Zip Code # 03458;
23 February, 1964
Mr. Maynard Brichford
Room 19, The Library
The University of Illinois
Urbana, Illinois 61803
My dear Mr. Maynard:-
On the eighteenth, I received your letter requesting "evidence and information with respect to my contributions through research to intellectual, social and economic history of our times" and thank you. Unfortunately, some of the evidence is not now available to me and a good deal of it has been destroyed. I will try to give the gist of my contributions and also tell you where you can find copies of my articles in mathematics. My research separates into two distinct periods and, corresponding, into two very different kinds.
Having received my graduate training in the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy of the University of Chicago (chiefly under Professors E.H.Moore and L.E.Dickson, writing my theses under the latter), it was inevitable that I should continue research in algebra: linear algebras, nilpotent algebras, matrices, quaternions, division algebras; modular invariants and convariants in a Galois Field, GF(p^n), of order p^n --- both formal and otherwise; and ideals of a matric algebra. The resulting papers were published in "Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society", Transactions of the A.M.S", "Annals of Mathematics", "Journal of Mathematics", and "Journal de Mathematique Pure et Appliquée" as well as in "Proceedings of the International Mathematical Congress" (Toronto, 1923(?)...not sure of year) and "Atti del Congresso Internazionale dei Matematici" (Bologna, 1928). If, perchance, anyone should wish titles, etc., he will find them in the annual lists of published papers in the Bulletin for the respective years. Since these lists are restricted to papers given before some meeting of the A.M.S., one would have to look in the above "Proceedings" and "Atti" to references to them.
Possibly pertinent to your interest in my research would be the fact that I did refereeing of research papers in above lines of algebra offered for publication to Transactions of A.M.S., Annals of Math., and (I think) Journal of Math. For some years, I was an Associate Editor of the Transactions of the A.M.S., a research journal. Also, I wrote the article on Quaternions for the Encyclopedia Britannica (14'th Ed.).---Around 1930, the International Assoc. of Univ. Women formed a committee to award fellowships and I was made the judge of any math. MS submitted to it.
In the fall of 1940, Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt sent me an autographed copy of "Victory: How Women Won It...1840-1940" and included with it a program of the Women's Centennial Congress (25-27 November, at Hotel Commodore, N.Y.C.). Also included was a list of about a hundred living women who were described as "outstanding career women" and I was one. She wrote asking me to address a meeting of the Women Suffrage Association (or something of the sort) in Danville (I think it was). Feeling that I had no right to leave my job long enough for the trip, I declined. Since then, I have regretted that I did not go.
All the above is concerned with my research in pure mathematics and appointments and the like that grew out of that interest. Then in 1940 came the second World War and I found myself caught up in its tentacles. The Amer. Math. Soc. appointed a Cryptanalysis Committee with (as I recall) five members of whom Prof. A.A.Albert of the University of Chicago was chairman and Commander H.T.Engstrom the military (and hence the most important) member. Later, they apparently added some members and I was one of them. Accordingly, I had entrusted to me several classified military documents of the U.S.Signal Corps.
Footnote: This meant that I had to exercise great caution as to their safety. Naturally, as a naive self-protection, I told the head of my department about the work and the documents, showing him the letter from Commander Engstrom. Otherwise, I did not mention documents or work to a soul except to an officer of the U.S.S.C. or to the F.B.I. when need arose. I never had them in my office at Univ. and I used them only in my apartment which I shared only with a loyal dog. If the door-bell rang when I was working with them, I quickly scuttled them out of sight and reach, replacing them with innocent stuff (research in progress) in algebra that was waiting. At my summer place (this), I had installed a Diebold Treasure Chest with triple-combination lock and then changed combinations single-handed.
It so happened that one of my ideas was, apparently, the bit that was featured by Commdr. Enstrom when he gave this preliminary report to the A.M.S. at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in the spring 1943 or 1944.--- Later, they suggested that I go to D.C. to make certain contacts and I so did on my way back to my job in early fall of 1944. [Of all my various reports, I kept a carbon copy, sent original "registered, return receipt requested" and then burned my copy in a galvanized iron pail, pouring ashes down toilet.] It so happened that one of my ideas was, apparently, the one featured in the preliminary report of the Cryptanalysis Committee made by Commander Engstrom to meeting of A.M.S at Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in spring of (1943 or) 1944.
[Remainder of letter omitted]
Associate Professor of Mathematics, Emerita,
The University of Illinois.
I am left-handed.
Zip Code #03458
4 March, 1964
Mr. Maynard Brichford, Archivist
Room 19, The Library
The University of Illinois
My dear Mr. Brichford:-
This is a correction of a mistake that I made in my letter to you dated 23 February, 1964. On page 3 (in note for page 2), I said that I did not mention the fact that I was doing a bit of work with the Signal Corps or that I had had loaned to me by them some classified documents except to an officer of U.S.S.C. or to F.B.I. when need arose. Very recently, I have remembered that I did mention both facts a few times for what, at the time, seemed adequate reasons. For example:
Shortly after battle of Coral Sea, to Gerald E. Moore, Ph.D. then (as I recall) Assistant Professor of Math., The University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill. Much later, when living here, to Roger Adams, Ph.D. (Harvard), Professor of Chemistry, The Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.
Of these two men, the former was in my department and I had reason to think him loyal and discreet as well as intelligent. The latter, I had known since the beginning of my freshman year at Radcliffe when he was lab. assistant in chemistry at Radcliffe. That was 1909-1910. Needless to say, I had reason to believe him loyal, intelligent and discreet.
(Miss) O.C. Hazlett