrees, a bachelors in 1912 and a masters in 1913. That year Davis accepted a position at the Pennsylvania State College (now University), so his affiliation was listed as Penn State when he became a charter member of the national MAA in 1916. He served in the army during World War I from 1917 through 1919. In the early 1920s he taught at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Arkansas before accepting a position at the Drexel Institute of Technology in the fall of 1923. He remained in the EPADEL region for the rest of his professional career, almost all of it spent at Drexel, where he served as chair of the department from 1942 until his retirement in 1952. Davis was an active member of the MAA from the time he attended the annual MAA meeting at the University of Pennsylvania in 1926. He attended almost all of the section’s annual meetings and played a pivotal role in the section’s being able to hold annual meetings throughout World War II. Davis’s election to head the Philadelphia Section made him the first in a line of chairs from Drexel who held that office each decade from the 1940s through the 1980s. He died in Florida in 1964 after having been an MAA member for 48 years.
  • George Emil Raynor (1895-1975) was born in San Francisco. He earned his B.A. degree from the University of Washington (Seattle) in 1918 and two degrees from Princeton, a masters in 1920 and a Ph.D. in 1923. A stint in the Army in 1918 prevented him from completing his dissertation sooner. After teaching at two colleges, Raynor accepted a position at Lehigh University in 1931. He remained there for the rest of his life, directing the doctoral dissertation of one student. In 1948 he was selected as the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy, a position he held until 1960. He retired as professor emeritus in 1964. Raynor was one of only two chairs of the Philadelphia Section to hail from a Lehigh Valley institution during the period 1942-1955.
  • Frank Leroy Manning (1898-1986) was born in Mount Hope, New York. He received a B.S. at Cornell in 1919 after having spent the year 1917-1918 with the U.S. Naval Reserves. Later he obtained an M.S. degree in mathematics (1924) from Rutgers and a Ph.D. in statistics (1935) from Cornell. During the 1920s Manning taught high school in New Jersey for two years before becoming a principal in New York the next two years. After a two-year stint at a state teacher’s college, he accepted a position at Ursinus College in 1930. He remained at Ursinus for the rest of his career except for the war years 1942-1944, when he taught extension courses in engineering science and management for the war-training program conducted by Penn State. He died in Collegeville at the age of 88.
  • Alexander Tartler (1905-1985) was born in Budapest, Hungary. He received two degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, a bachelors in 1928 and a Ph.D. five years later. Like Delaware’s C. J. Rees, his dissertation was written under J. A. Shohat. After earning his undergraduate degree he joined the faculty at the Drexel Institute of Technology and remained there until 1949, when he moved to Lafayette College. Although Tartler was promoted to full professor and department chairman at Lafayette in 1951, he returned to Drexel the very next year to accept an offer of these same two positions. He retained the chairmanship until 1966 and retired four years later. Tartler was known by his students as a very rigorous instructor whose backboard writings were works of art. Although he drove many engineering students crazy with his precision, this trait inspired several engineering-to-mathematics converts. Tartler died at \(B0^{th}\) birthday.
  • Truman Lester Koehler (1902-1989) was a Lehigh Valley citizen through and through. Born in Bethlehem, PA, he graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1924, taught at Allentown Prep School for the next three years, and then joined the faculty of his alma mater in 1927. He remained there for 45 years and chaired the mathematics department for 14 of them. During this time, Koehler managed to pick up his M.A. in 1932 and his Ph.D. in 1950 – both from the University of Pennsylvania. His doctorate was in mathematics education for a dissertation titled, “The selection of certain significant concepts in college algebra and the determination of their degree of emphasis in some widely adopted texts”. In World War II, Koehler directed Muhlenberg’s Engineering, Science, Management, and War Training Program and, as noted above, served as chair of the Philadelphia Section 1954-1955. He died in 1989, just two weeks shy of his 87 th birthday. His son, Truman Koehler, Jr. – a statistician and successful businessman – has been instrumental in keeping alive the memory of his father by generous contributions to the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Muhlenberg. These include a gift of Euler’s mathematical works to the college library, the commissioning of portraits of his parents that now hang outside the departmental offices (Mrs. Koehler was a friend of the students for the better part of half a century), and an endowment for the Truman Koehler Professorship. The present Koehler Professor of Mathematics is William Dunham, who, as many MAA members can attest, has taken full advantage of Koehler’s bequest of Euler’s works.
