University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Joseph B. Kruskal Papers, 1926-2003

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Kruskal, Joseph B., 1928-2010
Title: Joseph B. Kruskal Papers
Dates: 1926-2003
Abstract: The Joseph B. Kruskal Papers, 1926-2003, document Kruskal’s professional career as a mathematician and statistician. Materials include correspondence, notes, printed material, film, and other material.
Accession No.: 2012-142
Extent: 9 ft., 6 in.
Language: Materials are primarily written in English, with small amounts of material in French, German, Italian, and Czech.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Joseph B. Kruskal, Jr. was born in 1928, in New York City. He completed his BS (1948) and MS (1949), both in mathematics, at the University of Chicago. He earned his PhD in mathematics at Princeton University in 1954. During the 1950s, Kruskal also worked in logistical research for the US Office of Naval Research, first at George Washington University’s Logistical Research Project (1950-1953), then at Princeton’s Analytical Research Project (1954-1956). He then taught for three years at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and the University of Wisconsin - Ann Arbor. In 1959, he left teaching to conduct research at Bell Laboratories, in Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he would work for the rest of his career. He officially retired from Bell Labs in 1993, but continued to conduct research there for several years after.

Although trained in pure mathematics, Kruskal’s work at Bell Labs encouraged him to explore statistics, computer science, and various other areas of applied mathematics. His major areas of research and publication included: combinatorics; well-partial-ordered sets (the subject of his doctoral dissertation); multidimensional scaling (MDS) and its applications to various fields, particularly linguistics; psychometrics; and sequence comparison. While at Bell Labs, he worked on TAT-8, the first transatlantic fiber optic cable system. In addition to his research, Kruskal lectured frequently, communicated with other scholars about statistical methodology, and advised graduate students from around the world. He was the second president of the Classification Society of North America (1972-1973) and president of the Psychometric Society (1974-1975). He was named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in 1971 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1982.

Kruskal’s two older brothers, William and Martin, were also well-known mathematicians. Kruskal married his wife, Rachel Solomon, in 1953, and the couple had two children, Joyce and Benjamin. He passed away in 2010.

Scope and Contents

The Joseph B. Kruskal Papers, 1926-2003, document Kruskal’s professional career as a mathematician and statistician. Materials include correspondence, notes, printed material, film, and other material.

The most extensive portion of the collection is the Research Files (1926-2003). This series is divided into topical files, files by person (including collaborators and those whose work Kruskal was studying), linguistics, and documentation of computer programs Kruskal developed at Bell Labs. Correspondence, reprints, drafts, and notes are included in this series.

The records of his Seminars and Presentations (1953-1997) include notes, transparency slides, and other materials from talks he gave at Bell Labs, conferences, and universities. The many transparency slides, or “viewgraphs,” were photocopied for preservation purposes and the originals discarded.

Kruskal’s Correspondence (1950-2001), arranged chronologically, documents his professional life, communications with other researchers in various fields, and the operations of Bell Labs. Included are both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Of particular note are several letters to and from Paul Erdős, dated 1953, 1954, and 1960.

His Education and Teaching files (1948-1958) include student materials, particularly class notes, and materials from his short teaching career, including handouts, quizzes, and tests. His class notes from the University of Chicago and Princeton University include notes from lectures by S. Bochner, N. Steenrod, and R. Fox, among others.

The Organizational files (1970-1981) document his work with professional organizations, namely the Classification Society (North America Branch), Psychometric Society, Committee of Concerned Scientists, as well as a workshop he helped run on multidimensional scaling techniques.

Finally, the collection includes four films (1968, undated), in various formats.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

The bulk of these records are stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Kruskal, Joseph B., 1928-2010
Dyen, Isidore, 1913-2008
Rado, Richard, 1906-1989
Subjects (Organizations)
Bell Labs Innovations
Princeton University
University of Michigan
University of Wisconsin--Madison
Combinatorial analysis
Multidimensional scaling

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Joseph B. Kruskal Papers, 1926-2003, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Elliot Williams, September 2012.

