A Guide to the Leonard Gillman Papers, 1922-1924, 1945-2004
Leonard Gillman (1917-2009) was an American mathematician and president of the Mathematical Association of America. His mathematical interests included game theory, set theory, and topology.
After studying piano for five years at the Juilliard Graduate School of Music, Gillman received a BS in mathematics from Columbia University. He began graduate work in mathematics at Columbia, completing his coursework in 1943. From 1943 to 1951, he worked as an operations analyst for the Navy Department, first at Tufts University and then at MIT. In 1953, he finished his dissertation on set theory and received his PhD from Columbia. Gillman taught at Purdue from 1952 to 1958, then spent two years at the Institute for Advanced Study, on a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NSF Senior Post-Doctoral Fellowship. In 1960, he became chair of the mathematics department at the University of Rochester; that year also saw the publication of Rings of Continuous Functions, which he co-wrote with Meyer Jerison. In 1969, Gillman moved to the University of Texas at Austin, where he was chair from 1969 to 1973. He retired from teaching in 1987.
Throughout his career, Gillman was involved in mathematical organizations. He took on roles in many areas of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), serving as a Visiting Lecturer (1961-1969) and a member of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM) (1965-1968). He was elected MAA Treasurer in 1973, a position he held until his election for a two-year term as President in 1987. A fervent believer in the importance of clear writing, Gillman authored the booklet Writing Mathematics Well for the MAA in 1987. In 1999, the MAA awarded him the Gung-Hu Award for distinguished service to mathematics. Gillman was also an active member of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the School Mathematics Study Group (SMSG).
In addition to his mathematical work, Gillman remained a committed musician throughout his life. He performed as a pianist at several MAA-AMS annual meetings, in 1976 and 1980 with Louis Rowen, and in 1989 and 1992 with William Browder, as well as giving concerts at his home and other venues. He was also active in the Austin Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
Gillman married Reba Marcus in 1938, and they had two children, Michal and Jonathan.
Melvin Henriksen, “Leonard Gillman: An Interview,” Topological Commentary, 1999, http://at.yorku.ca/t/o/p/c/37.htm
“In Memoriam: Leonard Gillman,” UT General Faculty Memorial Resolution, 2009, http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2009-2010/memorials/gillman.html
The Leonard Gillman Papers document Gillman’s professional and personal life, including his career as a mathematician and professor and his involvement in mathematical organizations. Correspondence, notes, and clippings make up the bulk of the collection.
The Correspondence series (1945-1995) primarily documents his relationships with other mathematicians. The bulk of this series records his early career in the 1950s and 1960s, including his graduate work and time as a professor at the University of Rochester. Prominent correspondents include Paul Erdős, Paul Halmos, Melvin Henriksen, Meyer Jerison, Wacław Sierpiński, and Alfred Tarski. Both incoming and outgoing correspondence are included.
The Publications and Research series (1944-2004) includes correspondence, notes, drafts, clippings, and published articles, relating to his publications in scholarly and popular journals. These records provide evidence of Gillman’s range of interests, including game theory, calculus, mathematics education, and writing mathematics.
The Lectures series (1966-1994) demonstrates Gillman’s active schedule as a speaker (and sometimes pianist) at universities and conferences around the country. Included are correspondence, publicity materials, notes, and transparencies (photocopied for preservation) from Gillman’s talks.
The Mathematical Association of America series (1971-2002) documents his various roles in the MAA. The General files demonstrate his involvement as Treasurer and other roles, as well as his piano performances at MAA meetings. The President’s files include material from his 1987-1988 presidency.
The Personal and Biographical series (1922-1924, 1945-1991) includes a variety of materials from Gillman’s life, including curriculum vitae, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings about himself, and photos.
The Professional series (1960-1994) provides evidence of his work as a university professor, containing letters of appointment to his positions, documentation of his professional activities, and other activities he participated in at the University of Rochester and the University of Texas at Austin.
Finally, the Artifacts series (undated) contains Gillman’s academic regalia, including his blue hood and light blue and black robe.
Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.
Access to portions of this collection is restricted.
This collection is stored remotely at CDL. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.
Leonard Gillman Papers, 1922-1924, 1945-2004, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Elliot Williams, April 2013.
Detailed Description of the Papers