Mathematical Objects Relating to Charter Members of the MAA Mathematical Recreations - Olive C. Hazlett

Olive C. Hazlett, Photograph Courtesy of LHM Institute AHB2012q06024Olive C. Hazlett
Photograph Courtesy of LHM Institute

Olive C. Hazlett (1890-1974) graduated high school in 1909, just six years before the founding of the MAA.  She studied mathematics at Radcliffe, graduating in 1912, and at Chicago, receiving her Ph.D. in 1915, the same year that she joined the MAA as a charter member.  Hazlett focused most of her professional activities on research and was deeply involved with the American Mathematical Society, which she had joined, also in 1915.  She taught at Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Illinois, from which she went on disability leave in 1944.  During the last six years of her career Hazlett’s visible mathematical life consisted of attending meetings of the AMS and the MAA.  In 1953 she moved to a cabin in New Hampshire and the puzzles and books in the museum collection were found in that cabin after her death; they date from about 1925 to about 1960.

From its founding, the MAA challenged members to solve mathematical problems. While Hazlett never published any problems or solutions to problems in the Monthly, she was interested in puzzles and games more generally. She may have started solving puzzles as a child. Her father, who died before she entered high school, owned a book, Puzzledom, that had been given to him by his father in 1882 and that she kept until the end of her life.