Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series 1. Professional

Series 2. Personal

University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Paul R. Halmos Photograph Collection, 1907-2003



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Halmos, Paul R.
Title: Paul R. Halmos Photograph Collection Collection
Dates: 1907-2003
Abstract: The Paul R. Halmos Photograph Collection (1907-2003) consists of approximately 14,000 snapshots of mathematicians, colleagues, friends, family, and animals that chronicle Paul Halmos’s professional and personal life.
Accession No.: 2008-325
Extent: 30 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

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, Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces, in 1942. After working at the IAS, Halmos taught soldiers in the Army's Specialized Training Program at Syracuse University before moving to the University of Chicago, followed by the University of Michigan. After one year as the mathematics department chair at the University of Hawaii (1967-1968), he began a professorship at Indiana University, where he would stay until 1985, with the exception of two years spent at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1975-1977). In 1985, he moved to Santa Clara University where he worked until his retirement in 1996. In addition to these posts, Halmos held visiting appointments at the University of Montevideo, Uruguay (1951-1952), the University of Miami (1965-1966), and the University of Washington (1959), among others.

Halmos served as editor of several publications, including the Mathematical Association of America’s American Mathematical Monthly (1982-1986) and Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society (1958-1963). For the Van Nostrand publishing company he edited the University Series in Undergraduate Mathematics. Halmos also served as editor for the Ergebnisse der Mathematik und ihrer Grenzgebiete series and Graduate Texts in Mathematics series published by Springer-Verlag.

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.

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Scope and Contents

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 I Have a Photographic Memory was published, in which over 600 of the snapshots were printed. The index lists the information recorded on the back of the photographs, including the last names of the people, the year, and place, and a number unique to each photograph. There is also a companion index (Index II) that Halmos’s colleague at Santa Clara University, Gerald Alexanderson, created that records the same information, where known, for the photographs of mathematicians taken after 1987.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged as follows:
  • Series 1. Professional
    • a. Mathematicians: Index I
    • b. Mathematicians: Index II
    • c. Miscellaneous
    • d. Photograph Albums
    • e. Published Works
  • Series 2. Personal

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

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

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Ambrose, Warren Arthur, 1914-
Blackwell, David, 1919-2010
Doob, Joseph L.
Erdős, Paul, 1913-1996
Halmos, Paul R. (Paul Richard), 1916-2006
Pólya, George, 1887-1985
Robinson, Julia, 1919-1985
Taussky, Olga
Von Neumann, John, 1903-1957
Subjects (Organizations)
American Mathematical Society
Indiana University, Bloomington. Department of Mathematics
International Congress of Mathematicians
Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, N.J.)
Mathematical Association of America
Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach
Santa Clara University (Calif.)
University of Chicago. Department of Mathematics
University of St. Andrews
Wabash College
Subjects
Banach spaces
Ergodic theory
Linear algebras
Mathematics
Mathematics--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States
Topology
Places
Ann Arbor (Mich.)
Bloomington (Ind.)
Budapest (Hungary)
Chicago (Ill.)
Crawfordsville (Ind.)
Montevideo (Uruguay)
Oberwolfach (Germany)
Santa Clara (Calif.)
Budapest (Hungary)

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Related Material

See also the Paul R. Halmos Papers

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

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

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Carol Mead, November 2013.

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Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Series 1. Professional

Series Abstract
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.
Mathematicians: Index I
Box
2008-325/1 Aa-Barria
Box
2008-325/2 Barnes-Bow
Box
2008-325/3 Brace-Christie
Box
2008-325/4 Chuaqui-Davis
Box
2008-325/5 Davis-Epstein
Box
2008-325/6 Epstein-Gaines
Box
2008-325/7 Gajendragadhker-Greenberg
Box
2008-325/8 Greenough-Hilton
Box
2008-325/9 Himmelman-Kahan
Box
2008-325/10 Kahane-Kriete
Box
2008-325/11 Krishnan-Longyear
Box
2008-325/12 Loomis-McGregor
Box
2008-325/13 McHara-Nagy
Box
2008-325/14 Naimark-Pearcy
Box
2008-325/15 Robinson-Schreiber
Box
2008-325/16 Robinson-Schreiber
Box
2008-325/17 Schreiber-Spanier
Box
2008-325/18 Spanier-Thompson
Box
2008-325/19 Thompson-Wallace
Box
2008-325/20 Wallen-Xu
Box
2008-325/21 Yang-Zygmund
Mathematicians: Index II
Box
2008-325/21 Index I, compiled by Paul Halmos
Index II, compiled by Gerald Alexanderson
Box
2008-325/22 Abbott-Bierstedt
Box
2008-325/23 Bing-Cusik
Box
2008-325/24 Dadók-Ferrell
Box
2008-325/25 Feynman-Hamburger
Box
2008-325/26 Hamming-Kjellersteat
Box
2008-325/27 Klamkin-McMullen
Box
2008-325/28 Meadows-Pietsch
Box
2008-325/29 Piquo-Shapiro
Box
2008-325/30 Sharply-Summerhill
Box
2008-325/31 Sunden-Whidden
Box
2008-325/32 Wielandt-Zygmund
Mathematicians: Paul Halmos

