University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Geraldine A. Coon Papers, 1935-1996

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Coon, Geraldine A.
Title: Geraldine A. Coon Papers
Dates: 1935-1996
Abstract: The Geraldine A. Coon Papers (1935-1996) document Coon’s work as a mathematician in industrial and academic settings. The records include correspondence, drafts of lectures and publications, computer programs and outputs, and other materials.
Accession No.: 2013-105; 2015-194
Extent: 2 ft. 2 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Geraldine “Jerry” Alma Coon was an American applied mathematician and professor. After beginning her career as a research mathematician, she became a university professor, where she specialized in applied mathematics and computer science.

Coon was born in 1913, in North Stonington, Connecticut. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Connecticut College for Women in 1935 and a master’s degree in mathematics from Brown University in 1937. She worked as an instructor in shop mechanics for high school graduates at the Scovill Manufacturing Company in Waterbury, Connecticut, from 1939 to 1944. She then moved to Taylor Instrument Companies in Rochester, New York, where she was a research mathematician from 1944 to 1958. While working at Taylor Instrument, Coon received a PhD in mathematics from the University of Rochester in 1950. Her dissertation, entitled “The Double Laplace Transform and Its Application to Partial Differential Equations,” was overseen by Dorothy L. Bernstein.

After being laid off by Taylor Instrument Companies in 1958, Coon moved full-time to academia. She taught at the University of Connecticut from 1958 to 1964, during which time she spent a year at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University (1959-1960). In 1964, Coon moved to Goucher College, a women’s college in Maryland, where she remained until 1980. At Goucher, Coon was heavily involved in establishing computer science in the mathematics department and received several National Science Foundation grants to support both her own research and the acquisition of computer equipment by the college. She was also active in the Maryland-DC-Virginia Section of the Mathematical Association of America, serving as section chair from 1972 to 1975. Coon retired from Goucher in 1980, although she returned to teaching for one semester at Connecticut College in 1981.

After retiring, Coon moved to Connecticut with Dorothy Bernstein, her long-time companion, mathematical collaborator, and Goucher colleague. Coon passed away in 2008.

Scope and Contents

The Geraldine A. Coon Papers document Coon’s work as a mathematician in industrial and academic settings. The records include correspondence, drafts of lectures and published works, computer programs and outputs, and other materials. The collection is arranged into two series, Professional and Personal, both of which are further divided into sub-series.

The Professional series is comprised of five sub-series: Publications, Research, Correspondence, Lectures, and Faculty Activities. The Publications sub-series includes copies of Coon’s published work, both drafts and published versions. Several publications are included from her work at Taylor Instrument Companies. This sub-series also contains a large amount of material from a planned textbook entitled The Mathematical Basis of Numerical Analysis, which does not appear to have been published, including two nearly complete drafts and multiple drafts of various chapters. The Research sub-series depicts Coon’s research interests, with documents from her work at Taylor Instrument and Goucher College. The Correspondence sub-series primarily pertains to Coon’s efforts to find employment and contains details about her various positions. The Lectures sub-series includes copies of talks given by Coon, many of which pertain to the use of computers in undergraduate mathematics education. The Faculty Activities sub-series documents Coon’s activities as a professor at Goucher College, including materials regarding her teaching of computer science courses and her work administering a grant to purchase new computer equipment.

The Personal series is made up of three sub-series: Education, Vitae, and Correspondence. The Education sub-series contains materials from Coon’s graduate education, including her work at Brown University and the University of Rochester. Correspondence, transcripts, and copies of her thesis and dissertation are included. The Vitae sub-series includes copies of Coon’s curricula vitae and material she collected to document her professional activities. Lastly, the Correspondence sub-series contains some pieces of personal correspondence, including letters from Adlai Stevenson’s presidential campaigns in the 1950s and a letter from Goucher College following her retirement.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

The majority of these papers is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Coon, Geraldine A.
Subjects (Organizations)
Goucher College. Mathematics Department.
National Science Foundation
Scoville Manufacturing Company
Taylor Instrument Companies
University of Connecticut. Department of Mathematics.
Applied mathematics.
Computer science--Mathematics.
Mathematics--Computer-assisted instruction.
Mathematics--Study and teaching.
Numerical analysis.
Women in computer science
Women in mathematics
Baltimore County (Md.)
Rochester (N.Y.)

