Mathematics was one of the four subjects taught at Corvallis College when it was founded in 1868. As the College’s curriculum grew to include agriculture and engineering, mathematics expanded from its role as an element of traditional higher learning into a necessary tool for understanding science and technology. While the subject matter itself changed little, the focus of mathematics was now targeted to serve engineering. This remained its function until 1932 when the School of Science was established and William E. Milne arrived as chair of the Mathematics Department, a position he held until his retirement in 1955.
Professor Milne was the first Department chairman to hold a Ph.D. During the years that Milne was chair, 1932-1955, the department had its first major growth including additional staff, courses, and students as well as offering undergraduate and gradaute degrees in mathematics.
After 1932, the Mathematics Department's instructional service reached into nearly every academic discipline at Oregon State. The department's research focus during these years emphasized applied analysis and statistics. In 1955, a separate Statistics Department was formed and Arvid T. Lonseth became Mathematics Department chairman. Under Lonseth’s leadership, the department focused heavily on computers, which continued until a separate Computer Science Department was formed in 1972. In 1957, Oregon State College became the first educational institution in Oregon to acquire an electronic computer; it was operated by Mathematics and maintained by Electrical Engineering. By the end of Lonseth’s tenure the department had acquired expertise in all major areas of mathematics.
As the department expanded, Mathematics became a primary area of study. This lead to an undergraduate major designed to train high school teachers as well as prepare students for graduate level studies. The first masters degree in mathematics was awarded in 1933 and the first doctorate in 1948.
Department heads for the period documented by these records include W.E. (Ted) Milne (1932-1955); Arvid T. Lonseth (1955-1968); William J. Firey (1968-1970 and 1978-1979); James R. Brown (1970-1978); Richard M. Schori (1979-1984); Philip M. Anselone (1984-1990); and Francis (Frank) Flaherty (1990-1998).
The Mathematics Department Records document the teaching and research activities of the department and the involvement of Department Chair, W.E. Milne, in various campus organizations. The records include correspondence, reports, lecture notes, and publications. The correspondence consists of materials created or received by W.E. Milne in his role as department chair and as a member of several campus faculty groups and honor societies. Materials pertaining to graduate programs as well as a computation service offered by the department are included.
The records include reports about early computers at Oregon State in the late 1950s and early 1960s; information about the undergraduate mathematics curriculum; lecture notes prepared by Bent E. Petersen and Aldo Anderotti in the mid-1970s; and publications. The publications include a weekly department department staff newsletter from the mid-1980s; the department's annual newsletter for alumni and friends of the department from the early 1990s; and a brochure on academic programs in actuarial science. A compilation of research papers written by high school students who participated in the 1962 Summer Institute in Mathematics, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, are also part of the records.
Restrictions on Access :
Collection is open for research.Preferred Citation :
Mathematics Department Records (RG 136), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.
The Mathematics Department Records are arranged in 4 series: I. William Edmund Milne General Correspondence, 1933-1939; II. Subject Files, 1933-1981; III. Lecture Notes, 1974-1975; and IV. Publications, 1963-1994.
Acquisition Information :
These materials were transferred to the Archives from the 1960s through 2005.Future Additions :
Additions to the collection are expected.Related Materials :
Additional materials created and assembled by Milne are available in the W.E. Milne Collection. The College of Science Records (RG 024) include additional information about the teaching and research activities of the Mathematics Department. The Harold L. Manley Collection includes lecture notes and problem sets from mathematics classes.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series I consists of correspondence and related materials created and received by Milne in his role as chair of the Mathematics Department and as a member of several campus faculty groups and honor societies. Of particular note are materials pertaining to the mathematics graduate programs and a computation service offered by the department. The microfilm does not include targets separating original folders. Some of the original paper documents are part of Series II.
Series II consists of correspondence, reports, and instructional materials documenting the teaching and research activities of the department. The reports provide information about early computers at Oregon State. The information pamphlet for undergraduate mathematics major includes detailed information about degree requirements and courses as well as scholarships and employment opportunities in mathematics. The series also includes original paper records of the some of the microfilmed Milne correspondence in Series I.
Series III consists of 5 bound volumes of lecture notes prepared by Bent E. Peterson and Aldo Andreotti for mathematics courses taught during the 1974-1975 academic year.
Series IV consists of department publications for internal and external audiences and includes the weekly staff newsletter for 1985-1986; the annual department newsletter for alumni, retired faculty, and friends of the department; a brochure promoting the undergraduate and graduate programs in actuarial science offered by the Mathematics Department; and a compilation of research papers prepared by high school students as part of their participation in the Summer Institute in Mathematics at Oregon State University in 1962, sponsored by the National Science Foundation.