University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the William S. Mahavier Papers, 1922-2013

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Mahavier, William S.
Title: William S. Mahavier Papers
Dates: 1922-2016
Abstract: The papers document W. S. Mahavier’s career in mathematics. They primarily consist of records from his years at Emory University, research files, and records pertaining to R. L. Moore and the Educational Advancement Foundation.
Accession No.: 2015-168
Extent: 4 ft.
Language: Materials are written inEnglish
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

William S. (Bill) Mahavier (1930-2010) was an American mathematician and professor known for his work in topology.

Mahavier was born in Houston, Texas, on July 30, 1930. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in physics in 1951 from the University of Texas at Austin (UT). As a freshman he took a course in analytic geometry from R. L. Moore, who was to be an important influence on his career. He began work toward his graduate degree at UT in 1951 and completed his Ph.D. in 1957 under Moore.

After obtaining his Ph.D., Mahavier began his 51-year teaching career. His appointments included the Illinois Institute of Technology (1957-1959), the University of Tennessee (1959-1964), and Emory University (1964-2008). In addition, he visited the University of Houston (1973-1974) and North Texas State University (1978-1980) during two sabbaticals. He supervised eight Ph.D. students.

Mahavier contributed numerous articles to mathematics journals and co-authored a book with W. T. Ingram, Inverse Limits: From Continua to Chaos, which was published in 2012.

Scope and Contents

The papers document W. S. Mahavier’s career in mathematics. Among the records are files from his years at Emory University, including internal records, his work with students, and notes for courses he taught. He also maintained research files, including notes and math problems he kept for study, and works by others. Working files document his writing and publication process, with annotated preprints, referee reports, correspondence, and reviews.

In addition, the Educational Advancement Foundation series reflects Mahavier’s continued interest in inquiry-based learning, while documents in the R. L. Moore series show that he remained involved in issues related to the UT professor.

The contents of the files were kept largely in the order in which they were received.



These papers are organized as follows:
Series 1. Teaching
Series 2. Mathematical Works
Series 3. Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF)
Series 4. R. L. Moore
Series 5. General
Series 6. Personal


Access Restrictions

These papers are stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.

Use Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Donor maintains copyright of unpublished materials. Written permission from donor is required for publishing material.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Ingram, W. T. (William Thomas), 1937-
Mahavier, William S.
Moore, R. L. (Robert Lee), 1882-
Subjects (Organizations)
Educational Advancement Foundation
Emory University

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

William S. Mahavier Papers, 1922-2010, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Carol Mead, October 2016.

