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George Abram Miller, 1921 MAA President

Born: July 31, 1863, Lynnville, Pennsylvania
Died: February 10, 1951, Urbana, Illinois

George Abram Miller was a mathematics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign interested in group theory and history of mathematics. He was heavily involved with the American Mathematical Monthly and published extensively.

Presidency: 1921

At the summer meeting of the MAA and the American Mathematical Society (AMS), Miller, Huntington, Jackson, Hedrick, and others made speeches on behalf of the MAA. Carmichael, Curtiss, and Slaught presented papers at the December 1921 meeting.

Miller continued to publish on group theory during his presidency.

Education and Career

1887 Muhlenberg College, B.A.
1890 Muhlenberg College, M.A.
1892 Cumberland University, Ph.D.

After receiving his Ph.D., Miller was an instructor at the University of Michigan. He lived for two years with F.N. Cole, who inspired his lifelong interest in group theory. From 1895 to 1897, Miller attended group theory lectures by Lie and Jordan in Europe.

Miller taught at Cornell University (1897-1901) and Stanford University (1901-06) before becoming a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1906. He retired in 1931 but continued publishing scholarly articles until 1947 and coming to his office at the University of Illinois regularly until the end of 1950.

Miller began his involvement with the American Mathematical Monthly with a series of 14 articles on substitution groups in 1895-96. His publication record in the Monthly continued until 1933. With 70 articles, he holds the record for number of contributions to the Monthly, according to A Century of Mathematics: Through the Eyes of the Monthly (1994). He also served as an editor for the Monthly from 1909 to 1915. In a 1912 letter available in the MAA Records at the Archives of American Mathematics, H.E. Slaught wrote,

In fact, I do not know what we [the American Mathematical Monthly] should have done without the editorial co-operation of Professor Miller. He is doing, in my judgment, a very valuable piece of work. The articles which he contributes cannot fail to be of great value to the ordinary college teacher of Mathematics, and the spirit in which he does it is one of such power and devotion to the cause that it cannot fail to elicit the commendation of all who are disposed to look at the matter seriously.

Miller published approximately 820 scholarly articles, with about 450 of them on research and the remainder expository articles on group theory, mathematics, and the history of mathematics. He authored or coauthored four books.

Miller was a charter member of the MAA and was made an honorary life member in 1937. He served as a vice president of the MAA in 1916. He also was a member of the AMS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

External Resources

MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive biography

American Mathematical Monthly obituary

National Academy of Sciences biographical memoir (pdf)

National Mathematics Magazine biographical sketch

Records of editors, presidents, and secretaries from MAA headquarters, George A. Miller, clipping from Collier's 21 July 1951, "Miller's Million," 1951 at the Archives of American Mathematics

George A. Miller Papers, 1895-1947, 1951

The Mathematics Genealogy Project