Mathematical Objects Relating to Charter Members of the MAA Geometric Models - A. Harry Wheeler

David Lindsay Roberts has already examined the career of A. Harry Wheeler (1873-1950). He has shown how Wheeler, a high school teacher and geometric model maker in Worcester, Massachusetts, moved between making geometric models with his students in the classroom, to attempting graduate work at Clark University, to teaching briefly as an adjunct at Brown University and Wellesley College. He remained a high school teacher in Worcester during his forays at Brown and Wellesley. He also corresponded with the dwindling number of research mathematicians – most notably H.S.M. Coxeter of the University of Toronto – who shared his interest in polyhedra.

A. H. Wheeler and Student Smithsonian Image 94-13511
A. H. Wheeler and Student


Like all of those discussed here, Wheeler was a charter member of the MAA. He also joined the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics when it formed in 1920, and served on the Executive Committee of that organization during its first two years. However, he neither posed nor solved problems for the Monthly and was not terribly interested in publications of any sort. He apparently did not retain a long membership in either the MAA or the NCTM. Though not a research mathematician, Wheeler did join the American Mathematical Society in about 1923. He was planning to attend the International Congress of Mathematicians held in Toronto the next year. There he exhibited geometric models, an activity dear to his heart. Wheeler would remain a member of the AMS for twenty-seven years, until his death.