Detailed Description of the Papers


Research Files

2012-142/1 (18083915) BuMed [Bureau of Medicine and Surgery], 1951
ABEL, 1951
Well partial ordering and Vazsonyi’s Conjecture, 1952, 1954
Well-partial-order and Rado’s Conjecture, 1954-1955
WPO [Well-partial-order] – Rado Paper, 1957
Talk on WPO [Well-partial-order], 1959
Assorted WPO [Well-partial-order] stuff, summer 1959, 1959
Tree theorem, undated
Paper on WQO and V.'s [Vazsonyi's] conjecture, 1957
WQO [Well-quasi-ordering], undated
WQO [Well-quasi-ordering] and Rado's conjecture, 1959?, circa 1959
W.Q.O. [Well-quasi-ordering], 1937-1970
Induced represetnations, Mackey..., circa 1951
Whitney's theorem, 1954
Papers of mine: Rhine's E.S.P.; Divorce stat. [statistics], undated
2012-142/2 (18083926) Random walk on triangular grid, undated
Some work on words over k-relation spaces, undated
Monotonicity records, 1955, undated
Misc. monot. [monotonicity] work, 1950
Copies of "Monotonic Subsequences," 1953
Integrality paper, with Alan Hoffman, 1955-1956
Second Hoffman paper, 1955-1956
Polya's theorem, 1956
Spanning subtree and travelling salesman paper, 1956
Shortest spanning subtree, 1938-1985
Free calc. paper: Early or auxiliary material, undated
Free calc. paper: Active, undated
Talk on free calculus, undated
Group theory calculation on the IBM 650, 1957
Knots - Numerical computations, undated
S0RT, 1963
Nonmetric multidimensional scaling, 1964
2012-142/3 (18083904) Work on monotonic regressions..., circa 1965
Monotone tree-fitting, 1973
Transformations of data (Encyclopedia article), 1968
Transformations of data, International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, 1966-1968
Singular value decomposition, 1970
Differentiation of the singular value decomposition, undated
Some improvements in parametric mapping, 1973
Locally linear and locally isometric mapping, 1975
Encyclopedia of Statistics article on MDS, 1977
Bilinear methods, 1978
Letter to Science re credit for tomography, 1979-1980
Tomography paper with Shepp, 1979
Some least-squares theorems..., 1978
An elegant new/old approach to estimating path models..., 1979
3-way stuff, 1977, 1983, undated
2x2x2 paper, 1983-1985
2x2x2, 1985, 1987
3-way ranks papers on, 1977-1981
2012-142/4 (18083777) Max rank (3, 3, 3)=5, 1977, 1983, 1991
3-way arrays, background work, 1982-1983
Three-way array, 1983-1991
3-way, Rome meeting, current work, undated
Miscellaneous work on multimode data, 1934-1940, undated
3-way arrays: Spaces of matrices..., 1976-1984
Three-way: Papers to read, 1984
Three-way: Misc. papers read, 1980-1986
3-way literature, 1977, 1980-1984
Paper for Current Contents, 1977-1979
A trigraph cipher with a short key..., 1984
2012-142/5 (18083948) Trigraph code, 1984
Designing network diagrams, undated
Co-citations and the geography of a scientific specialty, undated
Sankoff and Kruskall, Fast algorithms to determine RNA..., undated
Rome meeting, TM1: Rank, decomposition..., 1988
Rome meeting, TM2: Kruskal, Harshman, and Lundy, 1988
Rome proceedings, Paper 1: Rank, decomposition..., 1988
Rome proceedings, Paper 2: By Kruskal, Harshman, and Lundy, 1988
Rome meeting, Multiway '88, viewgraphs, 1988
TAT-8 Memo, 1987
Nonlinear temperature correction for TAT-8..., 1987
Technometrics paper, TAT-8, 1988-1989
Kruskal and Greenberg, Flexible way of counting..., 1986
Kruskal and Cox, Similarity matching, 1989
With Cox, TM2, High-accuracy subpixel registration, 1988
Robotics paper with Cox, TM1, 1988
Laser paper, 1990
Cox and Kruskal, Paper 4, Matching an image..., 1991
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, undated
2012-142/6 (18083959) Clustering of stars, 1997
Other papers [1 of 2], 1971-1977
Other papers [2 of 2], 1969, 1976, 1984, 1988, undated
By Person
2012-142/6 (18083959) Akkucuk, Ulas, 2003
Anderson, Norman, 1969, 1975-1978
Aumann, Robert, 1957
Boruvka, O., 1926-1956
Brockett, Roger W., 1975-1976
Cane, Violet, undated
Carroll, J. Douglas, 1988
Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., 1980, 1993
De Leeuw, Jan, 1970-1976
2012-142/7 (18083937) Dobkin, David: 3-way arrays, 1976-1984
Eckhoff and Wegner, 1973
Edwards, Jack, 1968, 1975
Franc, Alain, 1988-1991
Graham, R.L., 1982-1983
Harshman, Richard, 1992-1993, undated
Katona, Gyula, 1969-1976
Kronenberg, P., 1996
Kunzl, Hans-Peter, 1997, undated
Lagarias, Jeff (Math, Bell Labs), 1980
Lautemann, Clemens, 1979-1980, 1983
Laver, Richard, 1970-1976
Lescanne, Pierre, 1991, undated
Levenbach, George (Archaeology), 1976
Lumelsky, V., 1976, 1980
Mayberry, John P. (Jim), 1967, 1976
Puel, Laurence: JSC Paper, 1986-1988
2012-142/8 (18083835) Puel, Laurence: JSC Paper, Report 3, 1988
Rado, Richard, 1954-1961
Rocci, Roberto, 1991-1993
Rosenberg, S., 1972, 1980, undated
Savage, L.J., 1961-1971
Schmidt, Diana, 1978
Schroeder, Manfred, 1965
Seymour, Paul, 1982
Shepard, Roger, 1962-1988
ten Berge, Jos, 1988-1997
Tucker, Ledyard, 1965, 1972
Van Leeuwen, Jan, 1976
Vyssotsky, 1959
Williams, J. (Writing style), 1981
2012-142/9 (18083846) Dyen, Isidore [1 of 2], 1974, 1992-1998
Dyen, Isidore [2 of 2], 1992-1998
Linguistics, particularly box diagrams, undated
Explanation of MDS and of Swadesh method, undated
Lecture at Hoenigswald's meeting, undated
Mathematical models of glottochronology, undated
Viewgraphs, undated
Isidore Dyen, Lexico-statistics, 1969-1972
Black, Paul, 1973-1975
Dobson, A.J., Australia, 1971-1978
Hoenigswald, Henry M., 1974
Labov, William, 1973-1974
Historical linguistics reprints, miscellaneous authors, 1973-1974
Oswalt, Robert, 1973-1975, 1979
Oswalt, Basic data, etc. on remote linguistics relationships, 1979-1980
Linguistic paper [Lexicostatistical Model], 1971
MDS of languages, viewgraphs, 1973, undated
Fig. 1 for IE [Indo-European] Paper, 1974
Dyen-Kruskal-Black box diagram [Preservation photocopies of original oversize wrappings], undated
2.325/AA Dyen-Kruskal-Black box diagram ["1973 version - Original"], 1973
Dyen-Kruskal-Black box diagram ["1974 version"], 1974
Dyen-Kruskal-Black box diagram ["No group names, Two character labels"], undated
Computer Programs
2012-142/10 (18083857) Documents for Use with the Multidimensional Scaling Package, circa 1974
How to Use KYST-2A, circa 1982-1983
MDS-2, circa 1984
Icicle Plot Package for Hierarchical Clustering, 1985
Designing Network Diagrams, undated
MDS [correspondence], 1992


