University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Leonard Gillman Papers, 1922-1924, 1945-2004

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Gillman, Leonard
Title: Leonard Gillman Papers
Dates: 1922-1924, 1945-2004
Abstract: The Leonard Gillman Papers document Gillman’s professional and personal life, including his career as a mathematician and professor and his involvement in mathematical organizations. Correspondence, notes, and clippings make up the bulk of the collection.
Accession No.: 2013-073
Extent: 4 ft., 10 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Leonard Gillman (1917-2009) was an American mathematician and president of the Mathematical Association of America. His mathematical interests included game theory, set theory, and topology.

After studying piano for five years at the Juilliard Graduate School of Music, Gillman received a BS in mathematics from Columbia University. He began graduate work in mathematics at Columbia, completing his coursework in 1943. From 1943 to 1951, he worked as an operations analyst for the Navy Department, first at Tufts University and then at MIT. In 1953, he finished his dissertation on set theory and received his PhD from Columbia. Gillman taught at Purdue from 1952 to 1958, then spent two years at the Institute for Advanced Study, on a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NSF Senior Post-Doctoral Fellowship. In 1960, he became chair of the mathematics department at the University of Rochester; that year also saw the publication of Rings of Continuous Functions, which he co-wrote with Meyer Jerison. In 1969, Gillman moved to the University of Texas at Austin, where he was chair from 1969 to 1973. He retired from teaching in 1987.

Throughout his career, Gillman was involved in mathematical organizations. He took on roles in many areas of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), serving as a Visiting Lecturer (1961-1969) and a member of the Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM) (1965-1968). He was elected MAA Treasurer in 1973, a position he held until his election for a two-year term as President in 1987. A fervent believer in the importance of clear writing, Gillman authored the booklet Writing Mathematics Well for the MAA in 1987. In 1999, the MAA awarded him the Gung-Hu Award for distinguished service to mathematics. Gillman was also an active member of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the School Mathematics Study Group (SMSG).

In addition to his mathematical work, Gillman remained a committed musician throughout his life. He performed as a pianist at several MAA-AMS annual meetings, in 1976 and 1980 with Louis Rowen, and in 1989 and 1992 with William Browder, as well as giving concerts at his home and other venues. He was also active in the Austin Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Gillman married Reba Marcus in 1938, and they had two children, Michal and Jonathan.


Melvin Henriksen, “Leonard Gillman: An Interview,” Topological Commentary, 1999,

“In Memoriam: Leonard Gillman,” UT General Faculty Memorial Resolution, 2009,

Scope and Contents

The Leonard Gillman Papers document Gillman’s professional and personal life, including his career as a mathematician and professor and his involvement in mathematical organizations. Correspondence, notes, and clippings make up the bulk of the collection.

The Correspondence series (1945-1995) primarily documents his relationships with other mathematicians. The bulk of this series records his early career in the 1950s and 1960s, including his graduate work and time as a professor at the University of Rochester. Prominent correspondents include Paul Erdős, Paul Halmos, Melvin Henriksen, Meyer Jerison, Wacław Sierpiński, and Alfred Tarski. Both incoming and outgoing correspondence are included.

The Publications and Research series (1944-2004) includes correspondence, notes, drafts, clippings, and published articles, relating to his publications in scholarly and popular journals. These records provide evidence of Gillman’s range of interests, including game theory, calculus, mathematics education, and writing mathematics.

The Lectures series (1966-1994) demonstrates Gillman’s active schedule as a speaker (and sometimes pianist) at universities and conferences around the country. Included are correspondence, publicity materials, notes, and transparencies (photocopied for preservation) from Gillman’s talks.

The Mathematical Association of America series (1971-2002) documents his various roles in the MAA. The General files demonstrate his involvement as Treasurer and other roles, as well as his piano performances at MAA meetings. The President’s files include material from his 1987-1988 presidency.

The Personal and Biographical series (1922-1924, 1945-1991) includes a variety of materials from Gillman’s life, including curriculum vitae, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings about himself, and photos.

The Professional series (1960-1994) provides evidence of his work as a university professor, containing letters of appointment to his positions, documentation of his professional activities, and other activities he participated in at the University of Rochester and the University of Texas at Austin.

Finally, the Artifacts series (undated) contains Gillman’s academic regalia, including his blue hood and light blue and black robe.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.


Access Restrictions

Access to portions of this collection is restricted.

Use Restrictions

This collection is stored remotely at CDL. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Gillman, Leonard
Subjects (Organizations)
Mathematical Association of America
Game theory.
Mathematics--Study and teaching.

