Paul Richard Halmos (1916-2006) is known for his work in operator theory, ergodic theory, and functional analysis, as well as his mathematical exposition and his teaching style. His major teaching positions were at the University of Chicago (1946-1960), the University of Michigan (1961-1967), Indiana University (1969-1985), and Santa Clara University (1985-1996), where he was Professor Emeritus until his death in 2006.

Halmos was born March 3, 1916, in Budapest, Hungary. He came to the United States in 1929 and attended high school in Chicago. In 1931, at the age of 15, he entered the University of Illinois, intending to study chemical engineering, and graduated three years later (1934) with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and philosophy. Halmos then entered graduate school at the University of Illinois in order to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy. After failing the oral comprehensive exam for the master’s degree, he changed the focus of his graduate studies and registered as a student in the department of mathematics. Halmos earned his doctorate in mathematics under Joseph Doob in 1938.

Following the completion of his doctorate, Halmos served as John von Neumann's assistant at the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS) (1939-1942), a post that led to the publication of his first book,

Halmos served as editor of several publications, including the Mathematical Association of America’s

He received the Steele Prize for exposition from the American Mathematical Society in 1983 and the Distinguished Teacher Award from the Mathematical Association of America in 1993. Halmos was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000, he was awarded the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics by the Mathematical Association of America, the organization’s most prestigious award for service.

Correspondence, notes, lectures, publications, and teaching materials (1915-2006) document the mathematical career of Paul R. Halmos as a teacher, editor of mathematical publications, and as an author and lecturer. Arranged in nine series representing Halmos’s teaching and professional activities, his work with mathematical organizations, his research notes and travel diaries, and his work as author and lecturer. The Teaching/Professional series consists of course notes used by Halmos for teaching, correspondence concerning employment and relations with the mathematics department of which he was part, awards, and student dissertations. Halmos’s role as editor of the

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.

Access to portions of this collection are restricted. Contact repository for further information.

A small portion of these papers is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.

Paul R. Halmos Papers, 1915-2006, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Some material has been separated to the Paul Halmos Photograph Collection.

See also

This collection was processed by Kristy Sorensen. Subsequent revisions were made by Beth Nettels, April 2010.

The collection was rehoused in June 2013 by Elliot Williams. The intellectual order was maintained, but most folders were moved into new boxes. A copy of the previous finding aid is available upon request to compare box numbers for specific folders.