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Archives Spotlight: An MAA Photographic Mystery

An MAA Photographic Mystery

By Kristy Sorensen

The following article, featured as part of the Archives of American Mathematics Spotlight, was published in the December 2005 issue of MAA FOCUS. The full issue is available here (pdf).

Update: A March 2006 update on this MAA photographic mystery can be found here.

Do you know this mathematician?

mystery photo

Last year, the Archives of American Mathematics (AAM) received a valuable collection of historical documents from the Mathematical Association of America Headquarters (see this article, from January 2005, for details). Included in the materials is a group of photographs from what appears to be a production for the Mathematics Today film series in the 1960s.

mystery photo

This series was developed by the Individual Lectures Project and the Committee on Educational Media to provide visual learning aids appropriate for those with a casual interest in mathematics, college mathematics students, and professional mathematicians. Twenty-four 16mm films were produced, both in color and in black and white. They were available for purchase or rent from the Modern Learning Aids distribution company.

Two photographs from the collection are on this page. Our problem? We can't identify the subjects in these fascinating shots. If you can help, get in contact with Kristy Sorensen, the archivist. Perhaps with the help of the readers of MAA FOCUS we can find out more about the story of this project and what became of it. We will report on the answers we get in a future issue (March 2006 Update Here).

The Mathematical Association of America Records inventory is available online.

Kristy Sorensen served as the archivist at the Archives of American Mathematics until November 2006.

The Archives of American Mathematics (AAM) is a unit of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. Individuals interested in conducting research or donating materials or who have general questions about the AAM should contact Carol Mead, Archivist:, (512) 495-4539.

Revised on July 12, 2010.