University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

William L. Duren, Jr., Papers, 1946-2005

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Duren, William Larkin, 1905-2008.
Title: William L. Duren, Jr., papers
Dates: 1925-2005
Abstract: William L. Duren Jr. (1905-2008), former Mathematical Association of America (MAA) president from 1955 to 1956, was the founding chairman of the MAA's Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM), and a professor of mathematics at Tulane University (1947-1955). The bulk of the Duren papers documents his work with the MAA, particularly in the promotion of undergraduate mathematics education through his efforts on the CUPM.
Identification: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01365
Extent: 9 linear feet
Language: English .
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

William L. Duren Jr. (1905-2008), former Mathematical Association of America (MAA) president from 1955 to 1956 and founding chairman of MAA's Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM), was born November 10, 1905, in Macon, Mississippi. He attended Tulane University in New Orleans as an undergraduate mathematics major and received his BA in 1926.

Duren continued his studies at the University of Chicago, where he wrote his doctoral thesis in calculus of variations under the direction of G. A. Bliss. He received his Ph.D. in 1930 and married the following year.

After graduating, Duren returned to Tulane to teach mathematics, interrupted by a year spent at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study from 1936 to 1937, where he served as assistant to Marston Morse on calculus of variations in the large. He had an office next to Albert Einstein and became acquainted with many leading mathematicians, including Hermann Weyl and John von Neumann. During World War II, Duren worked as a civilian scientist in the Army Air Corps.

On returning to Tulane in 1947, he was named Chairman of the Mathematics Department. There he obtained a grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to establish Tulane's doctoral program in mathematics, which became the model for other such programs in the South. Duren also worked to bring racial integration to the college.

In 1952, Duren was named the first Program Director in Mathematics at the National Science Foundation (NSF). He served for one year, using the position to promote the establishment of mathematics Ph.D. programs around the country. During this time, he also formed the CUPM, which operated for 10 years and brought about improvements in the curricula of undergraduate mathematics.

Duren became president of the MAA in 1955. That same year he left Tulane, to become Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia (1955-1962). In 1962, Duren was appointed the first University Professor, which allowed him to move to the School of Engineering, where he formed a new Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. In 1959, Duren was awarded an honorary LL.D. by Tulane University, and in 1967, he received the MAA Citation for Distinguished Service to Mathematics.

Duren retired in 1976. He wrote historical articles for mathematicians, humorous essays about his childhood in Mississippi and life in New Orleans, and more serious essays. In 2002, Duren wrote a proposal recommending the creation of an interdisciplinary graduate degree in Arts and Sciences. Tulane University established the Duren Professorship Program.

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Duren papers documents his work in the promotion of undergraduate mathematics education through his efforts on the Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM). These files consist of correspondence, minutes, agendas, printed materials, publications and papers, and handwritten notes. In addition to the CUPM files, materials concerning Duren's work as a professor are included in this collection. These files consist of correspondence, lectures, teaching materials, publications and papers, and printed materials.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.


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Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.

Index Terms

Personal Names
Bliss, Gilbert Ames, 1876-1951
Duren, William Larkin, 1905-2008.
Jones, C. W. (Clement Workman), 1920-
Kemeny, John G.
Madow, William G. (William Gregory), 1911-
McShane, E. J. (Edward James), 1904-
Price, G. Baley (Griffith Baley), 1905-2006
Putnam, Alfred L., 1916-2004
Rees, Mina Spiegel, 1902-
Tucker, Albert W. (Albert William), 1905-1995
Corporate Names
American Society for Engineering Education.
American association for the advancement of science
American mathematical society
Conference board of the mathematical sciences
Mathematical Association of America. Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics.
Mathematical association of America
National Science Foundation (U.S.)
School Mathematics Study Group
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Tulane University. Department of Mathematics
University of Virginia.
Race relations

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

William L. Duren, Jr., Papers, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Accession Number(s)

