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Raymond Clare Archibald papers

Scope & content

Most of the correspondence in this collection reflects Professor Archibald’s concerns for the development of a comprehensive mathematical library at Brown, his efforts on behalf of the Mary Mellish Archibald Memorial Library at Mount Allison College, his interest in library related matters generally, and his work as chairman of the National Research Council Committee on Mathematical Tables, most particularly as editor of Mathematical Tables and Other Aids to Computations (MATC).

Among the correspondents are internationally known scientists, as for instance Eric T. Bell, George D. Birkhoff, Harold Bohr, Fritz Emde, T. Levi-Civita, Gino Loria, Corrada Segre, and Gabór Szegö. But for a few exceptions most of these letters contain little more than personal greetings and exchanges. The correspondence with other colleagues contains occasional references or theories on theorems and theories of numbers, as well as actuarial discussions. Of some detail, pertaining to the Moscow mathematical papyrus, are the letters written by Vasili Vasilevich Struve, decoder and commentator of the papyrus.

Pertaining to Brown University the collection permits glimpses into the efforts involved in assembling a comprehensive subject collection, the interactions between faculty and library staff, budgetary considerations in connection with acquisitions, and methods of acquisitions.

Furthermore, the content of the collection allows one to get acquainted with Archibald’s personal style, his interests, and some of his characteristics. It also gives some insight into the research and writing Archibald did in his later years.