Contents and Arrangement

Leon, Alfred and Foster, Else, Derrick, and Lehmer, Emma, and Morrey, Frances (with Albert Tucker)[Transcript no. 12], 1984 May 18

1 box

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Alfred Foster talks about how he came to do his graduate work at Princeton, where he worked under Oswald Veblen and Alonzo Church, and about getting a job (at Berkeley, through the mediation of Jules Hildebrandt) after completion of the Ph.D. The Lehmers talk about the social life of the mathematical community at Princeton in the '30s, about economic conditions, and about the Veblens (who did much to promote social contact among the mathematicians and their families). Tucker, the Fosters, and Morrey contribute their recollections concerning these matters. Tucker describes Einstein's arrival in Princeton and talks about the period, '31-'32, when he (Tucker) was in charge of providing for afternoon tea at Fine Hall. Derrick Lehmer explains how he came to get a job at Princeton and talks about the people he worked with at Princeton, especially H.S. Vandiver and Hermann Weyl. Derrick Lehmer and Tucker talk about the mathematics library at Princeton. Morrey tells how she and her husband came to Princeton and talks about their stay in Princeton. The interviewers are Albert Tucker and William Aspray.


Audio recordings and project information are followed by an alphabetical listing of interview transcripts.

Collection History


No information on appraisal is available.

Processing Information

This collection was updated by Lynn Durgin in 2015, with processing assistance from Carlos Sotelo, Class of 2017. At this time, content from a website titled "The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s: An Oral-History Project" (created in 1999-2000 by Robert T. Jantzen '74, Professor of Mathematical Sciences Villanova University) was migrated to the finding aid, and transcripts were digitized and linked to the finding aid.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Leon, Alfred and Foster, Else, Derrick, and Lehmer, Emma, and Morrey, Frances (with Albert Tucker)[Transcript no. 12]; Department of Mathematics Oral History Project records, AC057, Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 2

Find More

Other Finding Aids

A website titled "The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s: An Oral-History Project" that was created to provide online access to the transcripts has been preserved by the Internet Archive and is available at

An index to names of individuals that are mentioned in the transcripts is available here: Index of Names.


Portions of the organizational history were borrowed from the achived website "The Princeton Mathematics Community in the 1930s" created by Robert Jantzen in 1999; this site is available in Series 2 of this finding aid.

Institute for advanced study Princeton, N.J.
Princeton University
Alexander, James W., 1888-1971
Bochner, S. (Salomon), 1899-1982
Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955.
Eisenhart, Luther Pfahler, 1876-1965 -- Correspondence.
Lefschetz, Solomon, 1884-1972
Morse, Marston, 1892-1977
Veblen, Oswald, 1880-1960
Von Neumann, John, 1903-1957.
Weyl, Hermann, 1885-1955.