2008-269; 2010-192

OCLC Number


Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Organizations

2008-269/1 The Mathematical Association of America (MAA)
Committee on Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM)
Minutes, 1963-1965, 1967, 1969, undated
Agendas, 1957, 1965, 1967
2010-192/1 Agendas, minutes, correspondence, 1964-1965
Agenda, proposal, correspondence, minutes, September-November, 1965
2008-269/1 Correspondence, 1953-1958
2010-192/1 Correspondence, 1955-1963
2008-269/2 Correspondence, 1961-1963
Correspondence, 1964-1965
2010-192/1 Correspondence, annual report, agendas, proposal, conference materials, 1964-1972
2008-269/2 Correspondence, 1966-1969
Correspondence, 1970-1971, undated
Committee on Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM)
Unpublished, 1953-1954, 1958, 1964-1965
2010-192/1 Unpublished, circa 1954, 1965
2008-269/2 Unpublished, 1967-1968, 1978, 1980, undated
2008-269/3 Published, 1957
2010-192/1 Unpublished and published
Reports, correspondence, proposal, 1956, 1961
Reports, 1964-1965
Reports, study, article, survey, abstracts, circa 1960-circa 1969, 1985
2008-269/3 Other committees, 1953-1955, 1962, 1967, 1971, undated
2008-269/4 Transcripts of meetings, 1957
Notes, undated
Printed materials
Newsletters, 1967-1970
Statistical information, 1963-1964, undated
Directories, 1956, 1966
Survey (CUPM?), undated
Administrative files
Financial, 1957, 1965
Expense policy and forms, undated
CUPM materials order forms, 1966, undated
Conference proceedings and resolutions
Conference on Research Potential and Training in Mathematics, 1958
Publisher's Conference, 1964
Proceedings of the 33rd Conference of Academic Deans, 1964
Panel on Mathematics in Two-year Colleges, 1967
Proposed course and textbook outlines, undated
Creative works
Lectures, 1963-1964, 1967, undated
"CUPM, The History of an Idea,", 1965, undated
2010-192/2 "CUPM, The History of an Idea," typed manuscripts, section meeting materials, 1965, undated
2008-269/5 Other authors
Publications, 1953, 1962-1964, 1971, undated
Papers, 1957, undated
2010-192/2 Publications
Universal Mathematics Part II, Structures in Sets , 1955
2008-269/5 Recommendations of the Mathematical Association of America for the Training of Teachers of Mathematics , December 1960
Course Guides for the Training of Teachers of Junior High and High School Mathematics , June 1961
Recommendations on the Undergraduate Mathematics Program for Engineers and Physicists , January 1962
Mathematics Text Materials for the Undergraduate Preparation of Elementary School Teachers , February 1963
Preliminary Recommendations for Pregraduate Preparation of Research Mathematicians , May 1963
Pregraduate Preparation of Research Mathematicians , May 1963
Tentative Recommendations for the Undergraduate Mathematics Program of Students in the Biological, Management and Social Sciences , January 1964
Recommendations on the Undergraduate Mathematics Program for Work in Computing , May 1964
Proceedings of the Preliminary Meeting on College Level Mathematics Education , 1965
Basic Library List , January 1965
A General Curriculum in Mathematics for Colleges , January 1965
Preparation for Graduate Study in Mathematics , November 1965
A Curriculum in Applied Mathematics , January 1966
Mathematical Engineering, A Five Year Program , October 1966
Recommendations on the Undergraduate Mathematics Program for Engineers and Physicists , January 1967
Qualifications for a College Faculty in Mathematics , January 1967
A Transfer Curriculum in Mathematics for Two Year Colleges , January 1969
A Beginning Graduate Program in Mathematics for Prospective Teachers of Undergraduates , February 1969
Qualifications for Teaching University Parallel Mathematics Courses in Two-Year Colleges , August 1969
Recommendations for the Undergraduate Mathematics Program for Students in the Life Sciences, An Interim Report , September 1970
2010-192/2 Recommendations for the Training of Teachers of Mathematics, A Summary– publication, correspondence, paper, proposal, January 1961