The position of secretary of the section changed dramatically during the 1940s after having been under P. A. Caris’s direction from 1928 to 1941. Indeed, except for the organizational year of 1926, every secretary came from the University of Pennsylvania until 1947. P. M. Whitman succeeded P. A. Caris for three years. He was followed by W. H. Gottschalk for three years and T. A. Botts for one. When Botts (from Delaware) was elected in 1947, it marked the first time the position was not held by someone from Penn since A. A. Bennett held the post in the section’s inaugural year, 1926-1927. Haverford College’s Cletus O. Oakley succeeded Botts and held the office for three years. The position returned to Penn for 1951 and 1952, when R. D. Schafer held it. He was followed by former chair G. C. Webber of the University of Delaware for the next three years.
We provided a sketch of Oakley earlier. Webber is profiled at the end of this chapter. Now we sketch four other secretaries.
  • Philip Martin Whitman (1916-1997) was born in Pittsburgh. He received a bachelors degree from Haverford College in 1937 and a Ph.D. in 1941 under Garrett Birkhoff at Harvard. Whitman spent the next three years at the University of Pennsylvania. Like almost all American mathematicians in the 1940s, World War II interrupted Whitman’s career. During 1944-1946 he was a scientist at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory at the University of California, which explains why his tenure as secretary ended in 1944. After the war Whitman taught at Tufts College for two years before moving to the Applied Physics Lab at Johns Hopkins University as a mathematician in 1948. In 1961 he left Johns Hopkins to become professor of mathematics and chairman of the department at Rhode Island College. Whitman died in Massachusetts at the age of 80.
  • Walter Helbig Gottschalk (1918-2004) was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. He took all his higher education at the University of Virginia: B.S. 1939, M.A. 1942, and Ph.D. 1944 (under G. A. Hedlund). He went right from graduate school to the University of Pennsylvania, where he remained until 1963, serving as chairman of the department from 1954 to 1958. Gottschalk spent the academic year 1947-1948 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. In 1963 he accepted a professorship at Wesleyan University, where he remained until his retirement in 1982. An article from the 1999 Monthly titled “The Gottschalk-Hedlund Theorem” reflects the enduring influence of the advisor/student pair from their initial investigation 55 years earlier.
  • Truman Arthur Botts was born in 1917 in Florida. He received his B.S. degree in mathematics and physics from then-tiny Stetson University in Florida in 1938, followed by two degrees from the University of Virginia, a masters in 1940 and a Ph.D. in 1942 (under E. J. McShane). He joined the faculty at the University of Delaware in 1946 but remained only two years before returning to Virginia. It was during his second year at Delaware that he was elected secretary of the section. Although his stint lasted but one year it foreshadowed administrative abilities that surfaced when he left the University of Virginia in 1968 to become Executive Director of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences. Today Botts is retired and living in Arlington, Virginia. He is best known for his book Real Analysis, written with his dissertation supervisor, E. J. (“Jimmy”) McShane, and first published in 1959.
  • Richard Donald Schafer was born in 1918 in Buffalo, New York. He received two degrees from the University of Buffalo (B.A. 1938 and M.A. 1940) and a Ph.D. in 1942 from the University of Chicago (under A. A. Albert). In 1942 he also married fellow graduate student Alice Turner right after the two of them had earned their degrees. R. D. Schafer was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania from 1948 to 1953, during which time he was secretary of our section 1951-1953. His wife served on the Program Committee during the year 1952-1953. However, the Schafers left Pennsylvania in 1953 when he became head of the department at the University of Connecticut. He accepted the position of deputy head at MIT in 1959. Although he stepped down as deputy head in 1968, he remained on the faculty until his retirement in 1988. The Schafers reside in Lexington, MA.
Before moving from secretary-treasurers to members of the Program Committee, we pause to introduce Alice T. Schafer, wife of R. D. Schafer and an outstanding mathematician in her own right. Alice Schafer was one of the founding members of the Association for Women in Mathematics in 1971 and its president from 1973 to 1975. In 1990 the Association for Women in Mathematics established the Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize to honor her for her many years of unselfish and dedicated service towards increasing the participation of women in mathematics. The prize is awarded every year to an undergraduate woman in recognition of excellence in mathematics courses and special programs. Two undergraduate students from the EPADEL area were recognized for their mathematics excellence in 1992, with Zvezdelina E. Stankova of Bryn Mawr winning the third Schafer Prize and Eugénie Hunsicker of Haverford receiving honorable mention. In 1999 Laura Ciobanu of Franklin & Marshall earned honorable mention.
