A Guide to the Norman Earl Steenrod Papers, 1911, 1948-1970
Norman Earl Steenrod (1910-1971) was a central figure in the post World War II development of algebraic topology. Born in Dayton, Ohio, on April 22, 1910, Steenrod attended college at Miami University and the University of Michigan (A.B., 1932). At the University of Michigan, he took courses by Raymond Louis Wilder, who guided the preparation of Steenrod's first two published papers (1934). After taking an M.A. at Harvard University (1934), Steenrod earned his Ph.D. with Solomon Lefschetz at Princeton University (1936). Steenrod returned to Princeton permanently after short periods on the faculties of the University of Chicago (1939-1942) and the University of Michigan (1942-1947). He died in Princeton on October 14, 1971.
Steenrod's research was in algebraic topology. His Foundations of Algebraic Topology (1952), written with Samuel Eilenberg, gave a system of axioms providing a framework for the rapidly developing field of homology theory. Steenrod's The Topology of Fibre Bundles (1951) furnished a systematic treatment of the previously disorganized field of bundle theory and an influential account of homotopy theory. Steenrod's study of homology classification led to his work on cohomology operations, in particular to the Steenrod algebra.
Source: Whitehead, G. W., "Norman Earl Steenrod, April 22, 1910-October 14, 1971." National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoirs, 55: 453-470 (1985).
The Norman Earl Steenrod Papers comprise records of Steenrod's books, research grants, and lectures (7 in.), and his work for several mathematical organizations (10 in.). Steenrod's research interests are represented by a manuscript of Foundations of Algebraic Topology (1952), written with Samuel Eisenberg, by notes for several lectures, and by material relating to research grants (1963-1970). Records of the preparation of Steenrod's Reviews of Papers in Algebraic and Differential Topology, Topological Groups, and Homological Algebra (1968) are included. Steenrod's work for the American Mathematical Society is represented by records (6 in.) of the Colloquium Committee (1962-1970) and the committees on Mathematical Reviews (1964-1966), the manual for authors (1959-1966), and the organization of the 1963 Summer Institute. Steenrod's interest in education is reflected in records of his work with the Mathematical Association of America's Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (1966-1969) and the preparation of his First Concepts of Topology, written with W. G. Chinn (1966) for the School Mathematics Study Group Monograph Panel. Smaller amounts of material document Steenrod's editing of the Annals of Mathematics (1962) and his attendence at the 1967 Summer Rencontres in Mathematics and Physics.
Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.
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Norman Earl Steenrod Papers, 1911, 1948-1970, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Processed by Frederic F. Burchsted in April 1986, revised by Burchsted in 1992 and again by Kristy Sorensen in 2003.
Detailed Description of the Papers