Organization for College Teachers Task Force, memorandum, proposal, minutes, October 1965
2008-269/5 General Curriculum in Mathematics for Colleges (GCMC)
Correspondence, 1964-1965, 1968, 1969
Working papers, 1964, undated
Minutes, 1964
2010-192/2 Pregraduate conference, roster, correspondence, agenda, February 11-12, 1966
2008-269/6 Conference materials, 1969
Section reports, 1966-1967, undated
Writings by others
"Should the CUPM Recommendations be Implemented? If So, How?" Olmsted, 1967
"Mathematics Is Necessary for Everyone," Kantorovich, 1969
Correspondence, 1952, 1958, 1963, 1987
2010-192/3 Correspondence: Universal Mathematics , 1956-1957
2010-192/2 Committee on Employer-Employee Contacts (CEEP)
Correspondence, CUPM report, circa 1967, 1972
Report, 1971
Correspondence, 1971
Correspondence with Saunders MacLane, Lincoln Durst, 1971-1972
Article manuscripts: "The Long Range Outlook," "Policies for the Next Five Years,", circa 1970-1979
2010-192/3 Committee to advise the Board of Governors of the MAA on policies in support of academic tenure - report: "MAA and Job Security," final typed manuscript, March 1965
Committee on Educational Media – status report, April-May 1965
Committee on International Cooperation in Mathematical Education - correspondence, agenda, April 1966
MAA: General
MAA Award for Distinguished Service to Professor William Larkin Duren, Jr., by E. J. McShane, reprint, January 1967
"Duren President MAA," correspondence, handbook, list of section officers, 1954-1955
2008-269/6 Organization files
Agendas, 1953, 1957, 1960, 1964
2010-192/3 Board of Governors, agenda, January 1962
Washington D.C. conferences – reports, 1958
Program of Visiting Lecturers: Correspondence, lecture tour correspondence, 1954-1955
2008-269/6 Printed materials: conference proceedings, handbook for section officers, guidebook to departments in the mathematical sciences in the U.S. and Canada, historical outline of the annual meetings of the Louisiana/Mississippi sections of the MAA, 1952-1953, 1958, 1966, undated
2010-192/4 National Research Council (NRC)
Committee on the Regional Development of Mathematics (CRDM), committee documentation, 1951-1952
Survey Committee on Policy – correspondence, survey, minutes, 1954-1955
Proposal, meeting documents, correspondence, 1953-1954
Correspondence, committee lists, report, articles of organization, July 1, 1954-June 30, 1955
2010-192/5 Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS)
Correspondence, 1959-1962
2008-269/6 Correspondence, 1963, 1971
Agenda, 1963
Report, 1963
Funding proposal, 1971
Statistical information, 1963, 1971, undated
Survey form, undated
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Correspondence, papers, publications, and newsletters, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1981, undated
2010-192/5 Committee on Regional Development of Mathematics
Correspondence, member list, report, 1953-1954
Correspondence, 1954-1955
Academic Year Institute for Teachers of the Sciences and Mathematics, September 1958-June 1959
Correspondence, 1962, 1971
2008-269/6 American Mathematical Society (AMS)
Minutes, correspondence, papers, and statistical information, 1971, 1972, 1988, 1994, 1995
2010-192/5 "Duren, William L., Jr. 1951-52" – loyalty oath committee: report, correspondence, 1951-1952
Talk: "The Most Urgent Problem for the Mathematics Profession,", January 1994
2008-269/6 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): Minutes, agendas, and newsletter, 1953, 1963
2008-269/7 School Mathematics Study Group (SMSG), 1962
2010-192/5 "Chicago – SMSG – April 9 – Advisory Committee": correspondence, newsletter, committee documents, 1960
Reports of SMSG panels, 1968-1969
2008-269/7 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), 1954
2010-192/5 Minutes, October 6-7, 1961
New Orleans Academy of Sciences, Planning and Advisory Committee - correspondence, minutes, 1951-1952
Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences – minutes, October 29, 1961
U. S. Office of Education: Math-Science Panel – letter, September 1968

