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Raymond Clare Archibald papers

Biographical Note

Raymond Clare Archibald, a mathematician, was born October 7, 1875, in South Branch, Nova Scotia, Canada. His father, Abram Newcomb Archibald, was Secretary of the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the British American Book and Tract Society. His mother was Mary Mellish Archibald. He received his undergraduate degree in 1894 from Mount Allison University, in New Brunswick, Canada. In 1896 he received a second B.A. from Harvard and from the same institution an M.A. in 1897. Continuing his studies in Europe, he was enrolled at the University of Berlin from 1898 to 1899 and at the University of Strasbourg in 1900, where he was granted a doctorate. He pursued post-doctoral studies in Paris from 1909 to 1910 and in Rome in 1922.

Archibald started his teaching career at Mount Allison Ladies’ College as Professor of Mathematics and Head of the Violin Department. In 1907 he left to become Professor of Mathematics at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia. One year later, in 1908, he joined the faculty at Brown University as Instructor in Mathematics. He was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1911, to Associate Professor in 1917, and to Full Professor in 1923. In 1943 he retired with emeritus rank.

Among other publications, he authored the following works: The Cardiod and Some of Its Related Curves (1900); The Bibliography of Life and Works of Simon Newcomb (1905); Mathematical Instruction in France (1910); Euclid’s Book on Divisions of Figures with a Restoration (1916); a book on the training of teachers of mathematics for the secondary schools of the countries represented in the International Commission on the Teaching of Mathematics (1918); a biography and bibliography of Benjamin Peirce (1925); Bibliography of Babylonian and Egyptian Mathematics (1927-1929); and Outline History of Mathematics (recorded 1934). He also wrote numerous articles and notes on mathematics in American and European scientific journals, for the Dictionary of American Biography and for the 14th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. In addition he did some writing and research in the humanities.

As Associate Editor or Editor he served for the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society from 1914 to 1919 and of the American Mathematical Monthly from 1919 to 1921, for the Revue Semestrielle des Publicationes Mathematiques from 1921 to 1934, for Isis from 1924 to 1948, for Scripta Mathematics from 1931 until his death in 1955, and for Mathematical Tables and other Aids to Computations from 1943 to 1949.

He was Brown University’s delegate to the 700th Anniversary of the founding of the University of Padua in 1932, and in 1926 to the opening of the Gennadius Library at Athens, Greece. As representative of the United State Government he attended the International Congress of Mathematics held at Bologna, Italy, in 1928.

Professor Archibald’s membership in professional organizations included the International mathematical Union, American Mathematical Society, Mathematical Association of America, and those of Germany, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Romania, France, Scotland, and England.

As a member of the National Research Council during the Second World War he was an officer of the Division of Physical Sciences, and from 1939 to 1950 chairman of the Council’s Committee on Mathematical Tables.

Professor Archibald was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. The Phi Beta Kappa Society made him and honorary member, and he received honorary degrees from Mount Allison University and the University of Padua.

At Brown University he developed a mathematical library, which for some time was regarded as one of the best in the world. The library he established in 1905 at Mount Allison College in honor of his mother, the Mary Mellish Archibald Memorial Library, contained an important collection of British and American poetry, drama, and music, assembled through Professor Archibald’s unceasing efforts. Throughout his life he maintained an active continuing interest in the library. Another interest of Archibald’s was music.

Professor Archibald never married. He died in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada on July 26, 1955.