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Topic: [HM] "President Garfield's Proof"
Replies: 20   Last Post: Feb 29, 2000 8:46 PM

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Clark Kimberling

Posts: 20
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: [HM] "President Garfield's Proof"
Posted: Jan 20, 2000 9:41 AM
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First I want to thank those who have contributed to the discussion of
"President Garfield's Proof". In my initial inquiry, I mentioned that
a Garfield biographer has his doubts about Garfield's level of
interest and activity in geometry. On the other side, we heard from
the archivist at Williams College that there is an 1876 entry in a
Garfield journal telling about the proof.

The biographer has consented to my use of his name and response. He
is Allan Peskin. His biography of Garfield, published by Kent State
University Press, is described at

http://www.bookmasters.com/ksu-press/ksu046.htm .

Here is what Professor Peskin wrote about the 1876 journal entry:

"Of course the Garfield diary for 1876 mentions the proof, but my
concern was whether Garfield had devised it as A SCHOOLBOY, as the
story sometimes has it. And, in that context, I have found no
evidence of any particular interest in geometry in general or that
proof in particular that stemmed from his early years. I may have
overlooked something, but if so, so did Hendrick Booraem in his
otherwise exhaustive study of Garfield's adolescence, THE ROAD TO
RESPECTABILITY. In the absence of any such evidence, I decided to
omit the tale from my biography. If you find anything that I
overlooked, please let me know."

Clark Kimberling





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