Related Material

Mathematical Association of America Records, 1916-present, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Mathematical Association of America. History of American Mathematics in World War II Committee Records, 1944-1967, 1978-1983, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Leonard Gillman Papers, 1922-1924, 1945-2004, Archives of American Mathematics, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Elliot Williams, April 2013.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2013-073/1 Alling, Norman 1958-1964
Bagemihl, Fred
"Czechoslovakia," 1961-1965
Danskin, John, 1961-1965
Dyer-Bennet, John, 1959-1965
Erdős, Paul
Reprints, 1945-1966
"Fan mail," 1962-1977
Freundlich, Irwin, 1963-1965
Friskin, James, 1960-1963
General correspondence, 1968-1973
General correspondence [includes material related to MAA retiring address], 1989-1990
Goode, Harry, 1958-1961
Halmos, Paul, 1981-1991
Hambro, Leonid, 1966-1968
Henriksen, Melvin
Hewit, Edwin
Jerison, Meyer
Memorial, 1992-1995
Katětov, Miroslav, 1957-1961
Kohls, Carl
Koopman, Bernard, 1978-1979
Lambek, J., 1960-1961
Lorch, E. R., 1950-1964
Machol, Robert, 19653-1961
McDowell, Robert, 1957-1961
Nachbin, Leopoldo, 1957-1973
Rubin, Mary Ellen, 1955-1956, 1970, undated
Sierpiński, Wacław, 1953-1955, 1962
Tarski, Alfred, 1950-1958


Publications and Research

2013-073/2 "Mathematics" [notes and correspondence], 1944-1946, 1980-1985
"Mathematical miscellany," 1952, 1973-1983, undated
"Melfest" and "Pseudoprime Ideals in C(X)" [includes correspondence with Melvin Hendriksen], 1958-1960, 1989-1990
Reprints and notes by others, 1958, 1969-1971, 1989
2013-073/6 RESTRICTED: Reviews [restricted for 30 years from the date of creation: journal referee reports], 1969, 1978-1993
2013-073/2 "Copy-editing" [Calculus, with McDowell], 1970-1974
Gillman and McDowell, Calculus, 1973
SUNY Potsdam, 1975-1990
π, 1975-1989
"Crisis in Calculus," 1979-1987
"How to get the right slant for your solar panels," Popular Science, 1981
Halmos Selecta, editor, 1982-1984
Monthly articles and reviews [Axiom of choice and continuum hypothesis; Courant and Robbins; Coin weighing], 1982, 1997-2004
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, letter to the editor re: Pulskamp and response, 1983-1993
Mathematical articles and correspondence, 1984-1989
Problems [unidentified], 1989, undated
"The Car and the Goats," Monthly, 1991-1992
Responses to "The Car and Goats Fiasco," Focus, 1991
"Rigor in Calculus," AMS Notices, 1997
Axes and figures [unidentified], undated
Writing mathematics
Correspondence, 1979-1991
Notes, examples, comments, 1984-1991
Writing Mathematics Well, 1987



2013-073/2 "Lecture notes" [various], 1958, 1966-1978, undated
Announcements and publicity, 1963-1974
2013-073/3 "Choosing a Wife," 1966-1970, 1977-1986
"We Can't Teach," 1971-1974, 1981-1987, undated
"Text for transparencies" [unidentified], 1976-1988, undated
Jacobson Conference, Yale, 1981
Classroom notes [notes and transparencies], 1983-1990, undated
"An 'Obvious' Induction," 1987-1988, undated
Schedules, March - June 1988
AIDS [notes and transparencies], 1990, undated
University of Mississippi, lecture and recital, 1993-1994
Integrals, undated
"Some Irreverent Thoughs on the Teaching of Mathematics," Cal Poly and CSU Northridge, undated


Mathematical Association of America

2013-073/3 General
Correspondence, 1971-2002
Treasurer, 1976-1987
San Antonio music, 1976
San Antonio music, 1980
Publications, 1985-1990
Gung-Hu award, 1995-1998
Texas Section [piano performance], 1998-1999
Election, 1985
Correspondence, 1988-1989
"Lectures 1988-1989" [Southern California Section, Iowa Section, Southwestern Section], 1988-1989
"Lectures 1989-1990" [Seaway Section], 1989
Retiring address, 1989-1990


Personal and Biographical

2013-073/3 Stanford-Binet tests, 1922-1924
"Nostalgia math" [correspondence and WWII documents], 1945-1948, 1981-1986
Photos, 1955-1989
Clippings, 1960-1969, 1981-1987
Honors and awards, 1966, 1980, 1991
2013-073/4 Personal correspondence, 1966-1974, 1989-2005
Vitae, 1973, 1985-2000
Ellis Kolchin memorial [and other obituaries], 1991-2001
"Mathematics for the Eliminatory School," undated
2013-073/6 RESTRICTED: Personal correspondence [restricted until 2039], 1959, 1970



2013-073/4 Letters of appointment, 1960-1985
Activities, May 1, 1976 - April 30, 1968
Activities, May 1, 1968 - April 30, 1969
Robert Lee Moore Hall dedication (UT), 1973
Math Awareness Week, 1987
Retirement, 1987
Ford Award, 1994



2013-073/5 Academic regalia