Walter Feit, 1930-2004, was a pure mathematician who contributed to algebra, geometry, topology, number theory and logic and was co-author of one of the most influential papers ever written on finite group theory, “Solvability of Groups of Odd Order.” Feit was born in Vienna, but in 1939 he fled Austria for England via KinderTransport. In 1946, Feit left England for the United States to live with family in Florida. Soon after, he entered the University of Chicago and earned both his BA and Master’s degree in 1951. Feit did his Ph.D. work at the University of Michigan and joined the mathematics faculty at Cornell University in 1953. In 1964, Feit joined the mathematics faculty of Yale University, where he remained for 40 years, until his retirement in 2003. While his most famous result is the proof of the Feit-Thompson theorem, completed jointly with John G. Thompson, Feit wrote and published extensively over the years, working in finite group theory and modular character theory.

Walter Feit was awarded the Cole Prize by the American Mathematical Society in 1965 for his work with Thompson and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences (1977) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Feit also served as Vice-President of the International Mathematical Union.

A digital version of Walter Feit’s Memorial Service
can be found online at

Correspondence and other printed material, including preprints, reprints and manuscripts, make up the bulk of this collection. The collection contains a wealth (9 in.) of correspondence between Feit and John G. Thompson, primarily mathematical in nature, but also covering more personal topics. Papers, preprints and reprints comprise approximately 10 inches of the collection, although most reprints are included in duplicate, when available. Of particular biographical relevance are the materials related to Walter Feit’s memorial service, as they include memoirs of his life in Vienna and England.

Also included in the collection are materials from Richard Brauer (1901-1977), mathematician and Walter Feit’s mentor. Of note are bound class notes given to Feit by a student of Brauer.

Original file titles were retained when possible. File titles created by the archivist are enclosed in square brackets.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics

Restricted access. Materials from Geoffrey Robinson are restricted as they pertain to yet to be published matters. Portions of the correspondence have been restricted until 2020. Digital media is also restricted. All other materials are unrestricted.

Walter Feit Papers, 1933-2005, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.