Related Material

See also the Bernstein (Dorothy L.) Papers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Geraldine A. Coon Papers, 1935-1996, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Elliot Williams, June 2013.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2013-105/1 Publications:
Reprints, 1953-1965
Correspondence and printed material, Process Instruments and Controls Handbook and Frequency Response for Process Control, 1959, undated
Frequency Response for Process Control, 1959
ISA Journal [Instrument Society of America], 1964
The Mathematical Basis of Numerical Analysis
"Program Systems OE EQ Ch 8," 1966-1968
"Full figures," 1970
"1971 summer originals," 1971
Publisher correspondence and contracts, 1972-1975
"11.7 Euler - Maclaurin Sum Formula," 1973
"14 ODE 1973 NG," 1973
"Program Romberg," 1973, undated
Modified Euler method, 1974, undated
"Output 9/24/74," 1974
Table of contents, October 1974
"Table of contents," 1974
Full draft I, 1975
Full draft II, 1975
11-38 - 11-42, undated
"Appendix A2 & A3," undated
"Answers to exercises," undated
"Bibliography," undated
Chapter 2: A Basic Iteration Process, undated
Chapter 6: Interpolating Polynomials, undated
"Chapter 6 notes," undated
Chapter 6: Numberical Solution of Polynomial Equations and notes, undated
Chapter 7: Numerical Integration, undated
Chapter 11 exercises, undated
"Chap 14 174," undated
"15 Num Sol of DE" [handwritten calculations], undated
"Chapter 15 final," undated
Flowcharts and programs, undated
"Flow charts for book," undated
"Good figures," undated
Handwritten draft pages, undated
[Loos pages], undated
[Loose pages, Chapters 1, 12, 13, 15], undated
[Loose pages, Chapters 9 and 11, Appendix A, and notes], undated
[Loose pages, exercises and notes], undated
[Loose pages, exercises and projects], undated
Preface and table of contents, undated
2013-105/2 Research:
Taylor Instrument Companies [includes clippings and Frequency Response course material], 1946-1958
Research memos, Taylor Instrument, 1947, 1950
"Probability" bound copied notes [course taught by Dorothy Bernstein?], 1953-1954
National Science Foundation research proposal, circa 1961
2.325/U507 Computer programs and outputs, 1962-1963
2015-153/1 Undergraduate Research Participation program, 1964-1966
National Science Foundation Science faculty, 1967-1968
Instructional Scientific Equipment Program, 1978
National Science Foundation news release, 1979
2013-105/2 Notes and calculations, unidentified, 1980
2015-153/1 National Science Foundation Local Course Improvement, 1981
2013-105/2 "Computer Graphics in Mathematics," undated
Job search, 1937-1943
Scovill Manufacturing Company, 1939-1949
Taylor Instrument Companies position, 1944
Institute of Mathematical Sciences, 1958-1959
"Job hunting 1958" [includes notes about possible positions], 1958
University of Connecticut position, 1958
Harvey Mudd College, 1961
Goucher College position, 1962-1979
2015-153/1 Letters of thanks from the MAA, 1978
2013-105/2 Goucher mathematics award, 1980-1982, 1996
Connecticut College position, 1981-1982
"The Relevance of the MAA to Our Section Colleges and Junior Colleges," 1968
"Women in Mathematics," circa 1972-1973
"The Use of Computers as Teaching Aids in Mathematics Courses," circa 1977
"Computer Graphics in a Small Mathematicss Department," undated
"Mathematics in Computing," undated
2.325/V8 Faculty activities:
Goucher students' work, images, circa 1960s-1970s
2013-105/2 Apple grant 585-3, 1979-1980
Mathematics at Goucher, 1888-1979, 1980
"Teaching computer classes," undated



2013-105/2 Education:
Papers and exams, 1935, 1948, undated
Brown University, 1937-1939
MS thesis, "Differential Properties of Quadratic Surfaces," 1937
Sigma Xi, 1949-1952
Dissertation, "The Double Laplace Transform and Its Application to Partial Differential Equations," 1950
Transcripts, 1949-1958
Biographical sketch, "Pre-Goucher," circa 1958
Vitae and supplemental material, 1966-1981, undated
Stevenson, Adlai, 1952, 1956
Goucher College "mini biography," 1993