2. Conferences

2010-192/8 International Congress of Mathematicians – member list, program, 1950
Report on a Conference on Undergraduate Mathematics Curricula, October 1956
Multiple conferences in Washington D. C. – MAA, In-Service Education, 1960
Doctor of Arts in Mathematics – correspondence, report on Yale conference, 1960-1962
Conference for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Teaching – correspondence, program, text of talk, 1961
Regional Conference on New Developments in College Education in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering – proceedings, letter, 1963-1964
New Developments in College Education, UCLA – correspondence, talk, 1963
NSF – Srinigar Conference [planning conference on science education], New Dehli, India – correspondence, conference materials, 1966
Marshall H. Stone Symposium – address by Edwin Hewitt, November 10, 1979

3. Lectures

2010-192/9 "Scientists for the South,", October 14, 1948
"Mathematics in Liberal Education,", November 4, 1956
"The Universal Languages,", May 16, 1958
2008-269/7 "Mathematics in the Undergraduate Curriculum,", 1964
Greensboro Natural Science Lectures [includes clippings, program, introductory remarks, and speeches], November 9-10, 1970
"The Past and Future of Mathematical Education,", 1973
"A Career as a Scientific Generalist Based in Mathematics,", 2005
"Mathematics for Social Scientists and the Dartmouth Experiment,", undated
"Sets in the Curriculum," [incomplete], undated
2010-192/9 Untitled talk, undated

4. Writings

2010-192/9 Publications and papers
"Anser's First Ten Years 1958-1968," by W.L. Duren, Septebmer 1968
2008-269/7 "Collegiate Mathematics and the National Science Foundation,", 1953
"Work Paper on Reorganization of College Teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia,", 1959
"Are There Too Many PhD's in Mathematics?", 1970
"Graduate Student at Chicago in the Twenties,", 1976
"Memoirs of a Lay Mathematician,", 1996
"Employment and Educational Policy,", undated
"Mathematics in American Society 1888-1988; A Historical Commentary,", undated
Book draft, "Universal Mathematics Part II. Structures in Sets", 1954
2010-192/9 "Universal Mathematics Part II. Structures in Sets," various sections, typed, handwritten, circa 1954
"Celestial Mechanics Etc.," handwritten manuscripts, paper, 1928-1930
"Integrated Equations," table of contents, notes, undated
"Higher Derivatives in the Integrated Function," chapter draft, undated
"Statistics,", undated
"Calculus of Variations," problems, undated
"Operations Analyst, U.S. Army Air Force in WW II," unpublished, photocopy, 1981

5. Correspondence

2010-192/6 1946-1959
2010-192/7 1956-1994
2008-269/7 1962-1964, 1982

6. Teaching and university business

2008-269/7 Course materials
Course outlines, 1946-1947, undated
Exams, 1954, 1955, undated
Problems, undated
Chapter summaries, 1946, undated
Notes, undated
2010-192/10 Correspondence – Tulane, 1950-1953, undated
"Final Report to the Office of Naval Research from the Tulane University Project in Mathematics," by W. L. Duren, August 1955
Dissertation – Leroy J. Derr, July 1957
Tulane faculty address list, 1954

7. Printed materials

2010-192/10 Begle, E. G., MacLane, S., Price, G. B., Lectures on Experimental Programs in Collegiate Mathematics , 1955
2008-269/7 Jones, C.W., Applied Mathematics in the Context of Engineering , February 19, 1963
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Constitution of the Association and Standards for Colleges, November 29, 1962
Thwaites, Bryan, On Teaching Mathematics , 1961
U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Guide to Undergraduate Education , 1962

8. Miscellaneous professional

2010-192/10 Reference file: Soviet Union reports on mathematics, 1957-1959, circa 1950s

9. Personal

2010-192/11 Education
"Miscellaneous Notes,", 1925-1930, circa 1920s-1930
Lecture and course notes, 1925-1932, circa 1930
2010-192/12 Lecture and course notes, 1933-1936, circa 1930
Christmas card, 1952
"The Life and Sayings of Edwin Moise,", circa 1989