Seminars and Presentations

2012-142/11 (18083868) Computing machines, circa 1953
Talk on 371 Malayo-Polynesian languages, 1969
Talk on bimodality, 1971
Talk at the Acoustical Society, 1971
Columbia, Talk on scaling, 1971
Variable rules in language, 1972
Rapid lexical change talk, 1973
Yale linguistics talk, 1974
Multilinear least-squares talk, undated
Berkeley linguistics talk, 1974
Talk on designing network diagrams, undated
Teachers College lecture, MDS, 1978
IRIA MDS lecture, 1979
IRIA path models lecture, 1979
Rietz lecture, 1979
Talk at Classification Society meeting, Boulder, 1980
Lecture on secondary structure of RNA, 1981
Sequence comparison Bell Labs lecture, 1981
Harshman, Kruskal, Lundy talk, St. Johns, 1981
AMS short course, Multilinear models (Viewgraphs), 1982
2012-142/12 (18083960) Talk at Courant Institute, "Monotonic sequences...," 1982
Michigan math prize competition [viewgraphs], 1982
Talk on time-warping, ASA meeting, Cincinnati, 1982
Viewgraphs, undated
NJ-MAA meeting, Sequence comparison, 1982
Georgia lecture, Sequence comparison, 1982
Talk as ASA meeting, Toronto, 1983
ASA Delaware chapter, Sequence comparison, 1983
3-way arrays talk, Bell Labs, 1983
PARAFAC talk, Psychometric meeting, 1983
University of Virginia lecture, Sequence comparison, 1984
Anthology of Algorithms, viewgraphs and figures, undated
Time-warping chapter, viewgraphs, undated
Overview of sequence comparison chapter, viewgraphs, undated
Fast algorithms to predict RNA secondary secture, some viewgraphs, undated
Biomedical meeting, NIH, 1984
Clusters of languages: Checking the variance, 1987
TAT-8 trilevel talk, undated
3-level talk and new talk (Joint work with Cox), 1988
SISFAC talk, Psychometric meeting, 1988
Tampa talk [Work with Cox], 1989
Trip to Columbia [Matching noisy images], undated
Trilinear analysis, Talk for Burdick's group at Duke, undated
Trip to [illegible], Handouts, 1991
AARHUS talk, 1997
How to talk mathematics, undated
2012-142/13 (18083824) Viewgraphs [Assorted], undated
Computation and complicated models..., 1964
Score-free analysis on non-metric data, 1964
Analysis of factorial experiments..., 1964
Talk given to the assorted statisticians of Cambridge, 1965
Talk on perception of Morse code..., 1965
Multidimensional scaling, other models..., 1965
Talk on Morse code, 1965
Talk on E.S.S. dictionary and coordinates approach, 1965
Talk for Math. Association of America, 1966
Symposium on "The Human Use of Computing Machines," 1966
Yale Psychology Colloquium 2, 1966
Clusteriness index talk, 1969
Talk for Statistics Day, Bell Labs, 1973
2012-142/14 (18083879) Brock linguistics talk, 1974
Zürich lecture on 3-way decomposition, 1975
Least-squares theorem, 1977
Tomography talk, 1977
Teachers' College taped lecture on MDS, 1978
Talk before London seminar, circa 1984
MDS Workshop, Special problems talk, undated
MDS Workshop, Statistical aspects talk, undated
Second International Symposium on Multivariate Analysis, undated
Suppose you have this data..., undated
3 MDS lectures, undated
Lecture delivered in French at Marseilles, undated
2012-142/15 (18084066) Talk at Madison..., undated
Multidimensional scaling and clustering, undated
Talk on rank of 3-way arrays, undated
Isomorphism problem, undated
Some novel uses of geometry..., undated
Talk on the analysis of variance, undated



