Date: Jul 11, 2001 4:28 PM
Subject: God geometry textbooks

I agree w/ you as to Welchons-Krickenberger.  Their geometry books
(plane and solid) first came out in the 1930's, and were revised
through the 1930's and 40's (although w/out much real change). In the
early 50's, they were released under the titles "New Plane Geometry"
and "New Solid Geometry," with some of the theorems proved a little
differently from the prior editions. In the mid-to-late 50's, all the
Welchons/Krickenberger books (the 1st and 2nd yr algebras, plane
geometry, solid geometry) were revised by Helen Pearson, who was a
colleague of W & K from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis.
(They also had a book called Trigonometry w/ Tables, circa 1953, which
Pearson revised in 1962 as "Modern Trigonometry".)

Incredibly, the geometry book was reissued as late as 1976 by Ginn
under the title "Plane Geometry w/ Space Concepts." It was virtually
identical to the circa 1959 edition. SOmetime in the 1980's, there
was a much more modern release published called "Geometry" by Helen
Pearson and James LIghtner, which had just a little bit of the
"flavor" of the old Welchons/Krickenberger books left.

I can tell you that since high school, I have had a copy of the 1943
W/K "Solid Geometry" with a beautiful hardbound "Teachers' Key," and I
refer to this book all the time. (And we're talking about a time
period of almost 35 years here.)

When the Dolciani algebras came out circa 1962 or so, the
Welchons/Krickenberger/Pearson algebras, which had previously
dominated the market, all but went out of use. People used to laugh
at them for their "bag of tricks" approach to algebra, and their poor
teminology, much of which was vastly improved by Dolciani. Maybe some
of that criticism was deserved. But the geometries (both plane and
solid) were really wonderful textbooks with marvelous collections of
problems. When Weeks/Adkins came out, we saw a book with enormously
more challenging and satisfying problems, which would stimulate even
the best students. But millions of students learned from Welchons/K
and really knew their geometry.