As mentioned above, Alice T. Schafer received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1942. Her dissertation on projective differential geometry was written under department head Ernest P. Lane. She taught at Swarthmore and Drexel, as well as several other institutions, before joining the faculty of Wellesley College. She retired from there in 1980 as the Helen Day Gould Professor of Mathematics, but after her husband’s retirement the couple moved to Virginia, where she became a professor at Marymount University. She retired a second time in 1996. The MAA bestowed its Distinguished Service to Mathematics award on her in 1998.
The Schafers are the second mathematical couple we have encountered in this history, following in the footsteps of Frederick and Helen Owens. We subsequently describe the contributions of three other EPADEL couples – Charles and Roseanne Hofmann, Anthony and Louise Berard, and William and Penelope Dunham.
Program Committee
Next we discuss the section’s Program Committee, whose membership is listed in Table 5.2.1. Recall that (C) denotes the chairman of the committee. Table 5.2.1 lists the three people who served on this committee in every year except 1942, when the members were omitted in the official report. Recall that in 1953 this committee became part of an enlarged Executive Committee. Although membership on the Program Committee was no longer specified after 1954, we included the 1955 membership of three people who were listed merely as “committee members” in the report from the 1955 meeting.
During the period 1942-1955 a total of 33 different individuals served 39 separate terms on the Program Committee. The foci of Penn and Lehigh dominated representation on the committee, each providing six members. Altogether the Lehigh Valley accounted for nine of the 33 members and the city of Philadelphia eight. Four items about membership on the committee are noteworthy:
  1. a member on the committee came from Delaware for the first time (G. C. Webber in 1945 and 1951),
  2. six members came from New Jersey, which formed its own state section in the last year of this period,
  3. two members came from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, representing a geographical broadening of membership, and
  4. a member came from industry for the first time (Dr. Harold Luxenberg from Remington Rand Corporation in Philadelphia, in 1953).
As we saw in earlier periods, many members of the Program Committee also were elected to other offices so we provide biographical facts the first time they held that office. However, during the period under review three members who served multiple terms but were never elected to other offices deserve special mention: F. L. Dennis, who was one of four people to serve two terms, N. J. Fine, who was elected to three terms in the period, and W. R. Murray. Some prominent names also served one term on the committee: Arthur Everett Pitcher (Lehigh), I. J. Schoenberg and A. D. Wallace (Penn), and A. W. Tucker and J. W. Tukey (Princeton).
  • Foster Leroy Dennis (1910-1983) was born on New Year’s Day in West Milton, PA. He received a B.S. degree from Ursinus College in 1931, an M.S. from Cornell the next year, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1938 (under Arnold Emch). Before enrolling at Illinois he taught at his alma mater, Ursinus, for one year, and he returned to the same department upon obtaining his doctorate. Although F. L. Dennis remained at Ursinus for the rest of his life, he also taught courses at a Penn State extension for two years during World War II, worked for the State Department of Public Instruction for a year, and was a consultant for Philco Corporation. He was a member of the Program Committee of the Philadelphia Section in 1944 and 1953.
  • Nathan J. Fine (1916-1994) was born, raised, and educated in Philadelphia. He received a B.A. from Temple University in 1936, followed by two degrees from the University of Pennsylvania: A.M. 1939 and Ph.D. 1946 (under Antoni Zygmund). N. J. Fine studied for his doctorate while teaching high school for one year, teaching college (Cornell and Purdue) for three years, and being a research mathematician at both the Naval Ordnance Plant in Indiana and the Operations Evaluation Group in Washington, DC. He joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1947 and remained there until 1963. It was during this time that he was active with the Philadelphia Section. Fine moved to Penn State in 1963 and spent the rest of his life there, having retired in 1978.
  • Walter Rue Murray (1905-1993) was born in Maryland but received his early education in New Jersey. He earned a B.S. degree from Colgate College in 1929 and then accepted an appointment at Franklin & Marshall College. While teaching there he pursued graduate studies at Cornell, obtaining an M.S. in 1932. He returned to Cornell from 1938 to 1940 to continue his graduate studies, but he never earned a doctorate because his dissertation advisor, R. J. Walker, was called into government service in connection with WWII. The proposed title of his thesis was “Linear systems of plane curves”. Known as “Rue” Murray, he was appointed head of the department at F & M in 1945 after serving as acting head for sixth months. He presented an invited address to the section in 1936 and was a member of Program Committee in 1945. He stepped down as chair in 1951. Murray died in 1993 just one month shy of his 88 th birthday.