Paul Richard Halmos (1916-2006) is known for his work in operator theory, ergodic theory, and functional analysis, as well as 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 L. 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 American Mathematical Monthly (1982-1986) and

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.

In addition to his mathematical contributions and accomplishments, Halmos's interest in documenting his life and the people he encountered and befriended was well known. He took snapshots of friends and family, colleagues, places, and animals everywhere he went. Halmos’s hobby allowed him to capture images of some of the most prominent mathematicians of the second half of the twentieth century, often throughout their careers. Halmos left behind an archive of photographs that document his own life as well as the events and activities of other mathematicians during the last century.

Approximately 14,000 black and white, and color snapshots of mathematicians, colleagues, friends, family, and animals chronicle Paul Halmos’s professional and personal life. The main focus of the collection is the mathematicians he met and knew throughout his career. Among the prominent mathematicians represented in the collection are John von Neumann, Paul Erdős, George Pólya, Julia Robinson, and Joseph L. Doob. Other subjects particularly well represented are international and national conferences Halmos attended, and colleagues in university departments where he held appointments. Photographs of his personal life include his wife, travel, and daily life, and provide a backdrop for his professional life, both of which were often interconnected. Halmos identified the majority of the images on the reverse side of the pictures.

Included in the collection is an index (Index I) Halmos created for photographs he
took prior to 1987, the year

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.

The collection is arranged as follows:

Unrestricted access.

This collection is located at LSF. Contact repository for retrieval.

Paul R. Halmos Photograph Collection, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

See also the

This collection was processed by Carol Mead, November 2013.

The series is divided into 4 subseries. The first two, Mathematicians: Index I and Index II (see Scope and Content Note for information), are arranged alphabetically. The Miscellaneous, Oversize, and Photograph Albums subseries are arranged chronologically, while Published Works is in alphabetical order. The original order within each series generally has been retained to reflect the way in which Halmos kept the photographs.

Photographs that primarily feature Halmos.

Snapshots of colleagues and others during mathematics-related events and venues, including conferences, parties, and mathematics departments.

The series consists of photographs generally distinct from Halmos's professional activities. Subjects include trips and holidays with Virginia Halmos, friends, family, and pets.