Detailed Description of the Papers



Series 1. Teaching
Emory Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
University Business
2015-168/1 (Southpark) Correspondence
Correspondence concerning salary, 1957-1989
Correspondence about departmental issues, 1964-1972
University and department correspondence, 1968-1971
Correspondence about departmental issues, 1972
Correspondence about departmental issues, 1974-1975
Correspondence about departmental issues, 1975-1992
Correspondence concerning tenure, 1975-1993
Correspondence about departmental issues, 1976-1991
Correspondence concerning salary, 1990-2007
Correspondence between Dean R. A. Paul and W. S. Mahavier, departmental issues, 2002-2004
Correspondence between Dean R. A. Paul and W. S. Mahavier, 2003-2005
Mathematics department self-studies – annual reports, 1961-1971
Undergraduate Course Staffing Committee – memos, enrollment chart 1974-1975
Documents concerning Emory mathematics and computer science department, 1975-2006, undated
Tenure Committee – documents regarding tenure, 1976
Graduate and undergraduate programs, 1991, undated
Dwight’s [Duffus] Reign – reports, correspondence, departmental information (2 folders), 1992-2003, undated
Faculty activity reports, evaluation form, 1995-2008
Teaching schedules, 1996-2008
Current projects – departmental planning documents, 1997-2008
Invitation to visit Lamar University during W. S. Mahavier’s sabbatical, November 2003
Honor Council – email, procedures, brochure, 2007, undated
Student Work
Theses and Dissertations
Multiple theses and dissertations, supervised by W. S. Mahavier or others, 1962-1968
Philip Bacon – dissertation, June 1964
Mary J. Russell – dissertation, 1969
Emory H. Merryman, James C. Kropa – dissertations bound together, 1971
Jewell E. McMorris – dissertation, 1973
Rebecca S. May – bound thesis, June 1975
Undergraduate honors papers , 1968-1992, undated
Graduate student papers, undated
Topological groups – James C. Kropa: notes, problems, undated
Teaching seminar – emails, evaluations, teaching assistant information, 1995-2005
2015-168/2 (Southpark) Courses
Course notes
Theorem sequences, 1967-1997, undated
Algebraic topology – notes, 1975, 1996, undated
Math 661, 1978-1979
Graduate topology, 1978-1979, 1990-1993
Math 489, fall 1988
Undergraduate problem sequences, 1988, undated
Notes from courses taught by W. S. Mahavier and others (2 folders), 1988-2005, undated
Analysis seminar, math 217 – exam, problems, 1990-1991
Letter, note from a sorority, notes, linear measure theory problems, 1990, undated
Math 112S, 2001, 2008, undated
Form letter to AP students, annotated Math 112Z syllabus, notes, 2001, undated
Math 211, undated
Miscellaneous notes, undated
Prelims – preliminary exams for for Ph.D candidates, 1962-1973
Student evaluations
(3 folders) 1993-2008
Math 217, undated
NSF grant to consult with Vrunda Prabh on mentoring work – correspondence, problems, 2002-2004
Series 2: Mathematical Works
Notes, 1955, 1986, undated
Notes, articles by others, 1967, 1982, 2001, undated
Portion of W. S. Mahavier’s Notebook, email from W. T. Ingram, 1994, undated
Notes, 2005
My Notebook – proofs, 2006
Notes, undated
Notes and problems from Marcy Barge lecture, undated
Topology notes, undated
Index cards – set 1 of 3: bibliographical reference for papers, Studies, undated
Index cards – set 2: vocabulary; set 3: questions for students, undated
Expansive maps, dynamical systems, undated
Notes, undated
Math problems
Problems, notes, correspondence, 1972-1979, 1996, undated
2015-168/3 (Southpark) Note to W. S. Mahavier from H. S. Wall about a problem, May 15, 1969
Correspondence, notes, papers, articles by others (2 folders) 1977, 1989, undated
Correspondence, 1991, 1998, undated
Problems to study – problems in MAA FOCUS, notes, March 2007, undated
Problems, undated
Details on my examples of an irreducible continuum, atomic decomposition, undated
Problems, undated
Research problems, problem sets for use in upper level graduate topology (2 folders), undated
Research related to H. S. Wall’s theory of equations, undated
AMS Summer Institute on Set Theoretic Topology, Madison, WI – summary of lectures and seminars booklet, July 24-August 20, 1955
Rozprawy Matematyczne – Polish journal (in English), 1966
Works by Others
Chaos and Dynamical Systems – papers by others (2 folders), 1922-1998
Fundamenta mathematicae – index (in French), 1930
Teaching articles – articles and reflections by others, emails (2 folders), 1946, 1983-2004
Photocopy of the preface from the Calculus manuscript, by H. S. Wall, 1956
Discovery learning – articles and papers by others, letter, 1966-1994, undated
Theory of Retracts, by Karol Borsuk – typed manuscript, circa 1967
An Introduction to Analytic Function, by J. S. Mac Nerney, 1968
Referee reports written by W. S. Mahavier, correspondence, evaluations, 1970-2001
Referee report written by W. S. Mahavier, 2003
Articles to read and study, 1981-2005, undated
Publications by W. S. Mahavier – Working files
Dimension Raising Subsets of Mappings onto an Arc – reprint, correspondence, notes, 1988, undated
“What is the Moore Method?” – annotated preprints, correspondence, referee’s report, 1997-1998
Writing project with Dale Daniel – correspondence, notes, reprint of article by others, 1999, 2003-2004
Inverse Limits: From Continua to Chaos, by W. S. Mahavier and W. T. Ingram – correspondence, notes, 2003-2009, undated
Papers by W. S. Mahavier – referee reports, correspondence, preprints, 2003-2006
Printout of list of published papers, reviews, undated
2015-168/4 (Southpark) Talks, Papers, and Conferences
1st [Ralph] Bennett lecture [Auburn University] – talk drafts, letters from Bennett, notes, 1961-1973, undated
Proceedings of the Auburn Topology Conference, March 1969
Topology Conference at Emory University organized by W. S. Mahavier – proceedings, photocopies of photographs of participants, 1970
Seminar record book, 1976-1979
Cantor/Smith Set Talk [1988] – draft, notes, circa 1988, undated
Various talks – notes, program, travel fund application, 1996-2000, undated
Talks given in various universities – photocopies of transparencies, notes, email, papers, 2000, undated
Published paper: “Interesting Dynamics and Inverse Limits in a Family of One-Dimensional Maps,” by W. T. Ingram and W. S. Mahavier, 2003
Cantor/Smith Set Talk, undated
Series 3: Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF)
Articles and papers about a planning conference, teaching, R. L. Moore, the Moore Method, 1996
Correspondence, letter to the American Mathematical Monthly editor from William Ted Mahavier, report, proposal, 2000-2001
Correspondence and general project documentation, 2000-2001
Legacy Project: documents related to the legacy conferences and Inquiry-Based Learning Center planning, 2000-2003
Augusta State University EAF grant – correspondence, syllabus, grant proposal, 2001
Discovery Learning – reprint, email, lists, 2001-2003
Inquiry-Based Learning Center: correspondence, planning documents, 2001-2003
Letters – Moore Students: letters to H. Cook from R. L. Moore students about Moore, 2001-2005
Inquiry-Based Learning Center and R. L. Moore biography project – article, correspondence, 2003-2006
R. L. Moore biography project: “R. L. Moore’s Courses,” by W. S. Mahavier, 2004
High school geometry project – emails, chapter reprints, R. L. Moore course notes, 2006
Series 4: R. L. Moore
Miscellaneous documents – correspondence, transcript from a breakfast honoring the memory of Moore and H. S. Wall, bibliography of Moore Spaces, photocopies of photographs, 1952, 1976-2003
Notes taken in Moore class by Michel Smith and John Riney, 1955, 1969
Moore retirement – correspondence, reports, rosters, 1968-1969
Transcript of W. S. Mahavier interview with Reginald Traylor related to Moore, February 17, 1971
Notes for a talk about Moore, survey from Douglas Forbes to Moore students, 1971, undated
Series 5: General
Mathematics Tidbits – quotes, articles by others, 1960-1988, undated
Letters of recommendation written by W. S. Mahavier, 1978-2009, undated
Teaching evaluations – evaluations of teachers at other institutions, 1985-1995
Series 6: Personal
W. S. Mahavier student notes from Theory of Equations course with H. S. Wall, 1948-1949
Jack Roach’s notebook “Functions of a Complex Variable,” circa 1950-1970
Ph.D. correspondence concerning W. S. Mahavier; includes a note from R. L. Moore, 1952-1957
Notes and work for a course, 1955, undated
Correspondence, W. S. Mahavier pedigree, vita, documents concerning the Educational Advancement Foundation dedicating a room to Mahavier, 1952, 2001-2010