University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Walter Feit Papers, 1933-2005

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Feit, Walter, 1930-
Title: Walter Feit Papers
Dates: 1933-2005
Abstract: 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.” Correspondence and other printed material, including preprints, reprints and manuscripts, make up the bulk of this collection.
Accession No.: 2005-122
Extent: 3 ft., 4in.
Laguage: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

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

Scope and Contents

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


Access Restrictions

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.

Index Terms

Brauer, Richard, 1901-
Feit, Walter, 1930-
Serre, Jean Pierre, 1926-
Thompson, John Griggs, 1932-
Feit-Thompson theorem
Finite groups

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

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

Detailed Description of the Papers



4RM119 E-mails with Jean-Pierre Serre, 2000-2005
4RM85 Restricted: Serre e-mail file, 3.5" disk, 2000-2005
4RM119 With John-Pierre Serre, 1971-2000 and undated
With John G. Thompson:
4RM120 1984-1985
4RM121 Email, undated
4RM85 Restricted:
E-mail, undated
Thompson-Feit e-mail, 3.5" disk, undated
4RM121 Feedback sent to authors, 1991-1995
Hardy Lectures, 1992-1993
Journal of Algebra, 1984-1991
Nomination of Efim Zelmanov for a Fields Medal, 1991-1992 and undated
With publishers, 1971-1981 and undated
[Rackham School of Graduate Studies], 1988 and undated
4RM112 Three photos of Walter Feit, undated
4RM121 Incoming, 1963-1985
General correspondence, 1954-1997 and undated
4RM55a Computer printout of decomposition matrices from Concordia University Computer Center, November 2, 1979
4RM122 General correspondence, 1954-1997 and undated



4RM122 "Applications of the Classification of Simple Groups to Mondromy," undated
Foreword to the papers on finite group theory in Burnside's collected works, undated
"A New Congruence for the Ramanujan Function [?]," undated
[Untitled manuscript], undated



4RM122 "Classifying the Finite Simple Groups," Daniel Gorenstein, 1989 and undated
"Defect Groups in the Theory of Representations of Finite Groups," Richard Brauer, 1969
"On Groups of Odd Order," undated
"A Solvability Criterion for Groups of Odd Order," undated



4RM123 1950s, 1953-1959
1960s, 1960-1967
1970s, 1970-1979
1980s, 1980-1989
4RM124 1990s, 1990-1999
2000s, 2000-2003
[Undated], undated
“Solvability of Groups of Odd Order” in Pacific Journal of Mathematics, Volume 13, No. 3, Fall 1963



4RM113 Restricted: Feit lecture, digital videocassette, undated
4RM124 Group Theory Seminar lectures, 1960-1961, 1961
History of Algebra Symposium, 1975
4RM9a History of Algebra Symposium, two audiocassettes, 1975
4RM124 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 1972-1974
Proceedings of Symposia in Pure Mathematics, Volume IV: 1960 Institute on Finite Groups, 1962
Proceedings of the Third Pan-African Congress of Mathematicians (August 20-28, 1991, Nairobi Kenya), 1991


Conferences, delegations and visiting appointments:

4RM124 All Souls College, 1988-1990
Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People's Republic of China, 1977
Newton Institute, 1995-1997 and undated
George Seligman's Birthday Conference on Structure and Representation Theory of Lie Algebras, 1990-1992
Thompson Conference, 2002 and undated

4RM125 Interview with Walter Feit in Matemática Universitária, 1987-1988

4RM125 "A Short History of the Burnside Problem," undated

4RM125 Daniel Gorenstein, 1992 and undated

4RM127 Restricted: Geoffrey Robinson, 1984-1993 and undated

4RM125 National Science Foundation, Division of Mathematical Sciences, Awards in algebra and number theory, 1987-1988

4RM125 Tributes and dedications, 1989-1990, 2003 and undated

4RM125 Early years, 1941-1944, 2000

4RM125 Feit Memorial Service, October 10, 2004
4RM85 Restricted: Feit Memorial Service, CD-ROM, October 10, 2004

4RM125 Memorials [includes obituaries], 1994-2004

4RM125 Odd and interesting [includes correspondence and printed matter], 1955, 1983-1996


Brauer materials:

4RM125 Correspondence, 1954-1977
[Technical report], undated
Gottnigen, 1964-1965, undated
Lectures, undated
Differential equations, undated
Unsolved problems - NY, undated
[Notes for C], undated
Unsolved problems - Bowdoin, undated
Unsolved problems, undated
Early talks, 1946 and undated
Lectures, class, etc., 1933-1939 and undated
4RM126 Unsolved problems, undated
[Untitled paper with corrections], undated
"On finite projective groups," 1979 and undated
[Assorted notes], undated
Class notes:
Rings and Algebras, undated
Galois Theory, undated