University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

R. H. Bing Papers, 1934-1986

Descriptive Summary

Creator Bing, R. H.
Title: R. H. Bing Papers,
Dates: 1934-1986
Abstract: Papers document the career of R. H. Bing (1914-1986) in geometric topology, largely as Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin (1973-1986). Included are correspondence, research and lecture notes, drafts of publications, teaching material, memoranda, reports, newspaper clippings, preprints, and reprints.
Accession Number: 94-208
Extent: 4 ft., 10 in.; manuscript, typescript, printed.
Language Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

R. H. Bing was born in Oakwood, Texas, on October 20, l914. He graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College, San Marcos, in 1935 and, after several years as a high school mathematics teacher, commenced graduate study at the University of Texas at Austin under R. L. Moore, receiving his doctorate in 1945. In 1947 he moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he remained until returning to the University of Texas in 1973. Bing was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1965 (council member, 1970-1980), and was a member of the National Science Board (1968-1974) and of the National Research Council governing board (1977-1980). Bing was active in several mathematical organizations, including the Mathematical Association of America (president, 1963-1964), the American Mathematical Society (president, 1977-1978), the Council Board for the Mathematical Sciences (chairman, 1965-1966), the Mathematical Sciences Section of the National Academy of Sciences (chairman, 1970-1973), and the Division of Mathematical Sciences of the National Research Council (1967-1969). In 1974 he received the Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics.

Bing's research concentrated on the geometric topology of 3-manifolds, particularly their pathology. His side approximation theorem for 2-spheres in Euclidean 3-space and his "Bing shrinking" procedure have been generalized to higher dimensional manifolds. Bing summarized the field in his The Geometric Topology of 3-Manifolds (1983).

Source: Anderson, R. D. and C. E. Burgess, "R. H. Bing, October 20, 1914 - April 28, 1986," Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 33 (Aug. 1986):595-596.

Scope and Content

The Bing papers primarily contain material from his years at the University of Texas at Austin (1973-1986). Bing's work in preserving the memory and papers of Robert Lee Moore (7 in.), records of the formation of the Archives of American Mathematics (1974-86; 4 in.), and the preparation of an unpublished Moore memorial volume (1973-80; 12 in.) are included. Bing's many services to the scientific and mathematical communities are documented by records of his work for the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council (1967-86; 3 in.), and for topology conferences and institutes (1965-86; 2 in.). Documentation of Bing's membership in the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America is sparse. Bing's topological work is chiefly reflected in manuscript material and dittoed preprints (with annotations) of his The Geometric Topology of 3-Manifolds (1983).

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.



Organized into twelve series:
General Correspondence
Research and Writing
Conferences and Lectures
Faculty Activities
Archives of American Mathematics
R. L. Moore - Biographical and Memorial Items
National Academy of Sciences
Other Professional Activities
Publications by Others


Access Restrictions

A portion of these papers is stored remotely at CDL. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval. Photographs are stored on-site.

Index Terms

Bing, R. H.
Moore, R. L. (Robert Lee), 1882-
University of Texas at Austin. Dept. of Mathematics
University of Texas at Austin. Archives of American Mathematics
National Academy of Sciences (U. S.), Section of Mathematics

Related Material

A portion of R. H. Bing's papers are in the Archives of Southwest Texas State University.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

R. H. Bing Papers, 1934-1986, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Detailed Description of the Papers


General correspondence:

94-208/1 1979-1986
88-1/1 1984-85


Research and writing:

88-1/1 Preprints and reprints
"Award for Distinguished Service to Professor Raymond L. Wilder" correspondence, drafts, proofs, 1973
88-1/2 Papers submitted for publication,correspondence, manuscripts, 1985-1986
"Topology of 3-Manifolds," dittoed copies with annotations and comments
Research notes and drafts (some related to The Geometric Topology of 3-Manifolds), 1983
88-1/3 Grant application, 1980


Conferences and lectures:

88-1/3 Summer Research Institute, 1965-1967
Proposed mathematics research institute, 1978
Topology conferences, 1979-1986
Topology Summer Conference, 1980:
General 1980
4RM11 "Rogue's Gallery," polaroid portraits [98-204] 1980
98-204/1 Southwest Texas State Topology Conference honoring R. H. Bing, 1984
88-1/3 Lectures, 1985-1986


Faculty activities:

94-208/1 University of Wisconsin, salaries, 1967-1973
88-1/3 Bing Fellowship, 1985-1986
University of Texas at Austin Mathematics Award, 1974-1976
University of Texas Mathematics Department, memos, correspondence, 1977, 1985-1986



88-1/4 Handouts, examinations, evaluations, (University of Wisconsin) 1981-1986, and undated
2010-054/1 Recommendations [files donated by Albert C. Lewis, April 2007], 1977-1979, 1985-1986


Archives of American Mathematics:

88-1/4 Correspondence and memos, 1974-1978
Correspondence and memos, 1979
Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Archives, 1979
Correspondence and memos, 1980-1986


R. L. Moore - Biographical and Memorial Items

88-1/5 Memorial Resolution, obituaries, biographical articles (with correspondence), 1975-1985
Forced retirement, 1969
D. Forbes' teaching method study, 1969-1981
Preservation of Moore home, 1975-1978
R. L. Moore Instructorship
Correspondence and memos, 1975-1981
Records of donations, 1976-1978
"R. L. Moore" (unpublished book):
88-1/6 Correspondence, plans, background material, 1973-1980
Chapters by R. E. Greenwood and R. L. Wilder, correspondence and drafts
Chapter by Lucille Whyburn, correspondence and drafts
Correspondence relating to the University of Texas Press, 1976-1980
Typescripts of introductory chapters, and photocopies of Moore reprints and photographs
88-1/7 Copy I
88-1/8 Copy II


National Academy of Sciences:

88-1/8 Department of Defence (Anti-war scientists), 1968
Stephen Smale, 1966-1968
88-1/9 Final Report of the National Board on Graduate Education, 1975
Memos and correspondence, 1974-1986
National Research Council, 1967-1971


Other professional activities:

88-1/9 Mathematical Association of America, 1985-1986
American Mathematical Society, 1976-1986
National Science Foundation proposal reviews, 1985
94-208/1 Southwest Texas State University, R. H. Bing Collection and endowed fund for mathematics, 1985 and undated



94-208/1 General, 1939-1948, 1979 and undated
American Mathematical Monthly Award for Distinguished Service, February 1974
Mathematical Association of America Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics, 1974
Distinguished Alumnus Award, Southwest Texas State University, 1979-1980
Honorary degree from Kenyon College, 1980
Distinguished alumnus conference and exhibit, Southwest Texas State University, 1984:
Manuscript material, 1984
4RM11 Photographs, black and white, 1984
94-208/1 [Unidentified award/retirement], tributes from Bing's secretaries, April 10, 1985 and undated
Other honors, 1971-1988 and undated
Clippings, undated
Diplomas and certificates:
94-208/1 Diplomas and certificates, 1935-1956
4RM55a Oversized diplomas, 1938, 1945
94-208/1 Mathematical descendants, 1977
Lists of publications, 1972 and undated
Notes, undated
Polska Akademia Nauk [Polish Academy of Sciences], empty portfolio, undated
Scrapbook one [red scrapbook]:
Manuscript material, 1951-1977
4RM11 Photographs:
General, 1966, 1978 and undated
R. L. Moore building dedication, 1973
94-208/1 Scrapbook two [green scrapbook]:
Manuscript material, 1965-1986 and undated
94-208/2 Manuscript material, 1965-1986 and undated
4RM11 Photographs, [includes photograph of Bing with LBJ], November 1969 and undated
94-208/2 Unfiled printed mateiral, correspondence, and notes, 1939, 1973-1984 and undated
88-1/9 Curriculum vita and reprint distribution data


Publications by others (some annotated):

88-1/9 A - B
88-1/10 F - Haken
Hutchinson - M
Moise, E. E.
P - Z

4RM11 Photographs:
Black and white, 1934-1973 and undated
Color, 1969-1986 and undated