Biography and History

Luther P. (Pfahler) Eisenhart taught mathematics at Princeton and was one of the original preceptors appointed in 1905 by Princeton University president Woodrow Wilson. He was born on January 13, 1876 to Charles Augustus Eisenhart and Emma Catherine Pfahler Eisenhart in York, Pennsylvania. Eisenhart received his B.A. in Mathematics from Gettysburg College in 1896 and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1900. Eisenhart became an instructor at Princeton University in 1900; Wilson named him a preceptor in 1905. He became a professor of mathematics in 1909, was Dean of the Faculty from 1925-1933, Chairman of the Mathematics Department from 1929-1945 and Dean of the Graduate School from 1933-1945. He was active in the post-World War I reform of the educational program at Princeton and was the originator of the famous four-course plan of study in the last two years of undergraduate studies. Adopted in 1923, this program of independent reading and research culminating in an undergraduate thesis continues to be in effect at Princeton. Eisenhart married Anna Maria Dandridge Mitchell in 1908; they had one son. Following his wife's death in 1913, Eisenhart wed Katharine Riely Schmidt in 1918; they had two daughters. Eisenhart died in Princeton on October 28, 1965.

Source: From the finding aid for MC063

  • Luther P. Eisenhart Collection on Woodrow Wilson. 1902-1960 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC063

    Luther P. Eisenhart taught mathematics at Princeton and was one of the original preceptors appointed in 1905 by Princeton University president Woodrow Wilson. The Luther P. Eisenhart Collection on Woodrow Wilson contains correspondence between Eisenhart and Woodrow Wilson, Eisenhart and others about Woodrow Wilson, letters received by Churchill Eisenhart, and miscellaneous Wilson-related ephemera.