William G. Chinn (1919-2004) was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He received his A.B. in Mathematics in 1941, and his M.A. in 1956, both from the University of California, Berkeley. Between completing his bachelor’s degree and beginning his master’s, he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces as an aide to General Eugene Lowry Eubank and as a meteorologist.

After WWII, he received his teaching credential (U.C. Berkeley, 1947). Chinn began working as a teacher for the San Francisco public school system at both the junior and senior high levels in 1947, and would continue to do so until 1965. During this time Chinn also served as a curriculum assistant for the San Francisco Unified Schools (1960-1963), a district consultant for the Monterey Unified School District (1960-1961), committee chairman of the California Mathematics Council (1956-1960), and as a special consultant to the California Office of Education (1965).

In 1966, Chinn took a post as an instructor of mathematics at the City College of San Francisco, where he would continue to work until his retirement in 1984. He was actively involved in the mathematics community, and was a member of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), the American Mathematical Society(AMS), and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), serving on several committees for each of those organizations. His profound interest in mathematics education led to his involvement with various organizations and councils, including the School Mathematics Study Group (1965-1977), the U.S. Commission on Mathematical Instruction (1973-1977), the NCTM’s Commission on Mathematics Education in the Inner City (1969-1972), and the MAA Committee on Two-Year Colleges.

In addition, Chinn published numerous articles, and co-authored several textbooks including Modern Mathematics: Structure and Method (1972), and Introductory Statistics and Probability: a basis for decision making (1971). He also served as an editor for the Two-Year College Mathematics Journal, the New Mathematical Library series, and as a contributing editor for Science World Magazine.

Correspondence, reports, memoranda, and publications document William G. Chinn’s interactions with and functions in several American mathematical organizations including the Mathematical Association of America, the School Mathematics Study Group, and the United States Commission on Mathematical Instruction (1959-1995). Galleys and manuscripts illuminate Chinn’s activities as an author of mathematics textbooks and journal articles, as well as his activities as a speaker at mathematics conferences. The bulk of the collection concerns Chinn’s involvement in mathematical organizations, with little material related to his personal life.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.

This collection is open for research.

This collection is stored remotely at CDL, except for the photographs, which are stored on site. Advance notice required for offsite boxes. Contact repository for retrieval.

William G. Chinn Papers, 1955-1995, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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This collection was processed by Beth Nettels, February 2010.