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Byerly, William Elwood (13 December 1849–20 December 1935), mathematician and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Elwood Byerly, a merchant, and Rebecca Potts Wayne. Byerly grew up in New Jersey, where he was privately tutored until he entered Harvard University in the fall of 1867. He received his A.B. in 1871 at the top of his class, which included ...

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Grew, Theophilus (?–1759), schoolteacher and mathematician, was of unknown parentage. There is no extant information on his early personal life or education. By the early 1730s he was skilled enough in astronomical computations to prepare almanacs, and presumably he resided in Maryland. His first known almanac, ...

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Halsted, George Bruce (23 November 1853–16 March 1922), professor of mathematics, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Oliver Spencer Halsted, Jr., a lawyer, and Adela Meeker. He attended Princeton University, as had his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and other members of the family. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree there in 1875, he briefly attended the Columbia School of Mines before becoming a student of ...

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Lax, Anneli (23 February 1922–24 September 1999), mathematician and educator, was born Anneli Cahn in Kattowitz, then in Germany but soon part of Poland following a plebiscite, the daughter of Alfred Cahn, a Jewish urological surgeon, and Margarete Kramer. In 1929, to escape discrimination against Germans, the family moved to Berlin. It was a move from the frying pan into the fire; in 1933 Adolf Hitler came to power, and the Cahn family fled, first to Paris, where Anneli learned French. Love of the French language stayed with her the rest of her life. Unable to settle permanently in France, the family moved to Palestine and in 1935 to the United States....

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Peirce, James Mills (01 May 1834–21 March 1906), mathematician and educator, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Peirce and Sarah Hunt Mills. At the time of James’s birth, his father was University Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Harvard, and he is regarded as both one of the first American scientists of distinction and the foremost American mathematician of his era. Peirce graduated with an A.B. from Harvard in 1853, after which he studied for a year in the Harvard Law School. From 1854 to 1858 he was a tutor in mathematics at Harvard, and he was awarded his A.M. in mathematics in 1856. He then attended the Harvard Divinity School in 1857 and received a B.D. in 1859. From 1859 to 1861 he preached in Unitarian churches in the Boston area; upon abandoning the ministry in 1861, he returned to Harvard and became an assistant professor of mathematics. He was promoted to professor in 1869, and in 1885 he succeeded his father as Perkins Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, a position that he held until his death....

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Robie, Thomas (20 March 1689–28 August 1729), tutor, mathematician, and physician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Robie and Elizabeth Greenough, laborers. Baptized in Increase Mather and Cotton Mather’s North Church where his father was a full member, Robie was influenced by the Mathers during a period when they were increasingly interested in scientific pursuits, especially astronomy. Robie was early inclined toward science, but coming from an impecunious family, he could not satisfy his inclination without patronage from the Mathers, ...

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Walker, Francis Amasa (02 July 1840–05 January 1897), statistician, economist, and educator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Amasa Walker, a retired shoe manufacturer who became a leading economist, and Hannah Ambrose. After graduating from Amherst College in 1860, Walker worked briefly as a lawyer before joining the Union army in August 1861. He was wounded at Chancellorsville in 1863 and held at the notorious Libby Prison in Richmond. After being released in an exchange, Walker’s ill health forced his resignation from the army in January 1865. He was brevetted brigadier general. His war experience matured him beyond his years, and he never lost his keen interest in military affairs, as revealed in his ...

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Wright, Carroll Davidson (25 July 1840–20 February 1909), statistician and educator, was born in Dunbarton, New Hampshire, the son of Nathan Reed Wright, a physician turned Universalist minister and farmer, and Eliza Clark. Relocating with his family as his father filled a series of pulpits, Carroll obtained his early education in the common schools of Chester and Alstead, Vermont; Washington, New Hampshire; and Reading, Massachusetts. Eager to escape farm life, in 1860 he began studying law in Keene, New Hampshire, and supported himself by teaching....