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### President Garfield and the Pythagorean Theorem

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Date: 7 Mar 1995 14:27:08 -0500
From: "Geraldine A. Chase"
Subject: Pythagorean Theorem

Dear Dr. Math,

My first year algebra class is studying the Pythagorean Theorem
at this time.  I know that one proof of the Pythagorean Theorem
was done by James Garfield, before he became President of the
Where is it published, etc.
```

```
Date: 7 Mar 1995 14:27:08 -0500
From: Annie Fetter
Subject: Re: Pythagorean Theorem

Hi Geraldine.  This got passed on to me as supposed resident geometer.
James Garfield discovered a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem in 1876,
which was indeed a few years before he became President.  It's based
on the trapezoid, and is related to the proof that many people are
familiar with the square within a square.  I'm not sure where it was
originally published - I got my information from a new book called
Pythagoras Plugged In, which is just being released by Key Curriculum
Press (it's a companion book to the Geometer's Sketchpad materials).
a hint as to how you might investigate his proof, draw the standard
square-within-a-square picture.  Now draw a diagonal of the inner
square, and remove "half" of the drawing.  Now you've got what he
ended up with in his proof, though he constructed it another way.)

-Annie, Consulting Physician
```
Associated Topics:
Middle School History/Biography

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