2012-142/15 (18084066) 1953 and before, 1950-1953
Circa 57-58, 1956-1958
2012-142/16 (18083880) 1964 [1 of 2], 1964
1964 [2 of 2], 1964-1965
1964 and later, 1964-2001
1965 up to April 30, January-April 1965
1965 May 1 to Oct. 31, May-October 1965
1965 during trip to England, April-August 1965
1965 Nov. 1 on, November-December 1965
Chronological File, Yale, 1966-1967
1966 January 1 to June 31, January-June 1966
1966 July 1 to Sept. 31, July-September 1966
1966 Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, October-December 1966
2012-142/17 (18083890) 1967 Jan. 1 to June 30, January-June 1967
1967 July 1 to October middle, July-October 1967
1967 October middle to end, October-December 1967
2012-142/17 (18083890) 1968 January thru March, January-March 1968
1968 April thru July, April-July 1968
1968 August thru Dec. 31, August-December 1968
1969 Jan. 1 thru June 30, January-June 1969
1969 July 1 through Dec. 31, July-December 1969
Wolfgang Hartmann, 1982-1984
2012-142/18 (18083788) Chronological: Permanent, [1 of 2] 1981-1991
Chronological: Permanent, [2 of 2] 1981-1991
English Trip, 1965
Professional papers from trip to England, 1965
Romania trip [1 of 2], 1970
Romania trip [2 of 2], 1970
Trip to Israel, Summer 1974
Assorted Notes, Correspondence, and Figures, 1973, 1985-1997, undated


Education and Teaching

2012-142/18 (18083788) Transcripts, 1948-1956
Notebook: "n^3⋅3⋅3⋅3…,” undated
Notebook: Math 368, undated
Notebook: "Lemma - If K...," undated
2012-142/19 (18083799) Notebook: Physics 220, 1948
Notes: Math 385, Axiomatic Homology Theory, undated
Notebook: Math 385, Notebook II, 1949
Notebook: "Method for finding such formulas...," undated
Notebook: Math 228/Math 385, undated
Notebooke: Math 371/Math 368, undated
Bochner's real variables, undated
Bochner real variables II, undated
Axiomatic homology notes, 2nd half, 1949
Steenrod's algebraic topology, undated
Homotopy, undated
Elementary talk on knot theory, undated
Fox notes, 1955-1956
Fox stuff, 1956, undated
2012-142/20 (18083802) Discrete groups and their presentations, Fox lectures, 1955
Old thesis material [1 of 2], undated
Old thesis material [2 of 2], undated
Universities of Michigan and Wisconsin: General, 1956-1959
University of Wisconsin: Math 218, Topology, 1958
University of Wisconsin: Math 218, Extra material, 1958
2012-142/21 (18084055) Mathematics 113: Complete notes, problems, answers, tests, 1958
MATH 113, Sec. 1, 1958



2012-142/21 (18084055) Classification Society, Meeting invitations, 1970
Classification Society, 1971, London, Canada, 1971
Classification Society, 1970, 1971, and 1972 meetings, 1970-1972
Classification Society, Third annual meeting, 1972
Committee of Concerned Scientists, Sunday Seminar, 1981
MDS-W [Multidimensional Scaling Workshop], 1971-1972
Pyschometric Society, Committee on charges by Guttman and Schönemann, 1976-1979



4RM226 35 mm spliced movie, undated
Kruskal - M.A.A. Movie - Copy 1, undated
Multidimensional Scaling, Kruskal - M.A.A. Movie - Copy 2, undated
Multidimensional Scaling, 16 mm, 1968