Note: Photographs that primarily feature Halmos.
Box
2008-325/39 General
1942-1973
1974-1980
1981
1982-1990; 1998; undated
Selected by Halmos
“Beardless,” portraits, circa 1950-1960
“Special,” 1970-1980
Publicity photographs, 1983, 1987, circa 1980s, undated
Photographs related to Paul and Virginia Halmos’s $3 million gift to the MAA for the Carriage House restoration, 2002
Miscellaneous

Note: Snapshots of colleagues and others during mathematics-related events and venues, including conferences, parties, and mathematics departments.
Box
2008-325/32 1943; 1951-1959
Box
2008-325/33 1960-1966
Box
2008-325/34 1966-1968
Box
2008-325/35 1969-1970
Box
2008-325/36 1970
Box
2008-325/37 1971-1972
Box
2008-325/38 1972-1973
Box
2008-325/39 1973-1974
Box
2008-325/40 1975
Box
2008-325/41 1976-1978
Box
2008-325/42 1979-1980
Box
2008-325/43 1980-1983
Box
2008-325/44 1982-1983
Box
2008-325/45 1985
Box
2008-325/46 1986-1987
Box
2008-325/47 1988-1991; circa 1960-1990
Negatives, 35 mm transparencies, 1975-1987
Box
2008-325/48 Oversize prints, 1947-1970
Various events:
Unidentified men playing Go at Chumley’s Pub, New York, circa 1947
Group: Institute for Advanced Study, includes Halmos, circa 1947
Punta del Este, Uruguay, 1951
Group: Institute for Advanced Study, Fuld Hall, 1955
Group: Varenna, Italy, 1960
Banquet, Ann Arbor, Michigan, circa 1966
Math Club, Ann Arbor, Michigan, November 10, 1966
Group: Dublin, 1968
Peter Fillmore, Joseph Stampfli, James P. Williams, John Conway, H. Arlen Brown, Indiana University, December 4 1968
Poker game, Fort Worth, Texas, 1970
Colleagues
A-E
F-K (2 folders)
L-Z
Photographs taken by others
Ahlfors-Zygmund
Box
2008-325/50 Photograph albums
Honorary degree ceremony from St. Andrew’s (Edinburgh, Scotland); Bloomington, Indiana; publicity shots, 1926; 1979-1980
Hungary; Bloomington, Indiana; Maine; Vassar College, 1963-1987
Vancouver, British Columbia; Bloomington, Indiana; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Perth, Australia; Long Beach, California, 1974-1981, undated
“Biography of Indiana,” shots of Indiana University, colleagues, 1980-1984
Box
2008-325/51 Oberwolfach, 1983
Published Works
I Have a Photographic Memory: photographs included in the book (use of these images requires permission from the American Mathematical Society). Halmos kept them in a binder in alphabetical order, which has been maintained.
Box
2008-325/51 A-B (2 folders)
C-E (2 folders)
Box
2008-325/52 F-H (3 folders)
I-L (2 folders)
Box
2008-325/53 M-P (2 folders)
Q-S (2 folders)
T-Z (1 folder)

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Series 2. Personal

Series Abstract
The series consists of photographs generally distinct from Halmos's professional activities. Subjects include trips and holidays with Virginia Halmos, friends, family, and pets.
Box
2008-325/54 1929-1931; undated
1932-1939
1940-1950
1951-1953
Box
2008-325/55 1954-1959; circa 1950-1960
1960-1962
1963
1964
1965 (2 folders)
Box
2008-325/56 1966 (2 folders)
1967 (2 folders)
1968, undated
Box
2008-325/57 1969
1969-1970
1971
1972
Box
2008-325/58 1973
1974-1975
1976
1977-1979
1980-1984
1985-1987
Box
2008-325/59 1988-1991; circa 1980s
1998
circa 1950s-1990s
Photograph albums
Scrapbook (removed from original album for preservation purposes; 5 folders) 1907-1958
Box
2008-325/59 1907-1929
1931-1958
1953-1958
Box
2008-325/60
“Etc. and 1998” (2 folders)
Copy negatives
Halmos’s parents, postcard in Hungarian, 1907-1915
Halmos and friend, 1932
Unidentified people, circa 1930-1940
Paul and Virginia Halmos, undated
Box
2008-325/61 Pets (2 folders), undated
“Pictures of Mathematicians,” pictures compiled by “Wehausen,” and passed on to Halmos; not photographic material.

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